Read our latest musings about poltics, policy, and others out there who are making ideas matter.

Roll Call: “2020 Democrats go silent after Senate’s Green New Deal debacle”

by Caitlin Peartree

The WG’s David Winston writes about the recent vote on the Green New Deal in today’s Roll Call:

This is clearly a ridiculous proposal and perhaps Ms. Ocasio-Cortez can learn a lesson from her Green New Deal launch. There is more to legislating than naïve ideas and a lot of wishful thinking, even with a big megaphone.

Read the full piece here.

Roll Call: “As Russia fog lifts for Trump, will Democrats finally see reality?”

by Caitlin Peartree

The WG’s David Winston writes in today’s Roll Call about the conclusion of the Mueller investigation:

But last week was a good one for Trump for another reason. The conclusion of the Mueller report means Democrats, both congressional and presidential candidates, are finally going to have to acknowledge that they didn’t lose the 2016 election because of Russian interference.

Read the full article here.


Roll Call: “This isn’t Nancy Pelosi’s first impeachment rodeo”

by Caitlin Peartree

The WG’s David Winston writes about the potential consequences for Democrats of focusing on impeachment, comparing it to Republicans’ pursuit of impeachment in 1998, in Wednesday’s Roll Call:

I suppose some cynics out there might question the speaker’s sincerity, wondering if her anti-impeachment stance is more political posturing than definitive pronouncement. But Nancy Pelosi has been to this rodeo before. She watched Republicans struggle to find an impeachment strategy that voters would understand and accept, and my guess is that she doesn’t want to end up in the same unenviable position.

Read the full article here.

Roll Call: “The Capitalism vs. Socialism Debate: Bring It On”

by Caitlin Peartree

The WG’s David Winston writes for Roll Call on the political implications of the current debate between capitalism and socialism:

So maybe this is exactly the debate we need, as more and more Democrats seem to believe that it’s time for America to move even further left toward an economic system that will inevitably change the very character and future of this nation, and not for the better. Socialism is slowly making a comeback, a cultural shift that should concern political and business leaders of both parties.

Read the full article here.

Roll Call: “Unpacking the Democrats’ Jam-Packed Primary”

by Caitlin Peartree

The WG’s David Winston writes for Roll Call on the start of the 2020 Democratic primary season:

It may end up a three-ring circus of unhappy losers and their equally unhappy supporters or an equitable winnowing of one the biggest fields of presidential candidates in modern history. Whether the process works and is seen as fair to all will be crucial to ensuring a party unified behind its eventual nominee. That’s where it gets complicated for the Democrats.

Read the full article here.


Roll Call: “Note to Ocasio-Cortez and Green New Dealers – the economy is not the government”

by Emily O'Connor

The WG’s David Winston writes for Roll Call on the Green New Deal:

Today’s Green New Deal shares many of FDR’s original goals, but like the old New Deal, it reflects an economic philosophy that has a long track record of promising much and producing less. Today, one party thinks government is the answer to people’s problems. The other rightly thinks only the private sector can create the kind of economic opportunity and growth that helps ensure “prosperity and economic security for all.”

Read the full article here.

Expectations for the New Democratic House

by David Winston

The most recent survey for Winning the Issues (November 30-December 2, 1000 registered voters) looked at perceptions and expectations of the new Congress. The survey showed that the electorate believes that there is a difference in what Democrats should do and what they will do, with Democratic voters having very different expectations of their majority compared to the rest of the electorate. Overall, the electorate believes Democrats should work with Republicans and the President to solve issues rather than oppose the President and Republicans to stop their policies (56-34), with Independents (56-24) and Republicans (81-15) taking this view. However, Democratic voters believe their majority should oppose the President and Republicans (58%) rather than work with him and Republicans to solve issues (33%).

While the electorate – including Independents – hopes the incoming Democratic majority will work with the other party to solve issues, their expectation is that Democrats will do the opposite. By more than 2:1, the electorate believes that they will oppose the President and Republicans to stop their policies (62%) rather than work with them to solve issues (26%). This view about what Democrats will actually do is shared across parties.

