Born in New York City in October 1963, Simon Rosenberg graduated from Tufts University in 1985 and then spent five years as a writer and producer for ABC News. He also worked for the campaigns of Democratic presidential candidates Michael Dukakis (1987-88) and Bill Clinton (1991-92). From 1993-96, Rosenberg was employed by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic Leadership Council. In 1996 he founded the New Democrat Network (NDN), where he continues to serve as president. From his earliest days in politics, Rosenberg cultivated a reputation for his effectiveness at modernizing and developing the Democratic Party’s organization and communications infrastructure, most notably through the use of new technology. As he wrote in a 2007 article titled “The Fifty-Year Strategy,” the ultimate success of political candidates would depend heavily on the degree to which they committed to “running an Internet-oriented campaign, relying on the web for fundraising, organizing, and messaging.”
In 2001 Rosenberg was a member of the Aspen Institute’s Class of Henry Crown Fellows. In 2004 he served on the Democratic National Convention Platform Committee, and a year later he was a candidate for chairman of the DNC, a position that ultimately went to Howard Dean.
In 2005 Rosenberg founded the New Policy Institute — a Tides Center project and a sister organization to NDN — where he continues to serve as president. That same year, he co-founded the New Politics Institute along with Gina Glantz, Cecile Richards, and Andrew and Deborah Rappaport.
In 2006 Rosenberg wrote the foreword for the book Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics, co-authored by Jerome Armstrong and Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas Zuniga.
In a January 2006 piece titled “The State of Conservative Government, 2006,” Rosenberg stated that Republicans in recent years had: (a) implemented “tax cuts targeted primarily at the rich” that had “left the middle class carrying a greater share of the overall tax burden” while “unravel[ing] the Clinton administration’s achievement of putting America on a sound fiscal footing”; (b) presided over a period where “terrorism attacks worldwide [had] increased dramatically”; (c) launched the Iraq War “with a campaign to exaggerate the [WMD] threat”; (d) employed “torture techniques” that “violated the Geneva conventions” and “undermined America’s moral leadership in the world”; and (e) created an “occupying presence in Iraq” that “fueled the global jihadist movement.”
In the same analysis, Rosenberg charged that in “one of the most shameful, xenophobic and racist acts by our government in recent American history,” the Republican House in 2005 had “voted to felonize, arrest and deport the 11 million [mostly Hispanic] undocumented men, women and children working and living among us.” According to Rosenberg, Republicans’ alleged hostility toward nonwhite Hispanics had driven many of the latter into the Democratic Party’s camp—at precisely the time when “Hispanics … constitute the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population.” “At a strategic level,” Rosenberg elaborated in 2008, “resistance to the new demographic reality is futile,” and a failure to appeal to Hispanic voters “may render [the Republican Party] … a 20th century relic.”
In the aforementioned 2007 article titled “The Fifty-Year Strategy,” Rosenberg and co-author Peter Leyden wrote that one particularly “massive trend transforming politics is the changing composition of the electorate,” most notably “the emergence of the millennial generation” whose “overwhelmingly” pro-Democrat political views — on issues like gay marriage, big government, business regulation, radical environmentalism, immigration, universal health care, and the war on terrorism — could be expected to “transform society, culture, media, and politics … profoundly.” The authors predicted “a permanent shift in the ideological orientation of the country,” suggesting that “the election of 2006″ — wherein Democrats recaptured control of both houses of Congress — “may well have marked the end of the conservative ascendancy that began with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.”
“[T]he arrival of Barack Obama and his politics,” wrote Rosenberg in January 2008, “is a welcome development for our nation.” That same year, Rosenberg said that the conservative coalition “no longer works in the changing demography of the day and is dangerously old”; “their Southern strategy … has become a relic of the past”; “their tech and media tools have not kept up with the times”; “their ideas have become spent and discredited”; and “they are an aging and frayed bunch, living off the fumes of a day and politics gone by.”
In 2007 Rosenberg was named one of “The 50 Most Powerful People in DC” by GQ magazine. In 2007 and 2010, he spoke at the “Take Back America” Conference hosted annually by the Campaign for America’s Future.
In a May 2018 article which he wrote for NBCnews.com, Rosenberg asserted that President Donald Trump was recklessly undoing the great achievements of the Obama administration, most notably the Iran nuclear deal: “In the Obama era, we … made great advances in expanding the circle of opportunity to more and more Americans regardless of their immigration status, race, sexual orientation or gender…. In a very short time Trump has turned the American presidency from the leader of the post-WWII order into its leading troll. His decision to walk from the Iran deal this week, a deal negotiated over many years with our closest allies, on a critical post-WWII order achievement — nuclear non-proliferation — was another powerful sign of Trump’s arrogant disdain for well-intentioned efforts by the nations of the world to prevent a return of the savagery of previous eras.”
In an August 2018 article which he also penned for NBCnews.com, Rosenberg said that “at the core of [President Trump’s] immigration strategy is an effort to create a deep climate of fear through aggressive immigration enforcement.” Noting that for the past year, the number of illegal border crossers had increased dramatically as their “very human desire for a better life was trumping Trump’s policy of fear,” Rosenberg added: “So the National Guard was mobilized; military judges were sent to the border to expedite deportations; a policy of separating kids from their parents was instituted along with other, likely illegal, changes to how we handled incoming migrants. These changes have created a true national crisis — a moral crisis, a legal crisis, a governing crisis — that [Trump] is now trying to use to force dramatic change.”
In addition to his already-cited associations, Rosenberg also has served as an advisory board member with the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University; a board member of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas; and a board member of the Roosevelt Institute (which strives to promote “a new economic and political system”).
Further Reading: “Simon Rosenberg” (LinkedIn.com, NDN.org, HuffPost.com, KeyWiki.org); “The 50 Most Powerful People in D.C.” (GQ.com, 8-9-2007); “The State of Conservative Government, 2006” (by Simon Rosenberg, NDN.org, 1-31-2006); “The 50-Year Strategy” (by Simon Rosenberg & Peter Leyden, NDN.org, 10-29-2007); “Trump’s Iran Deal Withdrawal Is an Arrogant Rejection of the Postwar System America Built” (by Simon Rosenberg, NBCnews.com, 5-10-2018); “Trump’s Brand Is His Xenophobic Immigration Policy” (by Simon Rosenberg, NBCnews.com, 8-6-2018).