- Think tank headed by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta
- Helped launch Media Matters For America in 2004
- Has extremely close ties to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, the Democratic Party, and George Soros
- Helps formulate many Obama administration policies and talking points
The Center for American Progress (CAP) describes itself as “an independent nonpartisan educational institute dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action” in such areas as “energy, national security, economic growth and opportunity, immigration, education, and health care.” CAP is a key member of the Shadow Party, a network of non-profit activist groups organized by George Soros and others to mobilize resources — money, get-out-the-vote drives, campaign advertising, and policy initatives — to advance Democratic Party agendas.
The prime mover behind CAP’s creation was the billionaire philanthropist George Soros. Deeply disappointed by George W. Bush’s presidential election victory in 2000, and by the subsequent election of Republican majorities in both houses of Congress two years later, Soros was convinced that the Republicans’ success was a result of their superior think-tank infrastructure and media presence. Thus he called for the creation of a new left-wing, pro-Democrat think tank that, with proper funding, could establish a high-profile media presence of its own—and thereby counter the conservative message machine more directly than did existing liberal-left thinks such as the Brookings Institution, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Urban Institute, and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Investigative journalist Robert Dreyfuss wrote in the March 1, 2004 edition of The Nation: “The idea for the Center [CAP] began with discussions in 2002 between [Morton] Halperin and George Soros, the billionaire investor.… Halperin, who heads the office of Soros’ Open Society Institute, brought [former Clinton chief of staff] John Podesta into the discussion, and beginning in late 2002 Halperin and Podesta circulated a series of papers to funders.” The Capital Research Center reports that Podesta eagerly “took on the project of creating a new laboratory for liberalism.”
Soon thereafter, Soros and Halperin (who would become CAP’s senior vice president) recruited Harold Ickes—chief fundraiser and former deputy chief of staff for the Clinton White House—to help organize the new think tank, which was launched on July 7, 2003 as the American Majority Institute. The name was changed to Center for American Progress on September 1, 2003.
Hillary Clinton, too, was intimately involved in the formation of CAP. She told reporter Matt Bai of The New York Times Magazine on October 12, 2003, “We need some new intellectual capital. There has to be some thought given as to how we build the 21st-century policies that reflect the Democrat Party’s values.” She later told The Nation‘s Robert Dreyfuss: “We’ve had the challenge of filling a void on our side of the ledger for a long time, while the other side created an infrastructure that has come to dominate political discourse. The Center [CAP] is a welcome effort to fill that void.”
Persistent press leaks during CAP’s early years confirmed that Mrs. Clinton, and not its nominal leader, John Podesta, was ultimately in charge of the organization at that time. “It’s the official Hillary Clinton think tank,” an inside source confided to Christian Bourge of United Press International. Robert Dreyfuss noted in The Nation: “In looking at Podesta’s center, there’s no escaping the imprint of the Clintons. It’s not completely wrong to see it as a shadow government, a kind of Clinton White-House-in-exile—or a White House staff in readiness for President Hillary Clinton.” Dreyfuss noted the abundance of Clintonites on the Center’s staff, among them Robert Boorstin, Bill Clinton‘s national security speechwriter; Gene Sperling, Democratic Leadership Council staffer and the former head of President Clinton’s National Economic Council; Matt Miller, former senior advisor to President Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget; Debbie Berger, daughter of Clinton national security chief Sandy Berger; and others. In 2007 Mrs. Clinton said, at the YearlyKos convention of left-wing bloggers, that she herself had “helped to start and support” CAP.
Wealthy donors contributed many millions of dollars to help the CAP establish itself during the first few years of its existence. These donations included $22,274,000 from the Sandler Foundation, created by Herbert and Marion Sandler; $3 million over a three-year period from George Soros; $3 million from the Marisla Foundation; $2,192,450 from the New York Community Trust; $1.9 million from the Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation; $1,849,991 from George Soros’s Open Society Institute; $797,983 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and $765,000 from the Tides Foundation.
From its inception, one of CAP’s chief priorities has been to carry out “rapid response” to what it calls conservative “attacks” in the media. To this end, CAP has always maintained numerous spokespeople and “experts” ready to appear, on short notice, on national talk shows to debate or respond to conservative commentators.
