What the Movement Won in 2020

The 2020 election was a game-changing victory, giving Democrats a narrow trifecta to pass legislation and appoint judges, but it was also a near-death experience. We defeated Trump by a hair. While the Biden-Harris ticket won the popular vote by more than 6 million votes, we won the electoral college by less than 43,000 votes across three states: Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin. That’s an even narrower margin than the 77,000 votes Trump won by in 2016.

MVP’s local grassroots partners won this election. Our partners in Arizona alone made more than 30 million voter contact attempts. Biden’s margin of victory in Arizona was 10,457 votes. Our partners in Georgia and Wisconsin contacted voters on a comparable scale, with winning margins of 12,670 and 20,565 respectively. Make no mistake — without MVP’s partners in these three states, Trump would be president for the next four years. And without the extraordinary double Senate win in Georgia thanks to the heroic work of Black organizers, governing would be next to impossible.

There is nothing small about these achievements. We are eternally grateful to MVP’s local partners, who delivered more than the margin of victory. And we should all be proud of ourselves for helping. For the rest of our lives. We saved our country.

On the other hand, we almost lost. We underperformed down ballot. And we have a tough road ahead in 2022 and 2024, more than most people realize. But despite the painful losses, we had so many local victories worth celebrating. On this page, you can find some of our favorite highlights, photos, videos, and takeways from our grassroots partners.

But first, some stats about our work:

MVP by the Numbers

  • MVP worked with 41,000+ donors in the 2019-2020 cycle to move more than $100 million, surpassing our initial goal 3 times over!

  • We supported 636 local groups across 42 states. Dozens of these organizations were new or had never done vote work before.

  • We supported 181 partners with 467 capacity-building requests. We connected groups with the best digital organizing tools for their work and supported groups with deeper coaching and tailored trainings.

  • We hosted 29 trainings attended by representatives from 802 groups, on topics from text-message organizing to vote-by-mail. We even sponsored a tech tools help desk.

  • We organized over 500 fundraising events in person and online! Huge thanks to our 1000+ co-hosts, our seven local volunteer teams around the country, and our 15 fundraising partner organizations.

  • Together, our local partners reached out to tens of millions of voters — mostly young voters and communities of color facing voter suppression.

Stories from the States

Arizona

Our partners in Arizona made more than 30 million voter contacts (1.6 million doors, 20 million calls, and 7 million texts yielding 1.2 million commitments on the C4 side alone). In addition to flipping the Presidential race by 10,457 votes, and helping flip a Senate race, they also flipped a State House and a State Senate seat, coming three seats shy of flipping both chambers! Arizona also elected the first Latina to win a statewide office, who will now be serving on the AZ Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities including fossil fuels and renewable energy.

We supported our partners to expand beyond their core Latinx voting base in Maricopa County. MVP helped seed several new organizations led by Black, Native, APIA, and rural organizers across the state and helped drive these communities to record turnout. The Navajo Nation saw a voter turnout increase of 25%, even as they were devastated by COVID. Their work has made Arizona one of our most amazing success stories.

Winning Arizona in 2020 was a battle more than a decade in the making. MVP is going to double down on this crucial sunbelt battleground, which will feature a competitive Governor’s race and a Senate rematch in 2022.

Group Highlight

Diné C.A.R.E. Action

In this short video, organizers with Diné C.A.R.E. Action discuss their organizing efforts in the Navajo community during the lead-up to the election.

Watch a longer video profiling several 2020 MVP partners in Arizona on Youtube.

Georgia

Organizers in Georgia are national heroes. Not just for flipping their state by 12,670 votes, a 5-point shift from 2016. They are heroes for pivoting immediately from post-election exhaustion, to the Senate double runoff on January 5th, and winning again an historic victory, electing a Black pastor and a young Jewish journalist to flip control of the US Senate, giving Democrats a trifecta governing majority. They delivered big time.

Watch highlights from the webinar MVP hosted in the afermath of the Georgia Senate runoff victories, featuring organizer-leaders from many of the Georgia groups that made it happen:

In addition to the historic wins on the Presidential and Senate level, Georgia partners also flipped two Sheriff races in large suburban counties (Cobb and Gwynett), District Attorney races in Cobb, and elected a progressive Latina DA in Athens (Clark and Oconee counties). They also won the only competitive House seat to flip to Democrats this year in the entire country (GA-7).

We are expecting a huge Governor’s race and a Senate rematch in 2022. In the meantime, our Georgia partners are preparing to fight a raft of legislation attacking voting rights and access for Georgians of color, particularly around vote by mail and redistricting.

Group Highlight

SONG Power

SONG Power's transformational campaigning program engaged over 22,000 residents to help win both Senate seats in 2021.

Read more

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania was expected to be the tipping point state, but it overperformed. Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes dragged Joe Biden over the finish line, and our 39 partners helped him win the state by over 81k votes (a 125k vote swing from 2016 when Trump won PA with a 44k vote margin).

