May 10, 2024

May 2024 Newsletter: How do we close the “Biden Enthusiasm Gap”?

This election is a doozy. To beat Trump and win a Democratic governing majority in November, the core challenge we have to address is what we call “The BEG” (Biden Enthusiasm Gap). The smartest thing we can do is invest in local voter organizations so local trusted messengers can make multiple contacts with disaffected voters in swing states — now through Election Day. Join us!
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MVP Friends,

This election is a doozy. 

The horrors in Gaza, the outrage on campuses, the third-party candidates, the dangers of disinformation, the migrant crisis, the housing crisis, the challenges in our cities, the Biden age thing, and the “economic vibes” have stirred fears that the Democratic base – especially the all-important youth vote – may be fractured beyond repair. Cue parallels to 1968 as we brace ourselves for the DNC in Chicago. 

So… What the @#$% are we gonna do?

Sure, MVP is doing all the usual things you’ve come to expect. We are supporting hundreds of amazing local organizing partners in all the critical battleground states. 

But we’re also stretching ourselves beyond that. We’re having tough strategic conversations, with partners, with donors, and as a team. How do we challenge ourselves to do more? How do we pull out all the stops? How do we use everything we’ve got – our creativity, relationships, and strategic moxy – to defy the odds yet again this fall? And how do we have difficult conversations about the most sensitive and contentious issues in ways that are transformational – instead of polarizing – in helping us get closer to our goal?

We are having generative conversations with a broad range of partners asking provocative questions. We are scheming with the best and brightest; with youth and student networks; with digital and cultural strategists; with the Uncommitted movement; with Jewish, Arab, and Muslim organizers; and then bringing those conversations back to and delving deep with our staff, donors, volunteers, and board. 

Real talk: It’s tough out there – for Biden and for all of us. We can’t just say: “Let’s do the same thing we did last time and hope for the best.” We are going to have to break new ground. Move mountains. Fast.

I’m looking forward to introducing you to some of MVP’s brilliant partners at our next national briefing on June 13th. For inspiration, also check out our 2024 videostate plans, and local stories below.

Saving democracy can (and should) be fun and we want to invite you to be part of it!

MVP’s volunteer team has organized over 100 house parties, zoom parties, and dance-a-thons and raised more than $4.5 million from 6,500 donors so far this election cycle. Our amazing volunteers did that! As one recent house party host marveled: MVP volunteers truly do make it easy to gather and mobilize people, from soup to nuts. Our volunteer community is growing and birthing new hubs in DC, New York, Portland, North Carolina, and Chicago – alongside MA, WA, CA – with more on the way. Volunteers even started a Healthcare Leaders for Democracy group and they’re dreaming up more creative ideas every month! 

Want to get involved? Learn more here – or pass this along to a friend. 

This is how we’re going to turn things around, folks! The more of us get involved, spread the word, hear from our brilliant and successful organizers, organize house parties, support each other in how to have persuasive conversations with overwhelmed family and friends and then get out there and experience the power of organizing, the more energy we generate that powers the heroic organizers in the swing states. Most people don’t realize we don’t have to sit around doom scrolling, watching Stormy Daniels testimony, and hoping she’ll somehow save us. There is an easy, hope-inspiring way to support local organizers in the key battleground states who actually will.

We are so thrilled to see so many of you stepping up, spreading the word, and organizing like you want to win. Together, we are co-creating a movement of donors to save our country this fall – and build toward a new progressive era.

At the end of the day, 2024 will come down to this: tens of thousands of humans talking with tens of millions of humans (voters, donors, and volunteers) to get ourselves out of the doldrums and organize like our future depends on it. 

We’d love to have you join us in building this movement of donors to support our frontline organizers in battleground states.

MVP is in the business of spreading hope. And it’s not empty hope, it’s genuine hope. In this election, our Presidential candidate isn’t going to be the source of hope for most voters. The hope and inspiration has to come from all of us. As Rep. Jamie Raskin’s dad told him when he was young, “When the world seems hopeless, you be the hope.” Our movement is the real protagonist in this story. And we as the MVP community are its major supply line.

