January 2024 Newsletter: Inspiring Updates + Hopeful Stories
An amazing thing has happened. We put out a memo in December that has already inspired dozens of donors to make their biggest political investments ever, including five donors – completely unexpected and unprompted – who have worked with us to make $1 million donations. Wow.
The original memo was super-long. So yesterday we published a shorter, updated version in Blue Tent, the premier progressive political donor publication. We’d love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to reply to this email – yes, we actually read them! :) And if you feel moved, please share – all we need is a few hundred more people to read it and get similarly inspired.
This may sound audacious, but sharing this memo may be the #1 thing any of us can do to significantly improve our chances this fall.
I’m not kidding.
In this Newsletter:
- Bat Signal 2: The short version – published in Blue Tent!
- You Are Invited: March 6th National Briefing
- Donor Spotlight: “I’m 84 years old and this is the most important election”
- Stories from the States: Wisconsin Win, Florida Flip, Santos Special, more
- State of the Race: 2016 All Over Again? (It’s up to us)
- Strategy to Win: How we can turn out every last vote
- How to Do More Than Donate: The best use of your volunteer time in 2024
Let’s do this!
Billy Wimsatt, MVP Executive Director
(On behalf of the fired-up, ready-to-go MVP team)
FINALLY… THE SHORT VERSION
Have you read MVP’s new memo on 2024? It has inspired dozens of donors to make their biggest donations ever. By popular demand, we published a shorter version in Blue Tent. Please read and share!
YOU ARE INVITED
March 6, 2024 @ 2-3pm ET • 1-2pm MT • 12-1pm CT • 11am-12pm PT
On March 5, Trump is likely to sweep the “Super Tuesday” GOP primaries. (It’s not going to be pretty!) Join us the next day to hear MVP’s plan to defeat him — and elect a bold, Democratic Congress.
- State of Play: Urgent threats + glimmers of hope
- Strategy to Win: Path to a Blue Wave in November
- “Elephant(s) in the Room”: Burning questions like:
— What do we do about Biden’s bad polling?
— How do we use abortion rights to galvanize voters?
— How do we make sure youth + voters of color turn out to vote?
DONOR SPOTLIGHT: JANE MANSBRIDGE
MVP has been urging donors to give early so we can win in November, and donors have been stepping up — in many cases making their biggest investments ever.
Among them is Jane Mansbridge, Charles F. Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values, Emerita at the Harvard Kennedy School.
To say Jane is an accomplished political scientist would be putting it lightly. She is the author of two award-winning books; she has served as President of the American Political Science Association (APSA); and she has three academic awards named after her.
We asked Jane to share a few words about her choice to frontload her 2024 political giving to MVP. Here is what she said:
This is the most important election in my lifetime, and I’m 84 years old.
The evidence from both social science and my own experience is pretty clear: much of what is spent on campaigns, particularly at the last moment, is a waste of money.
Getting out the vote comes from pre-existing relationships. You have to start early to make those connections. And you need to give early, to start early.
So, I calculated the amount my husband and I gave to all the candidates in the last presidential election, then took 3/4 of that and gave it to MVP.
I kept a quarter of it, because you don’t know what’s going to happen at the last moment in specific races that may make you want to give even more then. But I know that by giving to MVP early, I’m going to make a bigger difference in November 2024 than any other way.
We feel honored to count Jane among the tens of thousands of MVP donors who make this work possible. We hope you join her in giving early, when our local partners are building the critical capacity to get the job done in November.
STORIES FROM THE STATES
Our local partners are sending us their 2024 plans in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for many more stories ahead. For now, a few celebrations and shout-outs:
Our Wisconsin partners including Black Leaders Organizing Communities (BLOC), Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT), and Citizen Action of Wisconsin celebrated a huge victory when the state Supreme Court (which our partners helped flip in early 2023) tossed out the GOP’s horribly gerrymandered legislative maps.