MVP seeded a major new Vote Today PA early voting project in Pennsylvania and printed close to 40k Vote Today PA hoodies, which were everywhere during the early vote period in Philly and other cities, to help drive a massive early voting effort in a state that had never done early voting before. It was a huge success.

Thanks to MVP’s Defend the Election Fund, we were able to immediately pivot from get-out-the-vote work on Election Day to defending the vote count, as we rallied and danced in the street to make sure that Trump’s legal team didn’t dominate the post-election narrative with fake news about a stolen election. Instead, a grassroots two-day dance party organized in less than 12 hours succeeded in shifting the narrative and spirit around the fight to protect the vote in 2020.

Check out this beautiful short film celebrating election week in Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania groups also had aspirations to flip the 10th Congressional District in central PA, along with flipping state legislative seats, but, unfortunately, those efforts came up short. MVP significantly grew the progressive ecosystem in Pennsylvania - which which will feature critically in 2022, when PA has a Governor’s race and a Top 3 Senate pick up opportunity.

Group Highlight

PA Working Families Party

PAWFP set out to organize 1,000 activists and turn out 100,000 low-propensity voters in 2020 — and they did it!

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Wisconsin

MVP bet big and early on Wisconsin — in the end, it came down to just 20,682 votes. When we began investing in Wisconsin, local infrastructure had been decimated from years of underfunding.

MVP invested in new organizations and innovative ideas like BLOC (Black Leaders Organizing for Communities) and their silent canvasses, Leaders Igniting Transformation Action Fund (LIT AF) cultural organizing in high schools and colleges, and Voces de la Frontera Action leaning into deep community relationships to run their relational Voceros program. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to these groups and the organizers who adapted in real time to run the first major pandemic election in April and then delivered the “W” in Wisconsin just as the state was peaking as a COVID hot spot in the fall.

Across Wisconsin, MVP invested in new leaders. Shawnu Ksicisnki at Progress North created a base-building organization in Wisconsin’s far northwest counties to amplify the needs of rural and Native communities. Tanya McLean in Kenosha organized with a team of local activists to do a community cleanup, celebration, and voter registration event in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting, creating a counter narrative when Trump came to town to sow division and hate. Paul Vang with HAWA, a Hmong organization, turned mutual aid food drives serving immigrant and refugee communities into weekly voter education, registration, and mobilization events. Collectively, our 45 local partners contacted voters in 72 counties, making over 9 million attempts and reaching over 2 million voters, in addition to robust mail, digital, and ad programs. Grassroots groups collectively blocked a GOP supermajority in the radically gerrymandered State Legislature.

In 2021, MVP partners on the ground will be focusing on the state budget and redistricting now that they have protected Governor Evers’ veto power against the Republican controlled State Assembly and State Senate. Wisconsin will have a contested Governors race in 2022, plus a Top 3 Senate pick-up opportunity.

Group Highlight

Leaders Igniting Transformation Action Fund

LIT AF engaged young people at every level in 2020 to build a base of over 1,000 organizer-leaders across Milwaukee and all of Wisconsin.

Read more

Florida

Our losses in Florida were devastating — there’s no sugar coating it. While our local partners ran their biggest vote operation ever, the Florida Republican Party, which is hands-down the strongest in the country, crushed the Florida Democratic Party, one of the most dysfunctional in the country.

Our 8 partners in the Florida For All coalition ran the largest independent electoral campaign in Florida history, making 25.6 million attempts to contact voters through door knocks, phone calls, and texts to a universe of 3.8 million infrequent voters of color in 19 counties. They helped win Amendment 2 to raise the minimum wage to $15, a squeaker with 61% support in a state with a 60% threshold for ballot measures. Of the candidates Florida for All endorsed, 94 won, including progressive champion Daniella Levine Cava, the first woman mayor of Miami-Dade County. Victories include progressive Black State Attorneys Monique Worrell in Orange and Osceola counties (Orlando) and Harold Pryor in Broward County, as well as Shevrin Jones, who became the first openly gay Black State Senator. Black Representatives Angie Nixon, Omari Hardy, and Michele Rayner all won as progressive challengers and will bring their long histories of activism to the state legislature. Nancy Metayer, a champion on climate issues and former organizer with MVP partner New Florida Majority, won a commissioner seat in Coral Springs.

The most meaningful change after the passage of Amendment 4 is the first wave of Florida’s returning citizens registering and casting ballots. Florida Rights Restoration Coalition ran a huge voter engagement campaign in the face of enormous opposition by Florida’s elected leadership and courts. They registered over 65k people to vote, paid off fines for over 40k returning citizens so they could be eligible to vote, knocked 1.2 million doors in communities heavily impacted by mass incarceration, made over 15 million calls and texts, hosted coordinated marches to the polls in 29 cities across Florida on the first weekend of early voting, and ran a GOTV bus tour across every corner of Florida. The struggle continues to restore the rights of hundreds of thousands of new voters.