In a related endeavor, on May 3, 2004, CAP helped launch David Brock‘s Media Matters for America to serve as a “watchdog” organization monitoring “rightwing” media for ethics violations and factual inaccuracies. According to The New York Times, Brock conferred with Hillary Clinton, Senator Tom Daschle (a Distinguished Senior Fellow with CAP), and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore about Media Matters before embarking on the project. Podesta, noted the Times, “introduced [Brock] to potential donors.”
The CAP Message Machine
As of February 2011, CAP’s single largest department was its communications department, comprised of 31 full-time staffers tasked with spinning the news in a direction favorable to the Obama administration and the Democrats. “Rare is the day a reporter doesn’t get three or more press releases from [CAP],” said the Capital Research Center, adding:
“[CAP] hosts almost daily conference calls to reporters promoting its policy positions and responses to news events. The staff accommodates the press, eagerly arranging one-on-one interviews and supplying quot- able quotes for news stories. For reporters with deadlines crashing down on them, the Center is well-known as an easy quote machine. Podesta regularly appears on Sunday morning news programs…. Center researchers provide useful talking points for Democratic members of Congress…. To further spin the news, every weekday the Action Fund emails reporters a ‘progress report,’ a 400-500 word hyperlink-heavy analysis of the issue of the moment. The links often refer back to the Center’s own various blogs and website postings. It is a reliable echo chamber for left-wing conventional wisdom.”
CAP also periodically hosts panel discussions that serve as forums for Democratic lawmakers; one of the more frequent and prominent participants in these events has been Senator Harry Reid. Further, the Center’s website features a blog called ThinkProgress, offering commentary on news stories that fall under the headings of “Climate,” “Economy,” “Health,” “Justice,” “LGBT,” and “Security.”
The Center for American Progress Action Fund
In 2003, CAP established a “sister advocacy organization” known as the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF), for the purpose of “transform[ing] progressive ideas into policy through rapid response communications, legislative action, grassroots organizing and advocacy, and partnerships with other progressive leaders throughout the country and the world.” The Capital Research Center points outthat CAPAF, as a 501(c)(4) lobbying organization, is permitted to “attac[k] [political] candidates in ways the [CAP], a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, cannot.” CAP provides most of the funding for its Action Fund, whose president and CEO is former U.S. congressman Tom Perriello. In addition to his work with CAPAF, Perriello helped launch such organizations as Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Catholics United, Faith in Public Life, and FaithfulAmerica.org.
CAP’s Close Ties to the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama
The Capital Research Center describes CAP, quite accurately, as “an adjunct of the Democratic Party” that “manufactures talking points, spins the daily news, and does opposition research”—essentially “a nonprofit public relations firm.” Little, if anything, that CAP produces can be considered serious research. Its policy positions and recommendations are indistinguishable from those of the Democratic Party. This is because so many of the Center’s senior staffers and Fellows are veterans of the Bill Clinton and Barack Obama administrations, and of the Democratic National Committee.
Most notably, the current president of CAP is Neera Tanden, who served as associate director for domestic policy in the Clinton White House; was a senior policy advisor to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton; was the deputy campaign manager and issues director of Mrs. Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign in New York; served as policy director for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008; was the director of domestic policy for the Obama-Biden presidential campaign of 2008; and served on President Obama’s healthcare-reform team in 2009-10.
As of September 2012, the following individuals were also among those CAPers with close ties to the Clintons and Obama:
- Michael Barr served as a special advisor to President Bill Clinton.
- Joel Berg served for eight years in senior executive service positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the Clinton administration. Prior to that, he had been a policy analyst for the Progressive Policy Institute.
- Donald Berwick served on President Clinton’s Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Healthcare Industry. In July 2010, President Obama appointed Berwick as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a position he would hold until December 2011.
- Ron Bloom served a stint in the Obama administration, as assistant to the president for manufacturing policy.
- Carol Browner served in President Clinton’s cabinet as the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 1993 to 2001. She later served as head of President Obama’s White House Office of Energy and Climate Change, from 2009-11.
- Joe Conason is a longtime Clinton supporter who wrote about the “Arkansas Project,” a secret, multimillion-dollar plan allegedly funded by a conservative Pittsburgh billionaire to find or invent negative information about the Clintons. Conason also co-authored The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton (2000). As of mid-2012, he was writing a new book on Bill Clinton’s post-presidency activities, titled The Further Adventures of William Jefferson Clinton.