With new maps, Wisconsin could conceivably elect Democratic majorities in both legislative chambers, joining Michigan and Minnesota in a new Midwest triad of purple-state progressive governance. (UPDATE: Republicans are attempting a last-ditch effort to pass their own maps, though it appears unlikely to succeed.)
In other Wisconsin news, Power to the Polls and other MVP partners also just won a push for a new early voting site in Milwaukee — a city whose 183,045-vote margin gave Biden more than 8x the votes needed to flip the state in 2020.
Our Florida partners including Florida Rising and Poder Latinx just helped Democrat Tom Keen flip a Republican state House seat — in a district that Ron DeSantis won in 2022 by 13 points.
As Florida Rising put it: “When we organize, we WIN!”
In Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court just overturned a state ban on publicly-funded abortions, ruling that the right to reproductive autonomy — including the right to an abortion — is fundamental.
This is an enormous victory for reproductive, economic, gender, and racial justice. Pennsylvania has a worse than average maternal mortality rate, and Black women are over three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women.
This win was only possible thanks to the Democratic majority on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, established in 2015 and defended over years of organizing. Most recently in 2023, dozens of MVP partners helped secure Democrats’ 5-2 majority — which will be crucial in 2025, when three Democratic justices are up for re-election.
In New York, MVP partner Make the Road Action is gearing up for a February 13 special election in which we have a chance to flip the U.S. House seat formerly held by GOP Rep. George Santos, who was expelled from Congress in December.
Republicans hold a mere six-seat majority in the House. Every single race we win will bring us closer to Democratic control — and with it, the chance to enact progressive legislation at a scale and scope not seen in decades.
Michigan is set to become the first state to automatically restore voting rights to citizens returning from prison. This December victory capped off the first year of the state’s progressive trifecta, secured in 2022 with the help of MVP partners.
This November, Michigan will be more important than ever to winning the Presidency and U.S. Senate — and wins like these will help local organizers make the case to disaffected voters that Democrats are worth keeping in office.
In North Carolina, local partner Down Home North Carolina recently announced thirteen of its members have now filed to run for local office in 2024!
Research suggests that when we invest in local races, we create a “reverse coattails effect,” in which the very act of contesting down-ballot elections can increase vote share at the top of the ticket.
In other words: Down Home NC’s approach of recruiting, training, and supporting local candidates will help swing North Carolina blue in the Presidential race, as well as defend the Governorship and break the GOP’s legislative supermajority.
In Arizona, Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA) helped secure $75 million in affordable housing support, after years of organizing, advocacy, and behind-the-scenes work with decision-makers.
This funding will bring direct relief to help combat Arizona’s affordable housing crisis, in the form of:
- Cash assistance for those facing eviction,
- Housing counseling and legal services,
- Tribal housing assistance,
- Homebuying assistance, and more.
This $75 million affordable housing victory is just one of many examples of MVP partners engaging in the critical year-round work of “co-governance”.
Often, people think of the role of grassroots groups as being limited to organizing their communities and getting out the vote. But what happens after Election Day?
In the co-governance approach, grassroots groups work in close relationship with government allies to shape key policy decisions, ground them in lived realities, and in essence, help allied officials to govern from a place of mutual respect.
Elsewhere in Phoenix, MVP partner Poder Latinx recently teamed up with Univision to register hundreds of new voters.
Nicknamed “the Battleground of Battlegrounds,” Arizona is one of MVP’s highest-priority states, with opportunities to win the Presidency, U.S. Senate, and several competitive U.S. House Seats; flip control of the state legislature; and win a ballot initiative to enshrine abortion rights in the state’s constitution.
In 2020, Latine voters in Arizona supported Biden over Trump by a 27-point margin. In 2024, Latine voters will make up 18% of the Arizona electorate — including 150,000 newly-eligible young voters. In a state that could literally decide the course of history this November, MVP partners’ voter organizing work could not be more impactful.
In Georgia, MVP partner Georgia Youth Justice Coalition is hitting the ground running for the 2024 legislative session, organizing around the most salient issues to young voters, including public school funding, LGBTQ rights, gun safety, climate justice, and more.
