Founded in 1996 by Democratic Party operative and strategist Simon Rosenberg, NDN — originally known as the New Democrat Network — describes itself as a “progressive think tank and advocacy organization” promoting a “new politics” that is being “driven by enormous changes in demography, media and technology, economics and geopolitics,” not only in the United States but around the world.
According to NDN, “conservatives in Washington” aim to promote a “governing agenda” that has “taken a sharp turn to the reckless right, offering an economic strategy ill-suited for the challenges we face, a foreign policy too belligerent and too ineffective, and a style of governing too arrogant and corrupt for our proud democracy.” To counter that agenda, NDN seeks to:
In NDN’s calculus, the long-term success of the Democratic Party will depend heavily on the party’s ability to “master the new media and technology tools that are changing the way we all communicate and advocate.” Toward that end, NDN calls on Congress to earmark “about $125 million a year” for federal grants to “provide every worker in America access to [Internet Technology] training.”
Another key to Democrat success, says NDN, will be the party’s ability to “understand and speak to the radically new demographic make-up of today’s America.” Specifically, NDN notes the rise of Hispanics as the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States. “The emergence of a new, highly energized and pro-Democratic Hispanic electorate could have an enormous impact” on future political elections in the U.S., says NDN, especially “in key battleground states.”
NDN’s major political initiatives include the following:
* The 21st Century America Project, focused on demographic and attitudinal trends within the United States, produced a major 2010 report stating that Millennials (18-28 year-olds), Gen-Xers (29-45 year-olds), African-Americans, Hispanics, and women all “identify as Democrats over Republicans” by wide margins. Further, the report concluded that “America is no longer a ‘center-right’ nation”; “there are nearly as many self-perceived liberals and progressives in the American electorate as conservatives”; and “most Americans favor activist government focused on promoting economic equality and a multi-lateralist approach in foreign policy.” Based on this information, NDN president Simon Rosenberg has predicted “a permanent shift in the ideological orientation of the country.”
* The Clean Energy Initiative advocates an increased reliance on wind and solar power.
* The Global Mobile Technology Initiative notes that the world’s 4 billion mobile-phone owners are in essence connected within “a single communications network.” Given that an ever-increasing percentage of their telephones have Internet capability, NDN seeks to target them with audio and video messages designed to strengthen the progressive movement.
* The Globalization Initiative identifies “three key components” that are necessary to promote economic growth: “modernizing our healthcare and energy policies, investing in 21st-century skills and infrastructure, and accelerating innovation across the economy.” A May 2011 NDN report, titled “A New, Progressive Economic Strategy for America,” called for the U.S. to address its economic woes by “taxing a share of the value of employer-provided [healthcare] coverage”; incorporating a public option into the healthcare system; “ending the major corporate tax subsidies for influential industries”; and exempting between 84% and 95% of all Americans from any personal income taxes, thereby allowing the tax system to “return to its origins, when it affected only the very well-to-do.” Because such a tax structure would clearly “produce much lower revenues than the current system,” NDN advocates the imposition of “an 8 percent to 10 percent value-added tax (VAT) that would cover everything people consume, except home purchases and rent, medical care, educational costs, and energy.”
* Fixing Our Broken Immigration System: Urging lawmakers to “create legal status and a path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States, NDN claims that “a majority of Americans” favor such a course of action. In 2010, NDN’s website featured a piece deriding Arizona’s recently passed anti-illegal-immigration law (SB 1070) as a “xenophobic” measure that “attacks and demeans the civil rights of every hard-working, tax-paying American citizen.”
To promote its views regarding immigration policy, NDN has invested in a Spanish-language radio and television media initiative “designed to counter anti-immigrant campaigns.” The organization has also hosted numerous forums where members of Congress could discuss various proposals. Above all, NDN exhorts Democrats to distance themselves from what it calls the Republican Party’s “harsh rhetoric” and “demonization of immigrants.” Further, NDN supports the DREAM Act and the concept of “family reunification.”
* The Latin America Policy Initiative “educates and empowers leaders in policy, politics, and social and economic development to take on the challenges of Inter-American policy by providing a forum to discuss modern issues affecting Latin American countries.”
NDN also endorses the Global Poverty Act (GPA), which, if ratified, would compel the U.S. to “implement” policies designed to “cut extreme global poverty in half … through aid, trade, debt relief,” and other means. According to Accuracy in Media editor Cliff Kincaid, the adoption of the GPA would make America’s foreign-aid spending decisions “subservient to the dictates of the United Nations” and, over a 13-year period, would cost the U.S. roughly $845 billion “over and above what [it] already spends.”
For additional information on NDN, click here.