Nation of Change: Still time to support mobilize-the-vote Progressive activism, keys to winning close races
Nation of Change – October 2, 2020
More good news. However appalling was Trump’s temper-tantrum barrage last night, he doubled down on his worst campaign blunder: be the center of attention and make the election about him. Has anyone ever more clearly rushed off the electoral cliff? In the process, he will bring down Republican senate candidates too cowardly to denounce a mortifying performance by the dangerous clown president.
It’s not too late for left-leaners to support vigorous, well-oiled, get-out-the vote progressive activism for enlightened Democratic candidates, especially critical for races going down to the wire. Dramatic, record-breaking fundraising numbers – well into the hundreds of millions of dollars – are boosting thousands of dedicated activists contacting regular Democrats, undecideds or inconsistent voters. This is one of the rare political positives, whatever the outcomes, in a year of deafening, mind-numbing perversions.
The unified goal is to overcome minority voter repression (as in 2016) and funnel multitudes to the polls, rout Republicans, and defy the dwindling Trump criminal gang show. While disdaining party affiliation, progressive groups are hell-bent to save America from more systemic Trump body blows. Then, comes the implication, progressives with far more electoral support will have the clout to pressure Biden Democrats to change the overall national direction, not simply neutralize the horrors spawned by the Demagogue-in-chief. Not perfect, perhaps, but it’s a workable plan.
If you can’t send money, write postcards, join phone banks, do online texting and promotion, even canvass your neighborhoods to remind voters how crushing it would be to repeat 2016, when millions of Democrats, for good and bad reasons, stayed home. What other way can a dominant majority, per reams of polling dead set against Trumpism, determine next year’s appointments, decisions and policies? Otherwise, we not only have to endure unacceptable minority rule but by a primitive, compassion-less, white minority who’ve squelched all better angels of their nature.
There are dozens upon dozens of activist groups, here summarized, well beyond better known ones like the Democratic Socialists of America, Green Party, Socialist Party, Labor Party, let alone ProgressNow, MoveOn, Indivisible, RootsAction, and Emily’s List. There are also many strong state organizations, like Living United for Change in Arizona, or LUCHA, and Texas Organizing Project, which strategically targets black and Latino voters less likely to participate. Apologies for dedicated people left out of this quick survey.
Of the left-leaning voter “engagement” organizations, here are the most ambitious, effective mobilizers:
Way to Win – spending over $80 million across battleground states like Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Pushing multi-racial coalitions, Way to Win boasts a 75% win record, facilitating 176 down-ballot gains.
Progressive Turnout Project – with a 1000 staffers, focusing on one-to-one conversations, PTP targets less dutiful voters with over $50 million. The overriding mission of this largest grassroots-funded field organization is to boost Democratic voting.
For Our Future Action Fund – committing over $50 million in toss-up states like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Florida. Its subsidiary, Our Future Florida, organizes a huge field operation whose goal is to knock on more than three million doors in that state.
NextGen America – budgeting $45 million this year, some from climate change activist Tom Steyer, to mobilize young voters across battleground states: Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.this year
Movement Vote — black-led organizing team that backs sustained protest actions, especially against police brutality, while mobilizing minority voters in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Arizona and beyond.
This is a dis-aggregated but unified crusade, some groups working together, that seeks dramatic changes to the Democratic Party plus systemic reforms, as in a New New Deal. Potent support backs many integrated issues: Black Lives Matter (and social and racial justice aligned with Movement for Black Lives), Green New Deal, Medicare for All, serious immigration reform, much fairer taxation, reverse deregulation of soil, air and water, workplace protections for LGBTQ workers, abortion rights and – transcending all – rational, organized, science-driven responses to climate change. The stunning ideological continuity is as prominent as is the awesome fundraising records – defining the most progressive politics this century.
This collective outreach is overlapping efforts by more bipartisan, highly-disgruntled centrist voices, as in the Lincoln Project and diverse Never-Trump coalitions. There are also important, if for me less visible groups like Brand New Congress, formed two years ago with this mission of running hundreds of progressive, often working class political newcomers to oust establishment incumbents, Democrats and Republicans alike.
Brand New Congress linked up with the likes of one present Congresswoman named A. Ocasio-Cortez (then a bartender pushed to run by her brother) plus with prescience debating in 2017 whether the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, should be abolished. Few progressive activists aren’t fed up with offerings from the establishment Democrats, both at the DNC and the DCCC (Congressional arm). Obviously, much of this progressive surge owes its strength and policy focus to the foundational Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren campaigns, with ripples galore, growing daily. The battle is on and time remains to make a difference. Consider the wide range of options and pick what works for your life and checkbook.
And no small amount of this energy is reaching establishment ears. Not only more aggressive on climate change than Obama, Joe Biden declares he’s committed to naming a black woman justice to the Supreme Court. Most of us here hope Trump has no more choices and Biden more than one. In any case, a new community-driven Progressive Age may be dawning and for one I am delighted. Truly, what other rational, humane option is there?
As Way to Win president/founder Tory Gavito summarizes, the immense power of local community groups, at the center of voting action, goes beyond “the outcome of those Election Day counts. Win or lose, if organized communities are mobilized and asking for policy change, they’re the real winners.”