Spotlight on: Pennsylvania—How Swing Left + Flippable are teaming up to maximize your impact

When we founded Swing Left and Flippable in the wake of the 2016 election, we had no idea just how powerful the resistance movement would become.

Sixteen months later, we’re still in awe of everything that grassroots activism has accomplished so far — like successfully flipping key seats, pooling funding for candidates on an unprecedented scale, and mobilizing a progressive ground force. And the blue wave continues to swell, as we move closer to the midterms in November.

One of the most common questions we get is: I want to get involved — but I’m confused by all of the organizations and races out there. How do I navigate this new landscape and make the most impact possible?

Both Swing Left and Flippable are in the business of making political involvement easier, more engaging, and higher impact. In total, we’ve raised nearly $4 million dollars for candidates running for state and federal office in the most strategic districts across the country.

But think about how much more impact we could make by working together across organizations and communities.

That’s why we’re launching State Spotlight — a new email newsletter from Swing Left and Flippable. It’s for grassroots donors, fundraisers, and everyone else who wants to deepen their insight and maximize their impact. Starting today, we’re teaming up to help you simplify your decision-making and direct your dollars to the places and races that matter most.

Each month we’ll highlight two key races in one state — shining a light on the crucial elections where state and national politics intersect, and illuminating the role you can play in flipping key districts blue.

Read on for our first State Spotlight — focusing on Pennsylvania — to learn more about what you can do to help flip this state and win back the House.


Ethan & Catherine

Ethan Todras-Whitehill, Executive Director of Swing Left
Catherine Vaughan, CEO of Flippable

Why we’re partnering

Our organizations target different parts of the political system, but our work is interconnected:

  • At Flippable, we focus on state politics — because states write the rules of national elections. Believe it or not, your state leaders’ decisions can change the outcome of presidential & congressional races! Our community has already powered historic flips in Florida, Washington, and Virginia, setting us up for national victories this November and beyond.
  • At Swing Left, we’re working hard to win back the US House of Representatives. We’ve already raised more than $3M from over 47,000 donors, and we’re building the largest grassroots voter contact machine in the history of midterms. By focusing our efforts on 70 Swing Districts across the country, we can take back control of the House and put a check on Trump and the GOP agenda.

State politics have a direct impact on the makeup of Congress. That’s why collaboration between our organizations is so important. By investing in races up and down the ballot, you can amplify your impact on the whole political system. Our newsletters will make it easy for you get involved in the most important state & congressional races.

State Spotlight: Pennsylvania

With 20 Electoral College votes and 18 seats in Congress, Pennsylvania is a crucial swing state. And as Conor Lamb’s upset victory in Congressional District 18 proved, Pennsylvanians are hungry for smart, progressive leadership — even in the reddest of districts.

But the Keystone State is also home to a serious problem that undermines democracy and makes it harder for Dems to win.

Across the country, GOP state leaders have drawn unfair congressional districts intended to keep their party in power. This corrupt practice, known as gerrymandering, has given Republicans 16+ unearned seats in Congress.

That’s a huge chunk of the GOP’s 23-seat advantage in the House of Representatives! To make our democracy fairer for the long-term, we have to fight back against the GOP’s gerrymandering machine. And there’s nowhere better to start than Pennsylvania.

In 2011, Republicans in the Pennsylvania state legislature drew a new congressional map — and they changed the game in Pennsylvania for the next seven years. Their map “packed” Democratic voters into the fewest possible districts, making it much easier for Republicans to win. In the 2012 congressional elections, Pennsylvanians cast 83,000 more votes for Democrats than Republicans. Yet the GOP won 13 seats in Congress, and Democrats only won 5!

Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court called foul. The court not only threw out the old district lines — calling them “plainly and palpably unconstitutional” — but also drew a brand new map that’s fairer and much more competitive. Republicans are fighting hard against these changes, hoping to maintain their unfair advantage in Congress. Some Republican state legislators have even threatened to impeach the judges over this ruling. That’s how high the stakes are right now.

The good news is that the new maps are on the books, and Democrats may be able to pick up 5 more congressional seats in Pennsylvania this November as a result. Let’s seize our chance to elect Democrats at the state and national level. Together, we can protect democracy — and pave the way to a blue US Congress.

District Spotlight

Which seats do we need to focus on to win? We’re starting in Allentown!

The third largest city in Pennsylvania, Allentown is currently undergoing an urban transformation. Although this area votes blue in presidential elections, its state and congressional representatives are Republicans. Together, we can change that!

Pennsylvania’s new 7th Congressional District will be hotly contested. Republican Congressman Charlie Dent held onto this seat for 14 years. But now that he’s retiring and the district lines are shifting, Democrats have a real chance of winning. In fact, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in the newly redrawn PA-07 by 1.1%. Six Democrats have already filed to run, making this another crowded primary. We’re raising money for the eventual winner so we can make sure they hit the ground running in the general election.

Pennsylvania’s 16th State Senate District voted for Hillary by a margin of 5%, but it’s still represented by a Republican. Let’s elect an inspiring Democrat who will fight for free healthcare, fair wages, and reproductive rights! By flipping the Pennsylvania state legislature from red to blue, we can ensure that the state draws a fair congressional map for the next decade.

What you can do

We need all hands on deck. Whether you live in Pennsylvania, or you’re inspired to help from hundreds or thousands of miles away, you can pitch in:

  • Donate to eventual Democratic nominee in PA-07 via Swing Left
  • Donate to nominees in Pennsylvania and across the country via Flippable

And sign up for the State Spotlight newsletter to receive future breakdowns of the states and districts we’re working to flip.


Written by

Co-Founder & Executive Director of @swingleft. Dad, writer, teacher, newly minted activist.

Swing Left

We’re flipping the Senate, the White House and key state legislatures by empowering volunteers and donors everywhere to help win critical elections.

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