Thank you for being part of this sacred work with us,

Billy Wimsatt, MVP Executive Director
(On behalf of the MVP team)

In this newsletter:

  • Briefing on 2024 Electoral Strategy
  • New video + battleground state plans
  • How do we close the “Biden Enthusiasm Gap”?
  • Stories from the states
  • MVP’s 4-phase plan
  • Saving democracy can (and should!) be fun
  • More upcoming events
  • Early giving: Find Your “No-Regrets Number”

 


 

YOU ARE INVITED

Briefing on 2024 Electoral Strategy:
“What the #@$% Are We Gonna Do??”

Thursday, Jun 13 • 2pm ET • 1pm CT • Noon MT • 11am PT

Featuring: MVP national partners spearheading the campaign to win this November

It’s an uphill battle to win this November — but our greatest hope is the grassroots ground game. Hear directly from MVP’s national partners about their plans to meet disaffected voters where they’re at, and close the “Biden Enthusiasm Gap”.

RSVP here »

 


 

HOW WE WIN

New video + battleground state plans

Less than 180 days until Election Day! How do we win? Join our briefing to hear directly from our partners — and for now, check out and share:

  • Our new 2-minute video: “Want to Beat Trump in 2024?”
  • Our new State Plans for the most competitive battleground states.
  • Our overarching electoral strategy, including the four-phase plan our local partners are following in the most critical swing states and districts.

 


 

NOT TO “BEG” THE QUESTION, BUT…

How Do We Close the “Biden Enthusiasm Gap”?

To beat Trump and win a Democratic governing majority in November, the core challenge we have to address is what we call “The BEG” (Biden Enthusiasm Gap).

This will surprise no one: Core Democratic constituencies — young voters and voters of color — are not dancing in the streets, giddily awaiting the day they can cast their vote for Biden-Harris. 

NBC News screenshot

In this environment, the most risky gamble would be to leave the job of voter persuasion and turnout to the Biden campaign and the Democratic Party.

MVP believes that the smartest thing we can do is invest deeply in local voter organizations and leaders who have deep credibility in their communities, so that highly-trained and prepared local trusted messengers can make multiple contacts with disaffected voters in swing states — now through Election Day.

MVP is in constant, intensive conversation with partners about how we can organize to win in November. We’re working on several fronts at once. One of our most innovative efforts has been around engaging young voters, Arab and Muslim voters, and anti-war voters who want a ceasefire in Gaza. Bottom line: We cannot afford to take these voters or their issues for granted. In case you missed our piece, Why MVP is Proud to Support the Uncommitted Movement, or the recent write-up about it in The Guardian, it explains why we believe this (perhaps at first totally counterintuitive!) effort is actually highly strategic on multiple levels. MVP is simultaneously supporting efforts for peace, safety, and determination for all, and also working to hold our big-tent Democratic family together, as the Uncommitted movement website says,

“keeping our anti-war voters engaged through November to save lives, fight fascism, and strengthen our democracy.” 

In this time of deep pain and polarization, MVP is doubling down on our shared values, our care for everyone’s humanity, and finding the shared political common ground (stopping fascism) that we can work towards together. Give the Uncommitted piece a read – it might surprise you – and then RSVP for our briefing for a deeper dive.

 


 

STORIES FROM THE STATES

The power of early money

Thanks to early money, MVP partners are engaging voters on the issues and races that matter most to them. This in turn will help create a reverse-coattails effect in November, in which voter enthusiasm at the bottom of the ticket helps put our top-of-the-ticket candidates over the top.

Here are some highlights of what MVP partners are working on in key states:

Arizona for Abortion Access, campaigning for a ballot initiative to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution

Arizona for Abortion Access, campaigning for a ballot initiative to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution

Top battleground states

  • In Arizona, the Arizona for Abortion Access coalition (including MVP partners LUCHARural Arizona Action, and AZ Poder) has gathered 500,000+ signatures and recruited 6,000 volunteers for a ballot measure to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution.
  • In Georgia, the Asian American Advocacy Fund and Georgia Equality PAC are getting out the vote for their endorsed candidates in Georgia’s state and local primary on May 21, in which voters will choose their nominees for congressional and state legislative seats, as well as school boards, sheriffs, district attorneys, and county commissioners.
  • In North Carolina, Workers Vote helped Rodney Pierce, a champion of workers’ rights and abortion rights, defeat conservative Democrat Michael Wray by just 42 votes — a 0.36% margin — in the primary for NC State House District 27, after executing their plan to knock on 17,000 doors. This win brings us closer to stopping harmful GOP bills at the state level — while building momentum to win the state’s sixteen Electoral College votes and Governor race in November.

