Published: November 09, 2022

It’s Time to Invest in a Progressive Decade Like Never Before

We always knew 2022 would be a humbling year, but we approached it with defiance. Our local partners helped bring home many victories during these midterms, which we are grateful for and proud of...

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Strategy Memo
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We always knew 2022 would be a humbling year, but we approached it with defiance. Our local partners helped bring home many victories during these midterms, which we are grateful for and proud of! We won all five abortion ballot measures in Michigan, California, Vermont, and most notably – Montana and Kentucky. We picked up two governors in Massachusetts and Maryland – first openly gay woman governor in Massachusetts and first Black governor in Maryland! This will give Democrats trifectas to pass progressive legislation in both states. We also held at least six contested governorships in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Maine, and Kansas.

We have our local partners to thank for these victories – they overperformed!

But while we have a lot to celebrate – and while we met our funding goals as an organization, MVP and our donor partners still didn’t move nearly as much money as was needed – nor did we move it as early as was required. We tried to raise an alarm back in February that the groups needed a LOT more money but for MVP and our peer organizations across the board, 2022 was a tough year to motivate donors. As a result, we lost critical elections in Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Wisconsin. But, we are reminded that building progressive power from the ground up isn’t about one election. That means, we absolutely must do better if we don’t want to lose in 2024.

As we look ahead to the next two years with anticipation, the landscape looks challenging. Biden is a relatively unpopular president – a majority of Democrats openly wish we had another candidate. But there’s no other obvious candidate to unite progressive voters in 2024. Meanwhile, the likely Republican nominees – Trump, and especially DeSantis – pose serious threats. We should go into the 2024 presidential election cycle assuming we have a 50-50 shot at best. There are so many factors beyond our control – from Biden’s health to economic conditions that could impact our chances. But we can’t afford to become demoralized or paralyzed by uncertainty this time.

In the wake of major elections – win or lose – most politically-minded donors tend to sit out the next 12-18 months. Understandably, people want to take a break from politics – until the next existential sense of fear and urgency returns. When we win, donors tend to become complacent. When we lose, donors tend to spiral into a paralysis of analysis around what went wrong.

Consequently, donors tend to take a break at the very moment when they can make the biggest difference: at the beginning of the election cycle, when it’s still early enough to make game-changing improvements in the scale and quality of our base.

For donors who care about the outcome of the 2024 election, there is one enormous factor that is very much within our control: the seriousness with which we invest early in 2023.

The 2024 electoral college map, based on recent trends and partisan performance, is most likely to center around five to nine states that look relatively similar to the map we saw in 2020: Georgia, Arizona, and Wisconsin are likely to be on a razor’s edge, followed closely by Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Nebraska’s 2nd District – followed in turn by Florida and Texas as the two closest and largest states where we can create change – whether or not we are able to win them this cycle. Losing the presidency is not a viable option for the future of our country, nor our world. If you think things are bad now, wait until we have Ron DeSantis as our President!

There is a ton of smart pre-work we can do to strengthen and test local electoral machines: candidate recruitment and training; state and local policy; strengthening local organizations; improving communications; countering disinformation; ballot measures in states like Arizona and Michigan and county-level DA races, which take place in PA, VA, GA,MI, WI, AZ and other states in 2023 and 2024.

There is so much we can achieve in 2024 – if and only if we invest like never before in 2023. Unfortunately, electoral organizations received a very clear message in 2022: “The money isn’t going to come. It’s going to be smaller than you think and it’s going to come later than you think.” At all costs we need to reverse that message.

The message to organizers in 2023 needs to be: “The donors learned their lesson in 2022. They’re investing early and they’re going big and multi-year. Here is your first check, and there’s more coming. It’s bigger than you were expecting because we want you to know we’re serious this time. Let’s talk about what your biggest boldest visions and plans and experiments are.”

We are asking every MVP donor to think proactively and to make strategic decisions over the next three months about how much we can invest in preserving liberal democracy, the climate, our country, and the future of the people we love.

Thank you to everyone who gave of their time and funds to protect our democracy in 2022. You did the right thing. We did the right thing together. We should be proud of all that we’ve accomplished. We have a chance to win in 2024. But we’re going to have to protect that chance by investing in our grassroots partners like never before.

Rest up. Dream big. Let’s bring our A Game together.

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