It’s Not An “Off” Year: 2019 Is The Year For Progressive Wins

By Manny Rivera and Sommer Yesenofski

Happy New Year! As the confetti settles and the champagne buzz fades, RALLY is gearing up for 2019 and reminding our progressive allies that this is our year.

We know what you’re thinking — why 2019? Wasn’t 2018 our moment to shine? Shouldn’t we save our energy for 2020?

Nope. Like many “off” years where major elections at the state and federal level aren’t yet in full swing — this is the year where stuff gets done. Like every other New Years, we are starting off 2019 with a healthy list of resolutions (goals) for what we want to see accomplished. But what’s different this year we have the energy, the attention, the champions and the urgency to accomplish our progressive resolutions. And maybe start working out regularly, too…😉

Here’s why progressives can’t sleep in 2019:

…Because public, progressive engagement is at an all-time high after the 2018 midterm elections. Let’s keep it that way.

After voters were engaged, organized and mobilized in this pivotal election year, midterm voter turnout hit a 50-year high in 2018. The progressive movement accomplished a Blue Wave that took over the House, flipped governorships and flipped statehouses by building out a massive ground game. People took action — they marched, they volunteered, they got out the vote — and it worked. Individuals felt and were powerful in 2018. 2019 is the year to capitalize on that work and keep our lists, our communities and our audiences active. Let’s drive action even when there isn’t an election (yet).

Because new leaders are looking to prove themselves. Let’s make them earn their stripes.

Our Blue Wave gave us another tool for 2019: progressive champions. Thanks to that high voter turnout, we’ve elected a more progressive class of elected leaders, including more women of color. It’s time to let these new elected leaders earn our votes by championing and implementing smart progressive policy. Plus, in off-years, legislative sessions are long. Electeds aren’t campaigning — they are working (Even the Texas legislature showed up this year). Let’s drive some exciting new policy for them to vote on.

Because we aren’t consumed by 2020 elections — yet.

Unless your last name is Warren, Biden, Booker or Harris, don’t save your energy for 2020. By the end of 2019, everyone’s attention — media, policymakers, and the public included — will be on the 2020 elections. As an off-election year, 2019 is the time to bring home a win while folks aren’t distracted by a million campaign mailers, television ads, and election rhetoric. And what will be the major issues of the 2020 election? Certainly, the economy, immigration and human rights will rise to the top. But what defines those issues and what the candidates will be forced to talk about will be determined by what we accomplish in 2019. This is the year to lay the groundwork, build your machine, test your messaging and push out new ideas.

Don’t let hindsight be 2020. Let’s get to work and win in 2019 — and set the stage for an even more progressive wave to follow.

RALLY is an issue-driven communications firm that takes on sticky political and social problems and finds ways to push them forward.