If you ever doubted our ability to come together to effect change, you have to check out this rundown of what we accomplished in 2015.
THE TOP 10 THINGS MOVEON MEMBERS GOT DONE IN 2015
1. WE SECURED DIPLOMACY WITH IRAN, PREVENTING AN UNNECESSARY WAR
Preventing war with Iran and allowing diplomacy to work marked MoveOn members’ biggest accomplishment of the year. Had we not mobilized in support of the nuclear deal that President Obama reached with five world powers and Iran, the world could have seen a very different outcome.
After the deal was announced in July, many in Congress, including Democrats, threatened to overturn it, risking war. But if enough Democrats stood with President Obama, we would ensure the deal remained in place. We made this fight our top priority.
Throughout the August recess, with members of Congress at home in their districts, we showed up at hundreds of town hall meetings and other public appearances, organized hundreds of events and demonstrations, made tens of thousands of phone calls, and placed substantial ad buys in states whose senators were on the fence, making clear to Democrats that their base wanted them to stand with the president and support the deal. When Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced he opposed the deal, we mobilized quickly to launch a donor strike and get the “SchumerMobile” onto the streets of New York City, showing other senators that we’d hold them accountable too if they chose war over diplomacy. It worked. Few other Democrats made the wrong choice.
President Obama recently sent MoveOn.org Political Action Executive Director Ilya Sheyman a note thanking MoveOn members for their work on the Iran deal, which the president said “made a huge difference,” adding, “the world will be safer for it”:
2. WE KEPT REPUBLICANS FROM SLAMMING THE DOOR ON SYRIAN REFUGEES
Just weeks ago, an anti-refugee backlash had enormous momentum, with Donald Trump and other Republican presidential candidates shamelessly stoking fears and dozens of governors declaring Syrian refugees weren’t welcome in their states.
But something happened that Washington wasn’t expecting: our community stood up. MoveOn members signed and delivered hundreds of thousands of petition signatures. We joined allies in flooding Congress with phone calls, including at least 25,000 from MoveOn members alone. We marched in the streets at dozens of vigils and rallies with “Refugees Welcome” signs. We conducted polling showing Democrats that the public would support them if they stood with refugees. We used social media to share more than 150 digital posters. And we welcomed refugee families into our homes for Thanksgiving-themed dinners.
It worked. When Republicans tried to tuck an anti-refugee measure into the big, must-pass end-of-year spending bill, we stopped them. In the new year, we’ll continue to fight for a country that lives up to the promise on the Statue of Liberty: “Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
3. WE ELEVATED ELIZABETH WARREN’S LEADERSHIP WITH THE RUN WARREN RUN CAMPAIGN, SETTING THE TERMS OF THE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
From December through May, MoveOn members organized to show our support for Senator Elizabeth Warren and encourage her to enter the presidential race. We launched the Run Warren Run campaign after more than 86 percent of MoveOn members voted to go forward, and we were quickly joined by our allies at Democracy for America, the Working Families Party, and others. We didn’t ultimately persuade Senator Warren to run, but our campaign and the substantial, sustained media coverage it generated elevated Senator Warren’s voice, focused national attention on the issue of economic inequality, and laid the groundwork for the Democratic primary race.
The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein noted Run Warren Run “affected several debates along the way, helping Warren submarine President Barack Obama’s nomination of Antonio Weiss, a Wall Street banker, to be a top ranking Treasury Department official, and encouraging lawmakers to support the expansion of Social Security. … Side-victories … large enough to hang a few hats.” And Slate’s Josh Voorhees credited Run Warren Run with helping to persuade Hillary Clinton to take “more progressive stands … than anyone had expected.”
4. WE MOBILIZED PUBLIC PRESSURE TO HELP FORCE DOWN THE CONFEDERATE FLAG IN SOUTH CAROLINA AND SUPPORT THE MOVEMENT FOR BLACK LIVES
After the June massacre of nine Black members of Charleston, S.C.’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church, MoveOn member Karen Hunter launched a petition campaign demanding the removal of the Confederate flag. Her petition became the second-fastest-growing one in MoveOn’s history and helped generate the public attention and pressure that led the state of South Carolina to take down the flag from state house grounds. This was just one of many times this year that MoveOn members rallied for justice for Black Americans, inspired by the moral force of the growing movement for Black lives. We also called for justice for Sandra Bland and Tamir Rice, stood in solidarity with #SayHerName activists who challenged presidential candidates at the progressive Netroots Nation conference, and supported organizers in Chicago calling for Rahm Emanuel’s resignation in the wake of the Laquan McDonald video cover-up.