With the recent election result having been determined by majority coalition groups such as Independents and women, Democrats have to remember that their base has very different expectations of what their majority should be doing compared to the key swing groups that led to their win. These voters are looking for solutions and for both parties to work together to solve issues. If this does not happen and Democrats only focus on stopping the President and Republicans, that will be an opportunity for Republicans to regain ground among those groups in 2020.

2018 Post Election Analysis: “Focus on OUR Concerns”

by David Winston

The 2018 midterm elections, for Republicans, is a story of missed opportunity. Holding the House was a tall order with history against the GOP as the party in power and the large number of Republican retirements But a path to preserving their House majority, even if a difficult one, did exist if the election became all about the economy. It didn’t.

This post-election analysis, based on exit poll data from the National Election Pool, done by Edison Research, and the Winston Group’s Winning the Issues post-election survey, done Election Night, assesses the 2018 campaign that began and ended with the fight for the election narrative.

There is no question that money was a significant disadvantage for Republicans in this election, but this report outlines the opportunities that existed which could have led to a much better result for them, especially in terms of what the electorate heard from both Republicans and Democrats. This report also shows that the election outcome was not the result of an ideological or party identification realignment, but instead a shift in vote preferences. This means that Republicans still have an opportunity to rebuild their majority coalition for 2020…

Read or download the full PDF report.


Roll Call: The Numbers Tell the Story – Tax Cuts Work

by Emily O'Connor

The WG’s David Winston makes the case for how tax cuts spur economic growth:

Last October, not long before passage of the Republican tax cuts, Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” argued over taxes with his guest, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

“There has been no study that has been able to somehow reinforce this idea that tax cuts do translate to economic growth,” the NBC host said.

To the contrary, there is plenty of evidence that shows tax cuts do spur economic growth, and the proof can be found in the economic data that followed passage of the four major tax cuts of the last half century….

These four major tax cuts shared three key economic accomplishments. Gross domestic product went up. Unemployment rates went down. And federal revenues increased substantially after passage and implementation.

For more, continue reading on Roll Call.

The Future of Ads

by David Winston

On Wednesday, Mary Meeker, a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, released her highly acclaimed annual report on Internet trends and technology. One of the findings of this year’s report was that people are trending toward mobile devices faster than ad dollars are keeping up. From the Washington Post coverage of the presentation, “Meeker sees mobile advertising growing another $22 billion in the United States because the time consumers spend on mobile devices — 25 percent — is more than double the share of ad dollars the platform receives. However, a major concern is the 420 million smartphone users who utilize ad-blocking technology.” If people are shifting toward mobile devices but with large numbers using ad blockers, ads of the future will not only have to be more adept at transitioning to mobile devices and away from traditional platforms, but the content will have to be more compelling.

To inform how ads might be more compelling, we looked at which sources are most influential in shaping political views, from research we conducted for the Ripon Society earlier this year.  Not unexpectedly, news media sources were not among the most influential sources on a person’s political views. By far, voters overall and across party cited their own experience as the largest influence on their political views (69%). Family (36%) and education (34%) fell into a second tier of most important influences, followed then by the media (29%).

Given the current media and campaign environment, these results indicate that ads of the future intended to shape views about a candidate or issue will have to be credible and informative enough for people to see the personal impact and how the content can become part of personal and family discussions. This may sound difficult, but it can be done, as exemplified by a recent exchange in a focus group in a competitive Congressional district. In that discussion, we heard a college-educated, independent female (a key voter group for this year’s midterms) describe her reaction to the provisions of the tax plan – not messaging – simply the basic provisions of the plan. After seeing the provisions of the plan and how it could impact her personally, her response was “I’m going to go home and have a drink with my husband and tell him about this stuff because I think it’s fascinating. This has been so interesting.

With the right kind of content that voters find personally relevant and informative, ads can provide content and information that can become part of personal discussions that voters are having, and those kinds of ads can have a much greater impact. The ideal reaction to an ad of any kind would be that a voter discusses it at home with family and concludes that “this has been so interesting.”

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