- David Cutler served on the Council of Economic Advisers and the National Economic Council during the Clinton administration. He was later a senior healthcare advisor to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
- Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) served eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives (1979-87) and eight years in the U.S. Senate (1987-2005).
- Maria Echaveste served as assistant to the president and as deputy chief of staff for President Bill Clinton between May 1998 and January 2001.
- Zeke Emanuel served on President Clinton’s Health Care Task Force.
- Rudy deLeon served as President Clinton’s undersecretary of the Air Force from 1994 to 1997, and as Clinton’s undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness from 1997 to 2000.
- Debbie Fine worked for the Clinton White House from 1993-1997 in the Office of Public Liaison. In 1997 she became a special assistant in the Office of the Secretary at the Department of Education.
- Bracken Hendricks served in the Clinton administration as special assistant to the Office of Vice President Al Gore; with the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and with the President’s Council on Sustainable Development. (He was also the founding executive director of the Apollo Alliance, and has served as an energy and economic advisor to the AFL-CIO.)
- Michele Jolin served as chief of staff for President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1995-99. In December 2010, Jolin was appointed by President Obama as a member of the White House Council for Community Solutions.
- Daniella Gibbs Leger served as a special assistant to the president, and as director of message events, in the Obama administration.
- Judd Legum was the research director for the “Hillary Clinton for President” campaign in 2008.
- Matt Miller served in the Clinton administration as senior advisor in the White House Office of Management and Budget from 1993-95.
- Jonathan D. Moreno was a member of President Obama’s transition team in 2008-09. Obama subsequently appointed Moreno to his bioethics commission.
- Jessica O’Connell was the national director of operations for the 2008 “Hillary Clinton for President” campaign.
- Ann O’Leary served on the White House Domestic Policy Council under President Bill Clinton; was legislative director to Senator Hillary Clinton; served as a volunteer policy advisor to the “Hillary Clinton for President” campaign; and was a member of the Obama-Biden presidential transition team advising the incoming administration on early childhood education issues.
- Jonathan Orszag was a policy advisor on President Clinton’s National Economic Council.
- John Prendergast served under President Bill Clinton as was director of African affairs at the National Security Council, and as a special advisor to Susan Rice at the Department of State. He has also worked for UNICEF, Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, and the U.S. Institute of Peace.
- Bishop Gene Robinson was invited by Barack Obama to give the invocation at the opening presidential inaugural ceremonies in washington on January 18, 2009.
- Joseph Romm served in the Clinton Department of Energy from 1995-98.
- Shirley Sagawa was deputy chief of staff to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.
- Richard Samans was a senior director with President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council, and a senior staff member of Clinton’s National Economic Council.
- Peter Swire served as the Clinton administration’s chief counselor for privacy from 1999-2001 in the Office of Management and Budget. He later served Barack Obama as special assistant to the president for economic policy, from 2009 until August 2010.
- Laura Tyson served in the Clinton administration as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (1993-95) and as the President’s National Economic Adviser (1995-96). She later became a member of President Obama’s Council of Jobs and Competitiveness, President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board.
- Richard Verma in 2008 served on the Defense Department Presidential Transition Team of the newly elected Barack Obama. He subsequently became a principal advisor to Obama’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
Click here to view a list of some additional CAP Fellows and senior staffers with noteworthy left-wing ties.
From the moment Barack Obama was elected President in 2008, CAP had more influence on the new administration than did any other organization. As a November 2008 piece in Time magazine put it: “[N]ot since the Heritage Foundation helped guide Ronald Reagan’s transition in 1981 has a single outside group held so much sway. Just as candidate Obama depended on CAP during the campaign for opposition research and talking points, President-elect Obama has effectively contracted out the management of his own government’s formation to [John] Podesta.” Indeed, Podesta and at least ten additional CAP experts were among the president-elect’s top advisors.
One of the more infamous individuals to join the new Obama administration in 2009 (as “green jobs” czar) was CAP Senior Fellow Van Jones, a self-identified revolutionary communist.
