Share this post

Primary 2020: How We Engage to Win

María Urbina - 03/03/2019

A
A
+
-

One year from today, voters in 9 states will cast their ballots in the one  of the biggest single days of the 2020 primary. But Super Tuesday is just a moment in time — there is much to be worked out before and after this special day. Indivisible is committed to engaging the candidates, the campaigns, and the voters over the next year to help ensure the nominee who emerges from this process is well-positioned to defeat Trump and is deeply aligned with our grassroots movement for democracy and justice.

That’s why we want to take today to begin talking about our opportunities and our plans. We’re already seeing a historically diverse group of Democrats running for the nomination, with more women, people of color, LGBTQ and progressive voices than ever before. And, many of them have already begun to move the conversation in exciting new directions to uplift communities of color, break down economic barriers, and fight back against the continued Republican efforts to restrict our Democracy.

But even though this field looks strong on its own, we cannot afford to sit this primary out. We know many voters are nervous about primaries, and that’s completely normal. But we also recognize that Indivisibles are uniquely equipped to advocate for their values and support the voices of those who have been left out of the process for far too long. Primaries might seem intimidating, but they’re how we are going to test ideas, get our candidates and our movement ready, and do so all from a place of shared empathy.

Our plan for victory in 2020 revolves around a three-prong strategy:

  1. Weaken Trump in Washington;

  2. Nominate a strong candidate who can build a winning coalition; and,

  3. Grow the grassroots’ power to transform the presidential map in 2020.

These plans are, of course, easier said than done, but they align with our existing advocacy and electoral goals in more ways than one. To weaken Trump in Washington, we’re going to continue to use our inside-outside strategy with Indivisible groups and our partners in Congress to expose the administration’s abuses and push back on his Republican allies’ efforts to undermine our democracy.

The second part of our strategy is where our primary engagement becomes essential. Indivisibles are part of a nation-wide network of activists who have built up local power over the past two and a half years, and candidates want access to that power. You represent a chunk of their base, and are their pillars for recruiting volunteers, building excitement, raising money, and generating earned media. That’s a power that can’t be bought or created over night, and that’s why we need to take this opportunity to leverage our movement’s goals in winning and getting us closer to a more just democracy.

How do we do that? We’re going to embrace our grassroots and hyper-local model to grab candidate’s attention, demand answers, listen, and push. This will include tactics like in-person engagement by attending candidate events, hearing from them directly through our nation-wide activist calls, and asking candidates directly to weigh in on issues that are important to you. All of this will be aimed at finding a candidate who embraces our progressive values and works to build a strong multiracial coalition of voters working hard to oust Trump in November.

On our end, we’ll be working to keep your voices at the forefront of the primary conversation by developing open channels with candidates to push them on issues they should be paying more attention to and working to ensure party stakeholders and other partners are bringing the grassroots into the conversation. We’ll also explore ways to engage with candidates’ platforms through issue forums and grassroots mobilizations ahead of key statewide Democratic conventions.

The most important part of our strategy is growing our grassroots power to transform the path to victory in 2020. We’ve all spent too much time listening to Washington insiders and campaign hacks explain why their “path to 270” is the right one. These conversations always ask that candidates choose between the kinds of voters they want to reach, and voters of color are often left behind. We reject this paradigm. We believe the best candidates will be those that have a multi-racial grassroots movement in the Rust Belt, the South, the West, and everywhere in between.

Part of making that happen relies on us leaving old notions of “electability” and personal attacks behind. Arguments against candidates based on their perceived viability in a race exist to lock people out of the process and discourage big ideas. The truth we saw in 2018 is that candidates are made viable and electable by the work we do to support them.

We, the grassroots, cannot afford to let someone else make this decision for us. So we’re going to be on the frontlines in this primary, asking candidates how their platform grows the base, how they’re centering the grassroots, and how they plan to win. Because losing in November is simply not an option. Join us on this journey for the next year and beyond to make this a contest of big ideas, healthy democracy, and winning our future.