Feel-good update: Your 2020 priorities
First: I want to say thank you.
Your generosity — whether you’ve contributed money, time, your network, or simply a spot in your inbox each week — has made the last three years possible. More than 300 young diverse progressives are in local office & more than 45,000 young people have raised their hands to consider running for office because of you. I am so proud of what we’ve done together, and looking forward to what we’re going to do together in the future. (And FYI, more to come on our 2020 strategic plan in the new year.)
Today, I want you to commit to giving again and giving more to Run for Something this year.
Let's win lasting power
Run for Something elects young diverse progressives to local office to help Democrats build permanent power for the…
Earlier this year, I had a conversation that’s kept me up nearly every night since: A supporter told me that while they loved what we do and while they are so proud to be a part of this team, they simply couldn’t make us a priority going into 2020. “We have to beat Trump,” they said. “Everything else is on hold.”
I want to be as clear as possible: That mentality — that winning the White House is the only thing that matters — is exactly why Democrats lose over and over and over again. It’s why too many people don’t have health care, why abortion rights are on the line, why black and brown voters are kept from the polls, and why so many people have a negative perception of the Democratic Party, even while our positions and policies are more popular and would make peoples’ lives better.
Winning the White House is important, don’t get me wrong. But if we underinvest in local elections, we are repeating our same mistakes over and over again. As a party, we have to do it all. (After all, there is no question about it on the other side: Republicans have the resources and strategic imperative to invest everywhere & at every level.)
No matter what you care about, Run for Something is part of the solution.
If you care about winning the White House in 2020: Local candidates generate turn-out & reach voters — especially underrepresented communities — that a presidential candidate simply can’t or won’t allocate resources towards. For example, municipal candidates in cities like Atlanta, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Philadelphia can run up the score in key states for a Democratic candidate at the top of the ticket.
If you care about winning the Senate: Our federal candidates in states like Maine, Montana, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Alabama and North Carolina are going to need every last vote to win hard races. It might not make sense for the presidential campaign to invest heavily in those states in the way Senate candidates need. But it absolutely makes sense for school board, city council and state legislative candidates in those places to run competitive races and gin up Democratic turnout in every proverbial nook & cranny. Even if the local candidate themselves loses, those votes for Democrats still count!
If you care about redistricting: We are fielding candidates for state legislature! (A lot of them!) Our collaboration through the Grassroots Redistricting Project and with our partners at the NDRC and DLCC means we’re not being duplicative. Our candidates are often running in long-shot races that other groups dismiss as too hard to engage in — but those are the places we can pick up surprising wins with the historic turnout we expect in 2020.
If you care about health care: Let’s be real — even if we win the White House AND win the Senate, it’s going to take a good long while to pass health care reform. Meanwhile, state legislatures are expanding Medicaid and literally saving lives. For example: Nearly 400k Virginians now have health care they didn’t have three years ago.
If you care about abortion rights: State legislatures pass the laws that protect a woman’s right to choose, or the ones that take it away. The best to prevent Roe v Wade from going in front of one of Trump’s judges or the Supreme Court is to prevent the laws from being passed in the first place.
If you care about voting rights: State legislatures pass these laws, too. The best & most efficient way to turn a state like Texas or Wisconsin blue: Elect Democratic state legislatures who can make it easier for communities of color and young people to vote.
If you care about climate change: Democratic city councils are switching over to solar and wind energy. Democratic state legislatures like New York and California are competing to see who can pass the most ambitious carbon reduction bills.
If you care about electing the first woman president (or first Latinx president, or first Asian American president, or first LGBTQ president, or first, second, and third anything-and-everything-else president): One great way to ensure we have fewer white men as Democratic presidential candidates in the future is to get more non-white men into the pipeline now by electing them as local and state leaders. Make the funnel of possible talent as wide and as diverse as possible. It’ll yield better policy results immediately and have a long-term impact on our future.
If you care about the Democratic party brand — among both Trump voters and non-voters who might lean our way if they show up: The Democratic presidential candidate is going to be demonized on Fox News, Sinclair media broadcasts, and in hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising. But it’s much harder to hate a Democrat on the school board that you know and likes personally, and who is delivering better education for your community’s kids, or the Democrat on the city council who’s from the neighborhood and makes sure the traffic is running smoothly. The best messenger to break through the bullshit is a Democrat voters can build a genuine 1:1 authentic relationship with.
This list is barely exhaustive — I can and will go on and on, but you get my point. Run for Something was created to solve a singular need — that young people considering running for office had no where to turn to for help. But that hole in the party ecosystem existed because of a broader problem in our party’s resource allocation. That’s a problem we all created, and one we can solve.
In 2019, we raised ~$2.5 million. We need to raise at least that and then some in 2020 in order to ensure we’re sustainable past this election cycle. (After all, we already have candidates running in 2021. Hard to believe, but there will be an election day past November!)
The earlier you can make your donation, the better. If you can’t give early, let us know what you’re thinking for 2020. Money we can count on is staff we can pay, ads we can run, and candidates we can support. If you are tapped out, but want to host an event, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will go anywhere and everywhere to help you help us.
Our budget is nothing in the grand scheme of things. But it’s everything to us, to our candidates, and to the millions of people counting on better health care, cleaner water, easier access to the polls, and more.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your generosity in the past and in the future is changing the world.
Happy holidays & happy new year!