From the earliest days of the the Obama presidency, CAP helped formulate the administration’s policies and supplied the White House with a steady stream of talking points designed to make those policies attractive to the public. Indeed, as of December 2008, before then-president-elect Obama had even taken his oath of office, he had already pledged his intent to fulfill some of CAP’s chief policy recommendations. These included the Center’s call for a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq coupled with a buildup of forces in Afghanistan; a plan to implement universal healthcare coverage for all Americans; and a plan to create “green jobs” that would combat “global warming.” According to a November 18, 2008 report by Bloomberg.com, CAP “has become … an intellectual wellspring for Democratic policy proposals, including many that are shaping the agenda of the … Obama administration.”
Emblematic of this was the synergy that Obama and CAP displayed in dealing with the disastrous BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in the spring of 2010. In May and June of that year, when the crisis was at its height, Obama followed the Center’s recommendations on such matters as creating an independent commission to examine the causes of the crisis; naming someone to be the public point person for the oil-spill response; and demanding that BP immediately set up a multi-billion-dollar escrow account to pay damage claims to Gulf-state residents harmed by the spill.
On virtually every policy matter—health-care reform, fiscal policy, civil rights, immigration, housing, labor, national security, foreign policy, media, energy, and the environment—CAP’s recommendations fit hand-in-glove with the Obama administration’s values and agendas. In many cases, as in the examples cited above, the administration actually followed CAP’s instructions.
The degree to which the Obama White House coordinated its messaging with CAP made headlines in March 2014, when Zaid Jilani, a former blogger with ThinkProgress, revealed that the Obama administration frequently attempted to censor the blog’s content when it departed from the White House’s agenda. “One of the controversial topics that was very constrained in our writing at ThinkProgress in 2009 was [the war in] Afghanistan,” Jilani wrote. “CAP had decided not to protest Obama’s surge, so most of our writing on the topic was simply neutral — we weren’t supposed to take a strong stand.”
But in one particular post in 2011, Jilani had pointed out that by the end of Obama’s Afghan “surge,” U.S. troop levels would actually be higher than at any point in the George W. Bush administration. The Obama administration was incensed. Recalled Jilani in March 2014:
“Phone calls from the White House started pouring in, berating my bosses for being critical of Obama on this policy…. Soon afterwards all of us ThinkProgress national security bloggers were called into a meeting with CAP senior staff and basically berated for opposing the Afghan war and creating daylight between us and Obama.”
“It confused me a lot because on the one hand, CAP was advertising to donors that it opposed the Afghan war,” Jilani noted. “In our ‘Progressive Party,’ the annual fundraising party we do with both Big Name Progressive Donors and corporate lobbyists (in the same room!) we even advertised that we wanted to end the war in Afghanistan.
“What that meeting with CAP senior staff showed me was that they viewed being closer to Obama and aligning with his policy as more important than demonstrating progressive principle, if that meant breaking with Obama. Essentially, they were doing the same thing to us [that] RT America[Russia Today—an English-speaking media outlet funded directly by Moscow] is telling its American producers to do now—align with your boss, who is the president of the country.”
Shortly after Jilani made the foregoing remarks, Salon writer David Sirota tweeted: “I can attest that I experienced similar kinds of editorial pressures when I was at CAP.”
CAP and Israel
In recent years, ThinkProgress has sparked controversy for its attacks on defenders of Israel and on critics of hardline Islamist ideology. For example, in 2010 a ThinkProgress posting by CAP policy analyst Matt Duss denounced an Israeli raid on a Free Gaza Movement flotilla that was challenging Israel’s blockade of Gaza, a raid that resulted in the deaths of nine anti-Israel militants: “Like segregation in the American South, the siege of Gaza (and the entire Israeli occupation, for that matter) is a moral abomination that should be intolerable to anyone claiming progressive values.” CAP writer Eric Alterman, for his part, accused the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) of campaigning for a U.S. invasion of Iran. And ThinkProgress national-security reporter Eli Clifton wrote: “It would appear that AIPAC is now using the same escalating measures against Iran that were used before the invasion of Iraq.”
CAP and “Islamophobia” (And the George Soros Connection)
In 2011 CAP issued a 138-page report titled Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America. This publication’s stated objective is to “expose—and marginalize—the influence of” the “sinister,” “hateful,” “purposively deceptive,” “bigoted,” and “racist” individuals and groups that, according to CAP, are part of an “Islamophobia network in America.” These include what CAP describes as “misinformation experts,” “anti-Muslim bigots,” “political players,” “right-wing media,” “religious right” zealots, and “radical ideologues” who intentionally “mischaracteriz[e] Islam,” “peddl[e] hate and fear of Muslims,” and “rav[e]” about the “overhyped dangers” of Sharia Law, so as to “fan the flames of Islamophobia.”
