We at MWR – the editorial board and our technical support team - are going on sabbatical. Writing this newsletter has helped us organize and focus our thoughts, and given us positive political work to do during these difficult two years. Many of you have told us that MWR has been equally valuable for you by sorting through the bombast and lies that dominate the news in order to highlight the key issues and offer a positive response to the Trump administration’s outrages. After 96 issues we need to rest and recapture a bit of time. We plan to keep on keeping on, in different ways, and are counting on you to do the same. We are keeping the website alive and will use MWR as necessary in the months to come, but this is the last of our weekly letters for now. Below we leave you with of some of the key elements of political activism that we have preached and practiced for the past 2 years.
CELEBRATE what we and millions of others around the country accomplished. The election did not deliver on our wildest dreams (the Senate!), but it was a marvel of the art of the possible. A quick recap, as of the weekend (courtesy of the Washington Post and NY Times):
411 diverse candidates (women, people of color, and LGBTQ) ran for the House, Senate and governor seats.
The House will have at least 101 women representatives which is the largest number in US history and at least 153 LGBTQ candidates won across all races.
Democrats appear poised to pick up between 35 and 40 seats in the House, once the last races are tallied, according to strategists in both parties. That would represent the biggest Democratic gain in the House since the post-Watergate election of 1974.
Democrats gained seven governorships, recouping in part losses sustained in 2010 and 2014, and picked up over 300 state legislative seats where they had suffered a virtual wipeout in the previous two mid-term elections.
The Democratic wave hit hardest in suburban districts which are traditional Republican territory. There, college-educated voters, particularly women, dissatisfied with the president, backed Democratic challengers. This can become a fundamental political realignment.
Voters under the age of 29 voted for Democrats over Republicans by 67 percent to 32 percent, a margin which beats the previous record in the 2008 presidential election. Latino voters matched their national 11 percent vote share from the higher-turnout 2016 election, with Democrats winning 69 percent of the Latino vote nationwide, slightly more than the 66 percent share when Trump was elected. Asian voters, who make up about 3 percent of the voting population, sided with Democrats by a margin of 77 percent to 23 percent. Black Americans voted overwhelmingly (90%) for the Democratic candidate, with Black men voting 88% Democratic and Black women voting 92% Democratic.
In our home state of Colorado, Democrats won every statewide race, picked up a House seat, took control of the state Senate, and swept most down-ballot races. We hope you had similar successes where you live.
In Arizona, for the first time in 24 years, Democratic Representative Kyrsten Sinema flipped the Senate seat from GOP control.
Key races in Florida and Georgia are still hanging in the balance, even with voter suppression being an issue in both.
None of this could have happened without the ground game activism of people like all of us who joined demonstrations, made phone calls, wrote letters, worked in campaigns, donated money, and spoke out for “decency, fairness and social justice”. Take the time to soak in the fruits of our labors!
Two Big Takeaways:
Voting rights matter! Fair registration systems, felon rights restoration, voting systems that enable everyone to vote easily and quickly, the end of gerrymandering – all of these are crucial to enacting the agendas we care about. Put some of your future efforts into supporting legislative change in your states and advocacy by voting rights organizations.
The Democrats won by appealing to a wide spectrum of voters from Democratic Socialists of America, to suburban woman, to main street business people. Don’t let “the perfect be the enemy of the good” whatever your own personal politics. We need a strong coalition of diverse voices to undo the damage of Trump and Republican policies so remember that politics is the art of the possible and compromise its essential strategy.
MWR Lessons for Political Engagement:
We are in this for the long haul. We stand on the shoulders of folks who have long since died without seeing all their dreams fulfilled. The fight for social and economic justice and environmental stewardship does not end on election day. We all need to find a way to integrate political activism into a meaningful, rewarding life in the here and now, while fighting like hell for a better future.
A really important strategy for maintaining sanity that we are practicing is limiting our intake of news. Pick one or two of the Fact Checked news sources we recommend and read them ONLY ONCE A DAY. Your nervous system will thank you!
Be the change you want to see and in personal ways create the world you want to live in: reduce, reuse, recycle; be kind; be an ally; support youth; engage in genuine dialogue. Don’t wait for the future, start to live it now.
Participate in the big marches! They are fun and keep our spirits up. January 19this the date for the next Women’s March. Be there in the city nearest you!
The folks from Indivisible will be out with a new guide (Indivisible 2.0) to the next phase of political action – pushing for what we want rather than just resisting. Use it to remain engaged.
Give money to promising candidates in swing districts near you. This was a record-breaking year for small donations. All those paid staff on the ground helped volunteers make a huge difference! Keep it up with small regular contributions: Swing Left and Flippable will keep you informed of who to support.
Keep donating to the advocacy organizations that promote the issues you care about and that keep taking Trump to court: Planned Parenthood, National Resources Defense Council, Southern Poverty Law Center, Equal Justice Initiative, Defenders of Wildlife, etc. We still need them to keep us informed and to fight for us.
Don’t do this alone. Politics is a social activity. Band together with your current allies and friends or find new ones who care about what you care about. Work together.
We at MWR don’t know when we will write again but we will keep the website up for your reference and we will be ready to chime in again when events demand it. Thanks for your time and support. Let’s all celebrate and then get back to work.