Why Isn’t this Already Happening? Or Is It?
The Democratic political landscape is not absent of groups who are involved in the work of the states, the Congress, and the courts.
Nonetheless, Democratic power has been hampered by a lack of focus, a lack of discipline, and a lack of shared commitment to democratic progress.
Lack of a geographic strategy to win power
All across the country, major groups involved in the work of building Democratic power know the geographic battlegrounds. The state legislative space is an important caveat, where information gaps continue to lead to underinvestment and misallocation of resources.
EveryDistrict has sought to correct this gap with our unique Legislative District Index (LDI) to provide a standardized ranking system for every state legislative district.
But what is not consistently understood is the demographic geography needed to win power at all levels. Groups and activists love to talk about the tactics and positions that need to be employed to win.
But who needs to be turned out and persuaded, and where, to not only win a presidential majority, but to dominate at all levels? The money on the Democratic side, in contrast to the focused, strategic plays of Republicans, has been insufficiently disciplined on the question of where and how to best advance power.
This report has sought to be clear about the opportunities and challenges within our state-based system to help us home in on the geographies, and the communities in those geographies, where we need to invest our time and resources to win.
Doing so should supplement existing turnout and mobilization efforts, allowing us to build where we’re showing strength today and to overcome Republican headwinds where we currently struggle.
Too narrow a vision
The Republican vision for control of the country is expansive – from college organizations like TPUSA to the Federalist Society to a flurry of propaganda media networks. Democrats do not have equivalents of the Kochs or the Mercers.
Collectively, Democrats do not have a vision of how we wrest power from Republicans everywhere and a ruthless vision to achieve that power. This is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. It reflects a greater faith in a free, open, and democratic society to do the right thing.
However, it is unilateral disarmament against the Republican machine. That is why this report casts such a broad view, despite our background as a state legislative funding group.
We have to think bigger and resolve these structural imbalances if we want to control the country over the next two decades.
Too little alignment in the coalition
Too often, Democratic leaders are permitted to stop progress on core democracy-building activities. Democrats in Maine and Nevada killed the National Popular Vote Compact. New York is one of the most challenging states to vote in. Rhode Island has let a conservative bloc of Democrats slow progress there.
It also continues to hurt the Democratic brand when Democratic states struggle to address the policy issues that confront them.
Democrats need to unite around the fundamental democracy and governance reforms essential for our power and the republic’s future.