Group Highlight

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition

FRRC’s Free the Vote Campaign helped tens of thousands of people vote for the first time.

Read more

Michigan

Michigan came through like a champ this election, shifting from a heartbreaking 10K vote loss in 2016 to winning by over 150k this year. Our Michigan partners reached out to more than 8.3 million voters and made more than 800k positive contacts on the C4/PAC side alone. Our partners held a critical Senate seat against a tough challenger, put a 4-3 progressive majority in the State Supreme Court, and elected progressive prosecutors in two of the largest counties in the state (Washtenaw and Oakland).

Further down ballot, unfortunately, we were not able to make the gains in the State House that we had hoped, flipping two districts while losing two others. But most exciting is that our 36 grantees were part of an historic electoral engagement that we believe will start to shift politics in Michigan for a generation. Buoyed by expanded democratic access from a 2018 ballot initiative, groups talked to hundreds of thousands of voters who had become understandably disillusioned with electoral politics, helping them find meaning in the ballot and building capacity to exercise power at the polls. Michigan organizers also effectively countered an unprecedented campaign to deny the election results in Wayne county.

Michigan will hold crucial elections for Governor, Secretary of State, and state legislative races - after what we hope will be a fairer redistricting in 2022.

Texas

Our 46 Texas grassroots partners contacted 2.8 million voters in 16 counties. We narrowed the margin in Texas from 9% in 2016 to 6% in 2020, protected 2 congressional seats that flipped in the midterms, and defended more than 10 Texas State House seats. A Texas State Board of Education seat flipped. Commissioner-elect Rebecca Clay-Flores will be the first woman of color county commissioner in Bexar County (San Antonio).

Texas added a reform prosecutor in Harris County (Houston) Christian Menefee, a progressive reformer and its youngest and first Black County Attorney, bringing the statewide total to five progressive District Attorneys (Nueces, Travis, Ft. Bend, Dallas, Bexar).

Harris County also elected nine new judges. Partners played a key role in passing Austin’s own local Green New Deal — Proposition A, which will build equitable mass transit with Better Builder standards. And, of course, there was a record turnout of young people. Over 1 million young Texans turned out, and over 750K voted early — a 600% early vote increase from 2016, with 60% of young people under 30 voting for Biden. The future looks bright in Texas.

North Carolina

While we didn’t defeat Trump in North Carolina, we did narrow the margin of victory from 173k (3.7%) votes in 2016 to just 75k (1.3%) in 2020, so we’re definitely poised to flip in 2024.

Our 40 NC partners contacted over 700k voters and sent volunteers to provide voter encouragement and protection at the polls in 55 of NC’s 100 counties. Their work helped flip 3 state legislative seats and won several amazing local victories.

Most exciting was the election of Ricky Hurtado, a working-class Latino from Alamance County, by less than 500 votes. Alamance County is home to one of the most racist sheriffs in America, and Hurtado will be the only Latino in the State House.

In Guilford County, our partners helped flip the county commission from 5-4 Republican to 7-2 Democrat and elected strong progressives, one by only 72 votes.

NC also retained Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, who has proven himself willing to veto the most egregiously backward legislation from the right-wing General Assembly majority. North Carolina is one of the Top 3 Senate flip opportunities in 2022.

Minnesota

Minnesota foiled Donald Trump’s plan to win the state through race-baiting attacks on the Twin Cities and Rep. Ilhan Omar. By using race-class narrative messaging and turning out tens of thousands of first time voters, Democrats increased their margin from 1.5% in 2016 to 7.2% in 2020. Minnesota led the nation with a record-breaking 80% turnout of all eligible voters. Particularly notable was a big surge in Native turnout propelled by MVP-supported Rock the Vote Native Style.

Democrats picked up three hard-fought State Senate seats. Increased voter turnout from Muslim and Latinx voters activated by Faith in Minnesota and Unidos MN made the difference in races with slim margins in both SD14 and SD56. But we lost two rural seats, one because of a GOP-supported dirty trick to run “Marijuana Party” candidates as spoilers. This left Democrats one seat shy of a Blue Trifecta. Sadly, post-election, things only got worse. Two Iron Range Democrats flipped, creating an Independent caucus and leaving the State Senate with a 35/32/2 split.

A core divide in the state and within the Democratic party is the future of fossil fuels. Immediately following the election, Democratic Governor Tim Walz caved to fossil fuel interests and greenlit Enbridge’s Line 3, a Keystone XL-sized tar sands “climate bomb” pipeline. If completed, the Pipeline will generate more carbon than all of Minnesota’s current economy. Construction though Native treaty lands in the midst of spiking COVID numbers began immediately and is being met with fierce resistance, including tree-sits, lockdowns of equipment, prayer circles, and Native encampments across a 300-mile Pipeline pathway. Our partners Honor the Earth, MN350, and Indigenous Environmental Network held this Pipeline off in the courts for seven years. Now they are on the frontline. This fight is likely to be a major flashpoint in Biden’s first 100 days.

