Policy Wins: Good news out of Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania
Credit: Equality Michigan Action Network
Michigan’s House of Representatives just voted to:
- Protect the LGBTQ+ community from violence by banning the bogus so-called “panic defense” — a legal strategy allowing a defendant to justify violence based on their victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Repeal a GOP-supported ban on paid rides to polls, thereby opening up more options for voters with mobility issues to cast their ballot. The ban had meant that groups or individuals can face a misdemeanor for paying for voters’ transportation to their precincts.
Every single Democrat voted for these bills.
Every single Republican voted against them.
These bills have all but guaranteed safe passage, only because Michigan has a “Democratic trifecta” in which Democrats control the executive and legislative branches.
MVP local partners organized for years to finally win Michigan’s Democratic trifecta in 2022, by only 2,770 votes across four races — three House, one Senate.
Since 2019, MVP has helped moved over $3.8 million in partisan funds to 41 groups in Michigan.
The bigger picture:
Since the start of the 2023 legislative season, Michigan Democrats have been working furiously to pass a bold, progressive agenda to deliver concrete improvements in the daily lives of Michiganders.
So far in this year alone, Democrats have passed new laws repealing an abortion ban and anti-union legislation, as well as instituting clean energy expansion, gun protection, LGBTQ+ rights, a Working Families Tax Credit, and more.
As a result of all this, Michigan has become a blueprint for progressive governance, and a model for what is possible if we build long-lasting, grassroots, progressive state power everywhere.
Watch Jamila Martin, MVP’s Michigan State Advisor, talk about how local partners have organized toward this trifecta for years, and are now using a bold legislative agenda as part of their 2024 strategy to grow state legislative majorities, secure the state’s 15 crucial Presidential Electoral Votes, and win the open U.S. Senate seat:
In an example of a more local win that will bring tangible improvement to people’s lives, MVP partner Down Home North Carolina just successfully pushed the Board of Commissioners in Watauga County to approve an $80,000 budget amendment to a nonprofit (W.A.M.Y Community Action) providing services to address the county’s housing crisis.
After months of lobbying, door-to-door canvassing, and earned media, Down Home NC drove the Commission to organize a series of meetings specifically dedicated to the housing crisis, after which they increased W.A.M.Y.’s budget allotment sixteen-fold, from $5,000 to $80,000.
Since 2019, MVP has helped move $4.7 million in partisan funds to 37 grassroots organizations in North Carolina, including Down Home NC.
The bigger picture:
This victory may seem small, but it’s precisely this hyper-local organizing that will lead to long-term power-building, state-level political transformation, and federal-level electoral breakthroughs.
As Down Home NC points out:
“80 out of 100 North Carolina counties are rural, and another 12 are semi-rural or “countrypolitan.” If we want to win working class, people-powered victories in North Carolina, than we can’t leave rural communities behind. We need rural people to achieve statewide wins.”
In 2020, Trump won North Carolina’s 15 electors by 74,481 votes (less than half of the 173,000-vote margin in 2016). With early investment, our partners can build the organizing infrastructure needed to flip that margin in 2024. It’s going to be local, rural organizing, in large part, that will help make it happen, from local advocacy to candidate endorsement to recruiting community leaders to run for office.
Two More Victories!
For an extra dose of clear-eyed hope, here are two more victories in which MVP’s local partners did not play a direct role, but which are nevertheless absolutely worth celebrating:
In Georgia, a federal judge just struck down the GOP’s gerrymandered maps, ordering the creation of a new majority-Black U.S. House district and seven new majority-Black state legislative districts before the 2024 elections.
MVP partners were not directly plaintiffs, but they have been and continue to be on the forefront of the movement to expand voting rights and reforms.
From a political perspective, this is a big deal.
- At the federal level, where we we lost the U.S. House in 2022 by just 6,675 votes across five seats, this additional majority-Black district puts us that much closer to reclaiming the majority.
- At the state level, MVP partners helped cut the GOP’s majority by 32% in Georgia’s House of Representatives, from 28 to 19 seats out of 180 total. With these seven new majority-Black state legislative districts, we are that much closer to turning Georgia’s state house blue between 2028 and 2034. If we can do that, and also win the Governorship in 2026, we’ll be able to draw more fair legislative and Congressional maps in 2031, in time for the 2032 elections.
MVP partners alone can’t take full credit for now-Governor Shapiro’s landslide victory in 2022, but they turned out the vote for him in full force as part of their multi-year effort to turn this purple state blue, and they helped flip the State House by just one seat (won by 63 votes) that same year.
Why this matters electorally:
- In 2020, Biden won Pennsylvania’s 20 electors by roughly 80,000 votes – a 0.17% margin. Pennsylvania youth voted for Biden by a 27-point margin, a net advantage of over 150,000 votes.
- In 2024, the state is seen as one of the top 4 Presidential toss-ups, as well as one of the more competitive Senate races.
- According to the Center for Election Innovation and Research, AVR is one of the most efficient ways to increase new youth voter registration.
- If youth voters continue to prefer Democrats in 2024 by similar margins, AVR could play an enormous role in swinging both the Presidential and U.S. Senate races.