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Democrats’ ‘optimistic apostle’ offers hope for the midterms

Simon Rosenberg is the head of the progressive think tank NDN, and he has a message for jittery Democrats on the eve of the midterms: cheer up! This week on the Playbook Deep Dive podcast we sit down with the Democratic Party’s apostle of optimism.

“I’m not sitting here and telling you we’re going to win,” Simon told us over lunch this week. “What I’m telling you is that the narrative about this election, about there being a red wave— there isn’t one. There never has been.”

If you spend a lot of time on political Twitter, you have no doubt encountered Simon’s tweets and threads over the last few weeks. He’s built a large and loyal following of Democrats looking for silver linings amid the clouds of negative media coverage about their party’s prospects in the midterms.

— Hispanics abandoning his party? Simon says that NDN’s polling doesn’t show it.

— Polling averages tilting to the GOP in the last few weeks? Simon says they’ve been polluted by a barrage of Republican polls dumped strategically to depress Democrats and excite Republicans. (This claim has been met with a lot of skepticism, because surely Democratic campaigns would be leaking their own internals, but we digress…)

— And that red wave? Simon says that if you look at the Kansas abortion referendum, the five House special elections earlier this year, and especially the early voting data, that the anti-Trump coalition that powered Democrats to victory in 2018 and 2020 is holding strong in 2022.


November 2022