Although there are dozens of serious, qualified critics of Islamic fundamentalism in the United States, Fear, Inc. focuses most intently on five individuals whom it regards as central to the “Islamophobic” network: Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy; David Yerushalmi of the Society of Americans for National Existence; Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum; Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch; and Steven Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. The report also condemns “hate radio” shows, Fox News, and the Christian Broadcasting Network, among other media outlets. Further, Fear, Inc. denounces former Muslim Nonie Darwish, who has openly discussed her personal experience as a woman living under the yoke of misogynist Sharia-based laws in Egypt for years before coming to the United States. It labels Zuhdi Jasser, a practicing Muslim who has spoken out against terrorism and Sharia Law, as a “Muslim validator for Islamophobia propaganda.” And it accuses the founder of ACT! for America, Brigitte Gabriel, of engaging in “crude bigotry” that “validates the Islamophobia network’s manufactured fears and hate campaign directed against Muslims.”
To view an article that thoroughly debunks the claims made in Fear, Inc., click here.
In 2013 CAP published a report claiming that the “basic tenets of Sharia” — identified as “faith in a single god, prayer, charitable giving, and fasting” — are not in any way alien to the traditions of other faiths; i.e., that they are “familiar to any Christian or Jew.”
In February 2015, CAP published a follow up to Fear, Inc., titled Fear, Inc. 2.0: The Islamophobia Network’s Efforts to Manufacture Hate in America, which, as CAP explained, contends that “American Muslims in the United States have been targeted, profiled, or seen as suspect because of their faith” by a malevolent, well-funded “Islamophobia Network” whose views are “not indicative of mainstream American views.” CAP elaborated:
“Islamophobia in the United States takes many shapes and forms. It takes the form of a general climate of fear and anger toward American Muslims, as seen in the ‘civilization jihad’ narrative, the religious right’s rhetoric, and the biased media coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing. It comes out in cynical political efforts to capitalize on this climate of fear, as seen in state-level anti-Sharia bills introduced across the country and in far-right politicians’ grandstanding. And perhaps most dangerously, it manifests itself in institutional policies that view American Muslims as a threat, as seen in the FBI training manuals that profile Islam as a religion of violence.”
On August 13, 2016, an anonymously-run website (dcleaks.com) released more than 2,500 confidential files from George Soros‘s Open Society Foundations (OSF), containing evidence of funding that OSF had given to anti-Israel and pro-Islamist organizations. Among the leaked files was an OSF internal memo from 2011 titled “Extreme Polarization and Breakdown in Civic Discourse,” which lamented America’s rising “xenophobia and intolerance,” and discussed a $200,000 grant that OSF had awarded to the Center for American Progress (CAP) to “research and track the activities” of groups which contend that radical Islam poses a grave threat to America. Later in 2011, CAP published a the aforementioned Fear, Inc. report.
CAP’s Relationship with Turkey’s Islamist, Jihad-Supporting Regime
On May 14, 2013, CAP issued a report titled “Freedom of the Press and Expression in Turkey,” which downplayed the increasingly authoritarian crackdown on the media by Turkey’s jihad-supporting prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan, whose Islamist party was already moving inexorably to transform the secular Turkish republic into an Islamic state. At that time, Turkish prisons held 49 of the 232 journalists who were incarcerated worldwide—more than any other country on Earth. In addition, as former Middle East Pentagon advisor Michael Rubin noted, Erdogan was in the habit of personally suing “even political cartoonists who lampoon him and his government.” Notwithstanding the foregoing facts, the CAP report whitewashed Erdogan’s crackdown as a “necessary, if sometimes unpleasant, correction” that would ultimately result in democratic reforms. Asserting that “the blame [for the crackdown] must not be placed solely on the government,” but also on anti-government ethnic groups such as the Kurds who had fomented unrest and provoked government suppression. “Turkey today is more democratic than in the past, if perhaps less socially liberal,” said the report.