    In other NC news, Down Home North Carolina is building local power through a county-level energy efficiency campaign; involving their members in a grassroots-driven local candidate endorsement process; and launching a campaign to defeat far-right gubernatorial candidate Mark Robinson, with door-knocking, deep canvassing (i.e. real, human-to-human, listening-oriented conversations with voters), phone-banking, and letters to the editor. 

  • In Pennsylvania, PA United, Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance (API-PA), Pennsylvania Working Families PartyOne PA, and other local partners helped progressive candidates win the April 23 primary, including Rep. Summer Lee. Thanks to tens of thousands of doors knocked, her 20-point victory margin sent a dramatic message about the staying power of progressive champions, and built momentum for crucial voter turnout efforts this fall in western Pennsylvania.

Credit: Texas Freedom Network

Next priority states

  • In California, MVP is teaming up with the California Donor Table and others to launch Battleground California, a coalition aiming to win eight competitive U.S. House races by mobilizing Latino, AAPI, and Black voters, enabling Democrats to take back the House in November.

    (Remember: The GOP majority is so slim that a recent retirement brought it down to a single vote. Flipping the House is within striking distance.)

  • In Maine, local partners have helped push the state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which, once passed by states representing a majority of the Electoral College vote, would effectively sidestep the Electoral College and decide the Presidential election by a national popular vote. MVP partner Maine Votes co-leads the Mainers for Modern Elections coalition, for whom this was a top priority campaign. Two core MVP partners are part of that coalition: Maine Youth Power, which turned people out to the state house to support the bill, and Maine People’s Alliance, which did grassroots lobbying for it.
  • In Maryland, former GOP Governor and now U.S. Senate candidate Larry Hogan imperils Democrats’ chances to hold onto chamber, currently commanding a double-digit polling lead. Thankfully, MVP partner Progressive Maryland has stepped up to launch a coordinated effort to defeat him in November by reminding voters of his record of opposing core progressive priorities: Living wages, abortion access, healthcare, environmental protection, and education funding.

    As Sarah Chaisson-Warner, MVP State Strategy Director, says: “Phase One is about defining Hogan and engaging voters on key issues and his record. Here’s the bet I’m making: early money to define Hogan will pay off in the long run, creating a shift in voter attitudes toward him and costing us less in voter persuasion further down the road, when the cost of voter engagement is typically higher. One of the things I especially appreciate about MVP is that we are often “First In the Pool” – meaning we’ll be the first to invest, often enticing other funders to join once they know someone else is in.”

  • In New Hampshire, 603 Forward is celebrating seventy-three young leaders’ elections to local office, as well as the victory of an endorsed candidate for special election to the NH House of Representatives. This brings Democrats within striking distance of winning the chamber in November.

    In other NH news, 350NH Action is celebrating the planned closure of the last coal-fired power plant in New England in 2028, the completion of a five-year campaign.

  • In Texas, four MVP partners (Workers Defense Action Fund PACTexas Freedom NetworkTexas Working Families Party, and Texas Organizing Project PAC) helped progressives win their March 5 primary races in three critical counties: Jose Garza for Travis County District Attorney, Sean Teare for Harris County DA, and Rebecca Clay-Flores for Bexar County Commissioners Court.

    Why does this matter in red Texas in 2024? According to Hallie Montoya Tansey, MVP Senior State Strategist: “Increasing turnout and creating habitual progressive voters in Harris, Travis, and Bexar is key because these are three of the five counties which made up 40% of the vote share in 2022.” Looking at the big picture, Latinos now outnumber non-Hispanic whites in the state, and comprise over 50% of all Texans aged 18 and under. Demographics are not destiny, but they create a real opportunity to turn Texas blue in the coming cycles, which would effectively give Democrats an electoral lock on the White House.