New Hampshire

Of all the battleground states, New Hampshire had the biggest Democratic gain in the presidential race from 2016 to 2020 — a 7-point swing from a 2,736-vote win for Clinton to a 59,267-vote (7.4%) win for Biden. Thanks to wins by Senator Jeanne Shaheen and both Democratic members of Congress, NH will have an all-Democratic congressional delegation for three consecutive cycles for the first time in 150 years.

Unfortunately, Democrats also narrowly lost control of both the state House and Senate, with Senate control coming down to a few races decided by a few hundred votes, and popular Republican Governor Chris Sununu was easily reelected, giving the NH GOP trifecta control over state government. With Sununu likely to challenge Senator Maggie Hassan, NH will be a Senate battleground in 2022.

Exciting down-ballot victories include MVP partner Rights and Democracy member and first-time Latina candidate Maria Perez winning her state representative race by 142 votes and Cassandra Levesque, a 21-year-old progressive champion, winning her state rep race by 144 votes, thanks in large part to GOTV efforts by New Hampshire Youth Movement.

Maine

In the presidential election, Maine saw a big swing to the left, from a narrow 3% Clinton victory to a 9.1% Biden victory. However, GOP Senator Susan Collins easily won reelection, reaffirming Maine’s strong “independent” streak. The state’s second congressional district also reaffirmed its status as a battleground. Its single electoral vote again went to Trump, though this year by a smaller 7.4% margin compared to 10.2% in 2016. However, Democrat Representative Jared Golden, who was elected in 2018, won reelection handily and Democrats held on to trifecta control of state government.

The most exciting down ballot victory was Chloe Maxmin, a 28-year-old climate justice activist and co-founder of MVP’s emerging partner JustME for JustUS. Maxmin defeated the State Senate minority leader, a longtime Republican senator in a traditionally conservative district.

In 2020, MVP partners — led by anchor partner Maine People’s Alliance — made over 350K calls, sent close to 300K texts, knocked on over 20K doors, and held thousands of relational outreach conversations. MVP also helped nine emerging organizations either take on election work for the first time or take their fledgling election efforts to a new level. Stay tuned in 2026 for the rematch over Susan Collins’ Senate seat.

Nebraska

We’re proud to have been the only major national investor in local organizing in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, which yielded one electoral vote for Biden! They also won on an important economic justice issue, passing an anti-predatory lending initiative with 83% of the vote. This is the largest ballot initiative margin in recent Nebraska history. MVP supported 8 local partners who collectively contacted more than 150k voters of color. These big wins in Omaha show what’s possible, even in a traditionally red state. We are committed to shifting Omaha (and NE-2) long-term.

Looking Ahead

Having analyzed the landscape, we anticipate the next two election cycles will be tougher than most people seem to realize. The House is an uphill battle for the next decade and we’re likely to lose about five seats with reapportionment and redistricting alone. That’s not even factoring in the likely headwinds of the 2022 midterms. The President’s party has lost House seats in 37 of the past 40 midterms, losing 33 seats on average. The Senate map is even worse — by far our biggest problem. It will be hard for Democrats to even hold the 50 seats we have for the next decade and 2021 gerrymandering will be almost as bad as before. The Presidential race and the electoral college in 2024 are likely to be tough. And if the 2022 midterms wipe away Democratic Governors and Secretaries of State in key swing states, it will leave us exposed to Republican trifectas controlling elections in advance of 2024 — a terrifying prospect. It looks the GOP is going to run a permanent smear campaign for the next four years and use every dirty trick possible to get revenge in 2022 and 2024. In short, we have our work cut out for us.

MVP is hitting the ground running in 2021. We are making four-year commitments to invest big and early in all of the critical 2022 and 2024 battlegrounds — House, Senate, Presidential, and strategic down ballot races. We have to assume that Trump and the other side are going to upgrade their tactics. MVP is already making early investments to strengthen our local grassroots partners for the battles to come, from South Florida to South Texas, from North Philly to Northern Wisconsin, from East Detroit to Eastern North Carolina, from Orange County to the Navajo Nation.

There’s a lot of analysis and evaluation still to do on the 2020 election. But we do know this — when we invest early and deeply and holistically enough in community-led power building, we can move the needle over time. MVP talent scouts emerging local partners who know their communities. And we support them to grow and succeed against all odds. MVP’s model works. Thank you so much for being our partner in this work. We are doubling down and going even bigger over the next four years. Please think big and let us know how you want to be involved!