Read their short 2023 year-end review and get inspired. This kind of year-round organizing is how we win elections while building lasting power for years to come.
STATE OF THE RACE
Lukewarm enthusiasm on the Democratic side. A seemingly unstoppable Trump nomination. Is this 2016 all over again?
Here is MVP’s analysis in a nutshell:
Ignore the polls. Ignore the pundits. The 2024 elections are in our hands.
Thanks to the Electoral College and record levels of partisan polarization, just a few thousand votes in a few states will likely separate the Nightmare Scenario (a Trump/MAGA takeover) from the Amazing Scenario: A Democratic White House and Congress with the votes to enact the most progressive legislation in decades.
Aside from likely razor-thin margins, 2024 is not the same as 2016. We have won not one, not two, but three elections (counting November 2023) since 2020. We are facing very real challenges this year — but we are also bringing momentum to those challenges.
In these next crucial months, we’re going to be hearing a lot of familiar fear-mongering, over-confident prognosticating, and more “urgent appeals” to panic-donate and rage-donate than we’ll be able to count.
Our advice? Just tune it out. All of it.
There’s no room for despair OR complacency this year — only deliberate, strategic action.
There’s a path forward, and it’s simple:
- Target the battlegrounds.
- Invest in local organizing. (MVP makes it easy.)
- Do it now, not months from now.
Here are a few bite-sized reads:
- Biden’s Bad Polling: “Naptime Over” vs. “Game Over”
- The Gap Is the Ground Game: Why Local Organizing is Our Best Hope
- We Really Can Have Nice Things: What We’re Fighting *For* in 2024
For MVP’s full analysis, read our new election memo.
STRATEGY TO WIN
How do we make sure our side votes in large enough numbers to deliver a resounding victory against Trump and MAGA?
Relatedly: How do we overcome voters’ ambivalence or frustration and anger with President Biden — especially among young people and voters of color?
TV ads might motivate “high-propensity” Democratic voters — but not disaffected, hard-to-reach voters.
This is why it’s so important to invest in local organizations that deploy trusted messengers to listen to them and engage them as human beings.
When you read MVP’s election strategy, it just makes sense. For donors, we offer it as a shield against the political storm coming our way this year.
Check out MVP’s 2024 Plan to see:
- The states we are targeting.
- The local groups we are investing in.
- The voters we are organizing.
- The approach we are taking to meeting voters where they are.
- A newly-released overview of our 12-month Field Plan, which previews the four phases of our partners’ work on the ground throughout the year.
HOW TO DO MORE THAN DONATE
Have you been starting to think about where to volunteer your time and energy to make a difference in the 2024 elections?
If so, consider this your invitation to join Team MVP!
Here’s the idea:
- Local trusted messengers are our best shot at mobilizing swing state voters — much more so than out-of-state strangers cold-calling them or parachuting in to knock on their door.
- As donors, the single best use of our time is to rally our networks to help fund the frontline organizers.
- No matter where you are, you are connected to so much untapped power in your network.
You don’t have to “convince” people to donate — you just get to share why you support MVP.
People are yearning for hope, and for an effective way to channel their resources. Like you, they want to wake up the morning after the election and know they did everything they could.
Imagine the sense of relief, if only they knew there was a strategic one-stop shop for their political giving.
MVP supporters have reached thousands of new donors and raised millions of dollars for swing-state organizers. Just this past month, MVP volunteers from the Bay Area (where our Volunteer Hub organizer, Margit Birge, was just quoted in the SF Chronicle!) to Chicago, Vermont, and Massachusetts have helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars — and we’re just getting started.
Let us know how you want to be involved! You can learn more about hosting your own MVP house party or Zoom salon. Or simply share this message and begin a conversation… Remember, you don’t have to do this alone! Your friends and family may even thank you.
Let us know – we would be thrilled to hear from you!
With gratitude and hope,
Billy (and the whole MVP team)