 


 

ZOOMING OUT

MVP’s 4-phase plan

To situate us in where we are and where we’re heading: We are currently in Phase 2 of MVP’s 2024 Field Plan, a roadmap that systematically builds engagement, resources, and power to carry us to victory on Election Day — and, crucially, to keep momentum going into 2025, no matter the outcome on November 5th.

The focus of Phase 2 is to identify and register voters and galvanize them around key advocacy issues, bills, candidates, and primary races. All of this leads into Phase 3 this summer: Voter persuasion and mobilization as we head into early voting in September.

The more well-resourced our local partners are today in Phase 2, the more they can scale up their operations in time for Phase 3 and then in Phase 4: Get-Out-The-Vote, as well as the never-more-critical work of election protection and defending the results.

 


 

MVP Washington Volunteer Hub, living their best life at their “Dance for Democracy” fundraiser for MVP

MVP Washington Volunteer Hub, living their best life at their “Dance for Democracy” fundraiser for MVP

WHAT ELSE CAN I DO BESIDES DONATE?

Saving democracy can (and should!) be fun

Saving democracy is too important a job to leave to the professionals — it’s going to take all of us. That’s why, at MVP, our donors aren’t just financial supporters; you all are our partners in raising the resources to fund the local heroes on the ground.

From small Zoom gatherings to 100-person house parties, benefit concerts, Buddhist meditation “Sits for Democracy,” and epic “Dances for Democracy” (we see you Bay Area, Western Mass, Eastern Mass, and Washington Hubs!), MVP volunteers have raised more than $4.5 million (in 501c4 and PAC dollars alone) in recent months from more than 6,500 donors.

Join the fun! Create a fundraising page, host a house party (online or in-person), or get involved with a local MVP Volunteer Hub.

 


 

SAVE THE DATE

More Upcoming Events

Battleground California Launch

Thursday, May 16 • 3pm ET / 2pm CT / 1pm MT / Noon PT

Hosted By: California Donor Table

The path to winning back the House this November runs through the Golden State. That’s why MVP is supporting Battleground California, a coalition focused on winning the state’s eight most competitive House races. Learn more in this briefing. RSVP »

MVP Briefing on Reproductive Justice

Wednesday, June 26 • 8pm ET / 7pm CT / 6pm MT / 5pm PT

Featuring: MVP local partners leading the charge on reproductive justice

Co-Hosted By: Healthcare Leaders for Democracy

Hear from MVP staff and organizers on the ground about the plan to protect and expand reproductive rights in 2024, by mobilizing pro-choice voters to win a federal trifecta, ballot measures, and state power. RSVP »

 


 

LAST CALL FOR EARLY GIVING

Find your “No-Regrets Number”

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is today.” 

– Chinese proverb 

We’ll close with a practical tip for those of you who’ve been procrastinating: If you or anyone you know hasn’t yet sat down to figure out how much you plan to donate in this election year (and when), here are two tips:

1) When to give? Now. 

Consider this loose baseball analogy: Waiting to donate until right before Election Day is like expecting your team to come out and win the World Series when they haven’t had a chance to practice all season.

Candidly, the time for truly “early giving” has passed – but now is still officially the second-best time to make your 2024 political giving budget and donate it.

2) How much to give? Find your “No-Regrets Number”.

  1. Ask: How much can I give so that I’ll know I’ve done all I could this election? 
  2. Now ask: If Trump won by a few votes in a few states, would I regret not giving more?
  3. If yes, raise the number until you know you will have done all you can. This is your No-Regrets Number.

Now through Election Day, the MVP team will be closely monitoring aggregated polling, expert analysis, and insights on the ground, constantly recalibrating our investment strategy to maximize our impact on Presidential, Senate, House, and other key battlegrounds. 

You can contribute through MVP and use us as your one-stop “mutual fund” for political giving this year — and/or, give to our many excellent allies and partners in the field. We are all on one big team working together and we take seriously our role as honest brokers for the field as a whole.

Need help? Get in touch and we’ll gladly support you to make the giving plan that’s right for you.

Let’s do this!

With gratitude,
Billy (and the whole MVP team)

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