The CAP report was partially funded by the Turkish branch of George Soros’s Open Society Institute. Even more significantly, the report failed to disclose that a Turkish business group named TUSKON, which had close ties to the Erdogan government, had donated large sums of money to CAP in order to gain entrance into the latter’s exclusive Business Alliance. Known for lobbying government officials and forming business relationships with Western organizations (such as CAP), TUSKON serves as the business arm of the so-called Gulen movement—named after Fethullah Gulen, a charismatic spiritual leader devoted to spreading Islamist theology across the globe. Moreover, TUSKON and CAP had jointly hosted annual “fact finding” trips to Turkey, where participants enjoyed access to senior Turkish government officials. Reporter Ken Silverstein wrote, “A former CAP staffer told me that TUSKON … ‘could call anyone in the government and get us a meeting or interview.’ As a result of the Turkish group’s support, CAP was ‘totally in the tank for them.’”
It should also be noted that the CAP report obscured not only Ergodan’s press crackdown but also the nature of the Armenian genocide, in which Turkey had systematically slaughtered more than a million Armenians beginning in 1915. The report only refers to the genocide in non-judgmental terms, as “the death of more than 1 million Armenians during and after the First World War.”
CAP’s Major Projects
By CAP’s reckoning, the free market must be checked and tightly regulated by a powerful, expansive federal government. As the Center puts it, “an open and effective government can champion the common good over narrow self-interest.” CAP’s major initiatives today heavily emphasize government’s duty to guarantee the provision of people’s basic necessities throughout their lives. A number of these initiatives also advocate the large-scale redistribution of wealth—both within the United States and across national boundaries. Following is an alphabetized list of CAP’s most significant current projects:
* American Idea Conference: This annual event “explores the core progressive values that have animated progress in our country since our founding.” Emphasizing the importance of government programs that redistribute wealth, these values are “grounded in freedom and equality, empathy and compassion, collective action, and shared sacrifice for common purposes.”
* CAP California: In 2007 CAP opened its California office, the organization’s first office located outside of Washington, DC. CAP California’s mission is “to advance and support a progressive national policy agenda and lay out our vision of a progressive America on the West Coast.”
* Campus Progress / Generation Progress: Campus Progress was launched in 2005 to “strengthen progressive voices on college and university campuses,” and to “counter the growing influence of right-wing groups on campus.” In July 2013, this project changed its name to Generation Progress, in an effort to broaden its appeal to the entire Millennial Generation rather than focusing only on college students.
* Climate, Migration, & Security: “Even if nations across our planet were to take immediate steps to rein in carbon emissions—an unlikely prospect—a warmer climate is inevitable. As the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, noted in 2007, human-created ‘warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level.’ As these ill effects progress, they will have serious implications for U.S. national security interests as well as global stability—extending from the sustainability of coastal military installations to the stability of nations that lack the resources, good governance, and resiliency needed to respond to the many adverse consequences of climate change. And as these effects accelerate, the stress will impact human migration and conflict around the world…. [O]ver the next two or three decades, vulnerable regions (particularly sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia) will face the prospect of food shortages, water crises, and catastrophic flooding driven by climate change. These developments could demand U.S., European, and international humanitarian relief or military responses, often the delivery vehicle for aid in crisis situations.”
* Doctors for America: Favoring a single-payer, government run healthcare system, this national movement of physicians and medical students seeks “to improve the health of the nation and to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, high quality health care.”
* Doing What Works: By aiming to “eliminate or redesign misguided spending programs and tax expenditures” and “boost government productivity,” this program strives to change the public perception that government is not “capable of effectively and efficiently executing its responsibilities.”
* Enough: “The Enough Project seeks to end genocide and crimes against humanity, with an initial focus on the crises in Sudan, Chad, eastern Congo, and northern Uganda. Enough provides sharp field analyses and targeted policy recommendations to promote durable peace, provide civilian protection, and punish perpetrators of atrocities—working with concerned citizens, advocates, and policymakers.”