5. MORE THAN 32,000 GUN-OWNING MOVEON MEMBERS ADDED TO THE PUSH FOR EXECUTIVE ACTION ON GUN VIOLENCE
After the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, MoveOn members made gun violence prevention a top priority this fall — with the goal of persuading President Obama to close a gaping gun-sale loophole that allows people to buy guns without background checks. More than 650,000 MoveOn members have now signed a petition calling for tighter gun laws. And more than 32,000 gun-owning MoveOn members worked together to elevate their voices this fall. Fifteen of those gun owners traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with lawmakers and presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett. We also conducted a poll finding overwhelming support for background checks among gun owners and released the results to the media. We anticipate that President Obama will take executive action in January to strengthen background checks and save lives.
6. WE HELPED STOP THE EXECUTION OF AN INNOCENT MAN
Actor and activist Susan Sarandon and Sister Helen Prejean (whom Sarandon played in the film Dead Man Walking) started a MoveOn petition calling on Oklahoma’s governor to stop the execution of Richard Glossip. Glossip came within days or minutes of his death three times this year for a crime the record in the case makes clear he did not commit. More than 250,000 MoveOn members signed Sarandon and Prejean’s petition and thousands called the governor, shared information on social media, participated in on-the-ground demonstrations, and chipped in to run ads that helped to thrust the issue into the national spotlight and to support Glossip’s legal defense. In September, Gov. Fallin stayed his execution at the very last minute, and all executions in Oklahoma are now on hold until at least next spring. This was just one of many campaigns MoveOn members organized this year to call attention to structural flaws in and the need for reform of our nation’s broken criminal justice system.
7. WE CONTRIBUTED FUNDS TO RESPOND TO INTERNATIONAL AND DOMESTIC TRAGEDIES
More than 100,000 MoveOn members chipped in to fund our campaigning this year — but we didn’t stop there. When tragedy struck, we passed the virtual hat to raise funds for organizations doing relief work, including contributing more than $500,000 to organizations on the ground after a devastating earthquake in Nepal in April, groups helping rebuild Black churches in the South after arson attacks this summer, and relief efforts supporting Syrian refugee families in meeting basic, everyday needs.
8. WE RAN THOUSANDS OF CAMPAIGNS ON THE MOVEON PETITIONS PLATFORM
MoveOn members started and led thousands of petition campaigns this year using MoveOn Petitions, collecting more than 9 million signatures, organizing nearly 500 in-person petition delivery events, generating thousands of news stories, and using our progressive people power to put pressure on decision makers to do the right thing. MoveOn members averaged one victory every other day this year, fueling wins such as expanding Medicaid coverage in Montana, stopping cuts in disability services in Connecticut, blocking Gov. Scott Walker from undermining teacher licensing standards in Wisconsin, and defeating anti-gay religious freedom legislation in Arkansas.
9. WE PARTNERED WITH ROBERT REICH TO TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT OUR ECONOMY
This year, we did an end run around corporate media with a video series featuring Robert Reich that debunks right-wing economic myths and focuses on commonsense solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems. Our Big Picture series addresses issues including money in politics, too-big-to-fail Wall Street banks, mass incarceration, the fight for a $15-per-hour minimum wage, threats to Social Security, and the skyrocketing cost of education. Millions watched and shared these big ideas which would vastly improve the lives of regular Americans — and the project was so successful that we’re planning more videos in the year to come.
10. WE STOOD IN SOLIDARITY WITH PLANNED PARENTHOOD AND SAID NO TO CUTS
When anti-abortion extremists released deceptively edited videos to undermine Planned Parenthood, MoveOn members mobilized. More than 288,000 MoveOn members signed petitions demanding that Congress not cut funding for Planned Parenthood’s health centers. We ran ads and shared powerful graphics setting the record straight. We generated more than 10,000 calls to Congress. And we partnered with Planned Parenthood to organize 138 events — about half of which were led by MoveOn members — to #PinkOut the country. Thanks to our work and the work of allies at dozens of other feminist and progressive organizations, Democrats in Congress stood strong and prevented cuts.
And that’s hardly all we accomplished. MoveOn members also did powerful work this year to prevent Congress from signing off on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to support the Federal Communications Commission in adopting new rules to protect Net Neutrality, to secure President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, to build support for expanding Social Security benefits, to build the movement to overturn Citizens United and get big money out of politics, and so much more.
In these fights, as in many others, we made our voices heard and made real progress, showing what people power can accomplish. And this work was fueled by more than 100,000 MoveOn members chipping in — with an average contribution of $23 — and by millions of MoveOn members taking action.
MoveOn.org Political Action is a federally registered political committee and is subject to the Federal Election Campaign Act. MoveOn.org Civic Action is organized as a nonprofit organization of under section 501(c)4 of the Internal Revenue Code. Although each organization undertook its own programs, for the sake of simplicity this top 10 list describes the work of both organizations as having been carried out by “MoveOn.”