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What Races Are Key to Defeating Trumpism in 2018?

Article published:
Map of the US with states depicted as red, blue and purple

A key challenge facing progressives is translating general strategy into concrete action priorities in 2018.

What allocation of our always-stretched resources will give us the best chance of both breaking Trumpism’s grip on all branches of the federal government and expanding the base and strength of the left? What relative weight should be given to Congressional races, Senate races, governor’s contests, and state legislative and local campaigns? Where are the most promising primary challenges to establishment Democrats taking place? Are there openings for launching additional challenges that could shift the political balance at the federal level or in a specific locality or state?

Some progressive and socialist organizations are in the early stages of answering such questions. Others have formulated plans and/or are putting out information and hypotheses for everyone in the anti-Trump camp to consider. Over the coming months Organizing Upgrade will be publishing a number of such plans and perspectives. Our hope is to foster a deeper cross-organization dialogue and develop the maximum cooperation and alignment within the progressive eco-system, especially among forces who see racial and gender justice as central to building a united working class movement for peace, justice and a sustainable environment.

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First in this series are two data- and recommendation-filled reports from Democracy in Color, “a political organization focused on race, politics and the multiracial, progressive New American Majority.” The first, Return of the Majority:  A Roadmap for Taking Back Our Country, identifies seventeen “Frontline States” where progressives have the greatest chance to shift or even take governing power and targets 28 “Frontline Congressional Districts” as key to ending GOP control of the House of Representatives.

The second, Mid-Year Progress Report, reports on the danger signals that the Democratic Party leadership is once again gearing up to pursue a doomed strategy while offering an alternative that will “fearlessly focus on the racist, homophobic and sexist policies of the administration” and “wage bold policy fights to end economic inequality.”

Specific highlights of the first report include:

  • A detailed plan to focus on mobilizing 10 million new voters between now and 2020 – primarily people of color and progressive whites – to the polls in the seventeen closest battleground states.
  • A call for a “disciplined, effective, large-scale electoral operation that is rooted in and led by community-based organizations and leaders” with a listing of eighteen such organizations termed “Frontline Freedom Fighters” in key states.

Key points made and documented in the second point include:

  • A critique of the Democratic Party ecosystem for so far being obsessed with wooing Trump voters while diverting time and resources from doing what is necessary to win: “investing in Black voter mobilization institutions and leaders and focusing on massive turnout operations for 2018.
  • A strategy based on changing demographics for “cementing the cornerstones of the New American Majority.”
  • Detailed analyses of 2016 election results in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania to back up the report’s strategic arguments.

The full reports flesh out these points and add others. You can find the key points in each report and download PDF’s of the entire text of each at these links:

Return of the Majority:  A Roadmap for Taking Back Our Country

Mid-Year Progress Report

Additional information about and materials from Democracy in Color is here.