* Faith and Progressive Policy: Emphasizing the role that government, rather than the private sector, should play in solving societal problems, this CAP initiative works to “identify and articulate the moral-ethical and spiritual values underpinning policy issues”; “shape a progressive stance in which these values are clear”; “safeguard the healthy separation of church and state that has allowed religion in our country to flourish”; address “the growing gap between the rich and poor”; “provide educational and housing opportunities” for low income people; “ensure economic security” for the poor; “become better stewards of our planet” by “combating global warming through community efforts and advocacy”; “bring progressive health care policies to faith-based audiences and highlight their inventive work helping those in need and advocating for comprehensive health care legislation”; “promote comprehensive immigration reform solutions” that “articulate our values as a nation of immigrants” and protect the “civil rights” of America’s “undocumented immigrants,” including their right to access “health, education, and employment opportunities”; promote “sexual justice” by legalizing gay marriage; promote “reproductive justice” by endorsing every woman’s right to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand; and “lessen public misperceptions that cause too many Muslim Americans to “face suspicion and misunderstanding in a post 9-11 world.”
* Just Jobs: This initiative maintains that jobs everywhere in the world, particularly those that are outsourced by American corporations, should be attentive to “labor rights, appropriate remuneration … social protections such as health care and pensions, and opportunities for economic mobility.” Noteworthy leaders of the Just Jobs Advisory Group include John Podesta and Richard Trumka.
* Leadership Institute: “The Leadership Institute’s goal is to increase the participation of progressive people of color among the thinkers, shapers, and planners of policy at every level of government, in nonprofit organizations, and in groups that influence public policy.”
* Legal Progress: This program focuses on “the urgent need to confirm progressive judges” and “expose the detrimental impact corporate courts have on people’s lives.”
* Middle East Progress: “Middle East Progress helps develop and highlight practical approaches to managing—and resolving—the Arab-Israeli conflict, with a focus on achieving a sustainable, secure, and democratic Palestinian state alongside a sustainable, secure, and democratic Israel.”
* Our Working Nation: Now that women comprise approximately half of the American workforce, CAP calls for employers to institute allowances for flexible work schedules so that women may leave their workplaces when necessary in order to supervise their children (e.g. after school) or care for ailing relatives, without fear that they might lose their jobs. Says CAP: “We need to ensure that everyone—men and women, parents and non-parents alike—is able to meet the challenges of the workplace, while being able to provide care for their family.”
* Progress 2050: Depicting progressivism as the ideological orientation that is most beneficial to nonwhites, Progress 2050 notes that “the United States will become a nation with no clear racial or ethnic majority by the year 2050,” and that “this expected transition provides the progressive movement with an exciting opportunity to help America live up to its ideals of equality and justice for all.”
* Progressive Studies Program: This interdisciplinary project “seeks to increase public awareness of progressive ideas and values, and to educate public officials and policymakers through lectures, seminars, articles, public events, book discussions, new media tools, and training seminars.”
* Reel Progress: This progressive film series hosts free screenings that are open to the public, mostly in in Washington, DC but also elsewhere in the United States. These screenings are followed by “provocative panel discussions with leading policy experts, actors, and filmmakers, connecting the arts to campaigns for social change and progressive public policy.” The goal is to “advance a progressive agenda through innovative films that connect the arts to campaigns for social change and progressive public policy.”
* Science Progress: This program is founded on the premise that science “is a crucial source of human flourishing, a critical engine of economic growth, and must be dedicated to the common good.” Among the core tenets of environmental science, according to CAP, are that: (a) as a result of anthropogenic global warming, “Arctic sea ice coverage has been declining for decades”; “we are now on track to an 11-degree Fahrenheit rise by the end of the century”; “record droughts, floods, storms, and forest fires all may become ‘the new normal’”; and businesses should immediately take steps to reduce their “carbon footprints” because “climate change is no longer a potential future problem,” but “has arrived” already.
* Sustainable Security: “Sustainable security is a bold rethinking of national securitythat introduces the notions of collective and human security and rebalances the three tools of foreign policy—defense, diplomacy, and development. While traditional security focuses on threats to single nation-states, collective security deals with emerging threats to the entire world…. It is well known that poverty and deprivation foster conflict, crime, violence, and extremism. Sustainable economic development is therefore the key to long-term stability and security…. Human security thus advances our strategic, moral, and economic interests. It could also restore the moral leadership we lost during the Bush administration. It makes us safer and it’s the right thing to do…. Defense currently dominates our approach to security. The United States spent $611.1 billion on the military in fiscal year 2009 but only $49.8 billion on foreign aid. This approach might have made sense during the Cold War, but it must now adapt to the changing nature of challenges confronting the world. Sustainable security argues for a rebalancing of the so-called “3Ds,” or defense, diplomacy, and development…. Our foreign aid spending has steadily declined for the last two decades, and our foreign aid system is fragmented.”
