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Why not growth?

As the self-described party of the middle class, Democrats’ principal concern should be growth.

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Democrats’ intense focus on income inequality is understandable, but why not the same obsession over economic growth?

From 2001 to 2013, a span of thirteen years, average annual growth in the United States came out to a lumbering 1.8 percent. That is half the average annual growth rate we experienced from 1950 to 2000 —a period during which the middle class shined and the poverty rate declined.

Yes, the Great Recession contributed to substandard growth rates, but since 2001, the U.S. economy has exceeded 3 percent growth only twice. In the half century prior, we surpassed 3 percent growth per year 34 times. What was once “normal” growth is now a rarity.

Economists predict that America’s future growth rate will settle somewhere between mediocre and sickly. The Congressional Budget Office projects an average of 2.5 percent annual growth over the next ten years, while PricewaterhouseCoopers projects an average of 2.4 percent growth through 2020. Middling growth like that just won’t make an appreciable difference in the lives of average working people.

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7 things You Need to Know about Millennials and Politics

By Michelle Diggles

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1. Millennials are more likely to be political Independents than any other generation.

Despite voting for President Obama by double-digits in 2008 and 2012, 50% of Millennials are self-described Independents.

2. Millennials are open to government solutions.

Millennials support a bigger government providing more services over a smaller government providing fewer services by 53% to 38%.

3. Millennials are the most racially and ethnically diverse generation.

Approximately 40% of Millennials are non-white or Hispanic.

4. Millennials are the most moderate of any generation.

plurality of Millennials (39%) are moderates, with another 31% describing their political views as liberal, and 26% as conservative.

5. Millennial views on abortion are nearly identical to their elders.

While 56% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, 54% of Millennialsagree.

6. Millennials are not isolationists.

By 20 points, Millennials were more supportive than the Silent Generation of the military conducting nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan. And 60% said the U.S. made the right decision in to use force in Afghanistan—14 points higher than Silents.

7. Millennials think immigrants strengthen our country.

Nearly seven in ten Millennials think that newcomers strengthen American society, with a paltry 27% saying newcomers threaten our customs and values. In contrast, 44% of Baby Boomers and 40% of the Silent Generation say immigrants strengthen our country, while 46% of Baby Boomers and 45% of the Silent Generation say newcomers are a threat.

This piece was originally published via Republic 3.0

Elites focus on inequality; real people just want growth

By Bill Schneider

The economic debate is now sharply focused on the issue of income inequality. That may not be the debate Democrats want to have, however. It’s negative and divisive. Democrats would be better off talking about growth — a hopeful and unifying agenda.

Democrats believe income inequality is a populist cause. But it may be less of a populist issue than an issue promoted by the cultural elite: well-educated professionals who are economically comfortable but not rich. There’s new evidence that ordinary voters care more about growth.

Growth and inequality are not separate issues. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz wrote, “Politicians typically talk about rising inequality and the sluggish recovery as separate phenomena when they are in fact intertwined.  Inequality restrains and holds back our economic growth.

The question is whether Democrats want to talk about punitive and confiscatory policies aimed at curbing the power of the wealthy and special interests or an agenda aimed at growing the economy for everyone.

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Our latest deep dive into the voter registration numbers shows the 2014 electorate might be the most Independent yet. In the 12 states that have competitive statewide elections in 2014 and track registration by party:

  • Since 2012, Independent registration has outpaced Democratic and Republican enrollment in 11 of the 12.
  • Independent voters have increased by 17.2% since 2008.
  • In 6 of these states (AK, AZ, CO, IA, ME, NH), there are now more registered Independents than registered Democrats or Republicans.
  • Millennials may be driving the surge, since they call themselves Independents at higher rates than any other generation (now 50%, up 11 points since 2008).

Get all the data in our new memo: Voter Registration Update—Independent Swell

What’s the Matter with Kids Today? 
Our latest infographic compares Millennials with their Silent Generation grandparents on hot topics including marriage for gay couples, legalization of marijuana, immigration reform, and the role of government. It may surprise you which issues they agree on and which issues they decidedly do not.

What’s the Matter with Kids Today?

Our latest infographic compares Millennials with their Silent Generation grandparents on hot topics including marriage for gay couples, legalization of marijuana, immigration reform, and the role of government. It may surprise you which issues they agree on and which issues they decidedly do not.

A charge implicit in the Moulitsas post is that moderate Democrats lack political courage—that they would do the right thing if only they were brave enough. This just doesn’t withstand scrutiny… [Liberals] don’t stare political death in the face on any vote, ever. The moderates do.

Matt Bennett & Jim Kessler, Co-Founders of Third Way

In “Kos Folds Up the Big Tent,” a recent op-ed in Politico Magazine, Matt Bennett and Jim Kesller discuss why Markos Moulitsas’ ”purity tests” for Democratic Senators are bad for the party.

Millennial doesn’t mean liberal

By Kirsten Powers, USA Today

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Bad news for Democrats: It seems Millennials are special little snowflakes after all.

A new report by the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way highlights the political complexity of a generation raised to believe they were utterly unique. When it comes to politics, they do it their way. Which could make the cohort that turned out en masse for President Obama unpredictable as voters.

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Edward Snowden: Whistleblower or Traitor?

When a major news story does NOT provoke a partisan response, it’s worth noticing. That seems to be the case with Edward Snowden.

Is Snowden a whistleblower or a traitor for leaking information about NSA surveillance activities? The public is split. But so are Republicans. And so are Democrats. The issue cuts right across party lines. Many Republicans are libertarians. Many Democrats are civil libertarians. And some Democrats are probably annoyed that the Snowden leaks embarrassed the Obama Administration.

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But views of Snowden show a definite pattern by age.

A solid majority of Americans in the millennial generation (under 30) regard Snowden as a whistleblower. Most seniors consider him a traitor. The older you are, the more critical you are of Snowden.

Young people have always been anti-establishment, and Snowden took on the political and military establishment. Interestingly, Tea Party Republicans are also anti-establishment (and especially anti-Obama). Most Tea Party Republicans agree with millennials that Snowden served the public interest (53%).

This piece is from the January 2014 edition of Bill Schneider’s Inside Politics Newsletter

What are Democrats going to do to hold true to our values but fundamentally rethink our ideas and modernize them for a whole new era?

Jonathan Cowan, president and co-founder of  Third Way.

Throughout his career, Cowan has helped build several centrist Democratic groups, tackling issues including the deficit and gun control. That effort has made him a target at times, sometimes from within his own party. And he’s OK with that. To learn more, read the full profile via The Hill.