CAP’s Recommended Economic Policies
In 2012, CAP published a major report outlining the think tank’s recommended policies “to strengthen our middle class.” Placing a heavy emphasis on public-sector spending, and on government’s duty to cover the costs of people’s basic needs in life, these CAP policies included:
- “Increasing mid-career training by providing workers the right to request time off from work for training”
- “Encouraging adult workers to enroll in career training by creating a flexible Pell Grant for these workers”
- “Enrolling 1 million more workers into apprenticeship programs in high-growth and emerging industries by partnering with the private sector and increasing funding for existing programs”
- “Raising the minimum wage to $10 [per hour] and linking it to half of the average wage, to ensure that hard work pays a decent wage”
- “Allowing workers to join unions if they want”
- “Ensur[ing] [that] middle-class Americans have access to quality, affordable health care by fully implementing Obamacare”
- “Pass[ing] legislation allowing workers to earn paid sick days so that workers don’t lose their jobs or incomes if they get sick or have to care for a sick child”
- “Providing paid family and medical leave to all workers [including part-time and temporary workers], just as all other industrialized countries do, as well as significantly expanding access to preschool and increasing the child and dependent care tax credit”
- “Stabilizing hard-hit communities and expanding affordable housing by rehabilitating and renting out government-owned foreclosed homes”
- “Providing deeply underwater homeowners a fighting chance of staying in their homes through mortgage principal reductions with ‘shared appreciation’”
- “Helping middle-class families reduce their energy costs by making their homes more efficient through a nationwide HomeStar program”
- “Fighting rising gas prices by helping consumers spend less on gas, by placing limits on oil speculation, and by instating a revised cash-for-clunkers program, as well as increasing investments in alternative fuels and public transportation”
- “Enabl[ing] public schools to rehire all the teachers that have been laid off because of the Great Recession and its aftermath, putting 500,000 teachers back in the classroom”
- “Mak[ing] needed investments in highways, energy, transit, rail, water, and other infrastructure to create more than 2 million jobs per year”
CAP and the “Black Lives Matter” Movement
On May 28, 2015, activists from the Black Lives Matter movement held an event at CAP titled “Toward a More Perfect Union: Bringing Criminal Justice Reform to Our Communities.” At this gathering, writes journalist Matthew Vadum: “[B]lack activists blamed the rising tide of black violence against police and whites on everyone except the perpetrators.” They cited such root causes as the evils of capitalism, white privilege, excessive numbers of laws and police officers, corporate malfeasance, and insufficient taxes levied on the wealthy.
CAP’s Board of Directors
As of September 2016, CAP’s Board of Directors consisted of the following individuals: Madeleine Albright, Carol Browner, Tom Daschle, Glenn Hutchins, Jonathan Lavine, John Podesta, Susan Sandler, Tom Steyer, Donald Sussman, Neera Tanden, Jose Villarreal, and Hansjörg Wyss.
CAP Memo Acknowledges That Democratic Position on Immigration Is Designed to Import Future Democrat Voters
On January 8, 2018, CAP circulated a memo — co-authored by former Hillary Clinton communications director and former CAP Action Fund president Jennifer Palmieri — emphasizing the importance of preserving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive action by which former President Obama had protected millions of young illegals from deportation. “The fight to protect Dreamers is not only a moral imperative, it is also a critical component of the Democratic Party’s future electoral success,” read the memo. “If Democrats don’t try to do everything in their power to defend Dreamers, that will jeopardize Democrats’ electoral chances in 2018 and beyond. In short, the next few weeks will tell us a lot about the Democratic Party and its long-term electoral prospects.”
Donors to CAP include the AFL-CIO, the AFSCME, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ben Barnes, the Bauman Family Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Blue Moon Fund, Carol Browner, the ClimateWorks Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Harold Ickes, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the New Israel Fund, the Open Society Institute, the Ploughshares Fund, the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Rockefeller Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, the Sandler Foundation, the Service Employees International Union, the Surdna Foundation, the Tides Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
CAP is also supported by dozens of corporate donors. For a list of companies that gave at least $10,000 apiece to CAP in 2013, click here.