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2022 Midterm Elections Strategy and Planning Guide

NOTE: For visual learners and to facilitate meetings, feel free to use this slideshow to accompany this document. 

The last five years have been tense, emotional, and action packed. We’ve won big victories, from defeating Trump to winning school board and city council races. We’ve also lost heartbreakingly close elections and policy fights, while organizing through a global pandemic and economic downturn. Every step of the way we’ve built skills and grown as activists, leading to a wealth of experience, maturity and know-how. 

And we’ve still got the desire to build a better world. This planning guide is intended to help group leaders take stock of the current iteration of their groups and to support group leaders in setting goals, strategies, and, most importantly, tactics to build a successful, sustainable electoral plan for 2022. The challenges are real. This will be our first midterm election cycle without Trump in the White House. But progressives built a wave year in 2018, contributed to historical turnout in 2020, won a trifecta, and protected the results. And we can do it again! 

Indivisible’s 2022 Priorities 

Before you start planning what the rest of the year will look like,  we want to review Indivisible’s  2022 electoral and advocacy priorities so you can incorporate them into your plans.

  1. Increase Our Power in the House: Preserve the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives through incumbent protection work, and increase the power of the Progressive Voting Bloc through primaries work;
  2. Maintain Control of the Senate: Add to the Democratic Senate majority with both incumbent protection and key flips;
  3. Grow and expand the Indivisible Movement: Use electoral work to grow and strengthen Indivisible groups, and expand the broader Indivisible movement.

During the first half(ish) of the year, we will also be focused on key advocacy fights with the goal of winning real, substantial change for everyday folks leading up to the midterm elections in November. This looks like things like canceling student loan debt, declaring a climate emergency and funneling funds to communities who need it the most, and more. Plus, we still have a Supreme Court seat to fill!

Broken down by calendar month it looks like this:

February through June

Advocacy

We have a once in a generation opportunity to pass transformative policies while Democrats still have a trifecta!  Our policy work will typically be consistent with these four priorities:  climate, economic and social justice, healthcare and prescription drug prices, and immigration. For example, we will continue to drive advocacy to revive or repackage the content of the Build Back Better (BBB) bill. 

  • Executive Action Campaign: A new strategy for our advocacy work will be pushing President Biden to act on progressive priorities through Executive Action with our “Let’s Go Joe” campaign. Check out this resource which explains all about why we are focusing on Executive Actions, which issues we are prioritizing, and how we need you to put pressure on your MoC and White House to address the needs of the current moment.  
  • SCOTUS: Unrigging the Federal Courts– including the Supreme Court– remains vital to our activism. We’re incredibly excited to support Biden’s commitment to nominate the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court and will fight to ensure she is confirmed in a speedy fashion. But confirming the nominee isn’t enough. That’s why we founded the Unrig the Courts coalition. Read about our four-pillar plan to reform the court that includes Supreme Court expansion, lower court expansion, term limits, and Supreme Court ethics requirements: https://www.unrigthecourts.org/

Endorsements

At Indivisible, we believe that endorsing in primaries generates a healthy debate of ideas, strengthens the general election candidate, and builds momentum and turnout for the general election. Our National Endorsement program is dedicated to protecting and expanding the number of progressives in public office, whether they’re newcomers competing for an open seat, insurgents working to oust conservative or ineffectual incumbents, or progressive trailblazers fighting for working people and making sure our government meets the moment.  Find out more about how your group can make an endorsement in the primary.

Give No Ground Launches

Protecting Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate is Indivisible’s top political priority of 2022. Our Give No Ground program is the embodiment of that commitment and will provide support to vulnerable incumbents who are crucial to Democrats achieving their agenda this Congress and whose districts and states must remain blue for Democrats to hold trifecta power in 2022. Indivisible will make it possible for local groups anywhere in the nation to participate in this vital electoral program through phone banking, textbanking, postacarding, and weekends of action. Sign up here, stay tuned, and start planning ways to plug in.

Group Leader Summit sneak-peek

This summer, we’ll host a national Group Leader Summit to formally kick off our Indivisible movement’s massive 2022 electoral campaign work. It will be an event that gathers hundreds of Indivisible leaders across the country to connect, share best practices, and discuss pressing issues. Stay tuned for more details to come. 

July through November

General Election

Whether you are ready to support candidates in your own districts or beyond (or both!), Indivisible will be rolling out ways to bring together our local group power to protect the House and expand Democratic control in the Senate

Direct Voter Contact Programs and tools

  • Peer-to-Peer Phone Banking: Our 2022 peer-to-peer phonebanking program will be available to all members of our network, regardless of group affiliation. We will launch general election phone banking in the summer through our HubDialer tool and will run the Hubdialer during high-volume periods and increase the schedule as we get closer to Election Day.  In-district and Adopt-a-District groups will be able to request Open Virtual Phone Banks for Give No Ground races. But, don’t worry: anyone can request open phone banks for any race! And we will run our predictive dialer tool during high-volume periods, like Weeks of Action and GOTV.
  • Peer-to-Peer Texting: We are changing the way we run our peer to peer texting program to put groups front and center! Learning from our super successful work in the GA run-offs, Give No Ground groups will have the opportunity to host texting parties for their groups and volunteers. Groups can take action together and recruit new activists (because who doesn't love to text?!). If your group is interested in texting, make sure you sign up as a Give No Ground group.
  • Postcards: Our national team will provide interested groups with the lists of postcard recipients in both Give No Ground districts and any local race that groups want to work on. We encourage groups to start writing postcards as early as possible, especially if you want to use it as an opportunity to highlight ongoing priorities in our advocacy campaigns. 
  • Canvassing: We encourage groups to regularly canvass with campaigns and partner organizations, or manage their own canvass programs where applicable. We are able to support activists and groups who want to canvass by using our tools using MiniVAN’s MyVoters tools
  • DVC Reimbursements: Indivisible is able to provide reimbursements for groups that spend money to do direct voter contact. Make sure to be in touch with your organizer on how to take advantage of this opportunity. 
  • Event Tracking: The election season is a huge opportunity to build our power as a network, and a major component of that is tracking our work. This year, we are putting an even larger emphasis on event tracking (so get excited, your organizer will be following up with you A LOT!). Groups will be able to track their work using our event map or Mobilize. To get ahead of the game, start tracking your events on our event map now! Register your Events here!

Week(ends) of Action

Mark your calendars! Indivisible will be hosting three Week(ends) of Action for the 2022 cycle: launch weekend, a midpoint WOA (likely in August) and the Final Four days leading up to election day. This is a chance for groups around the country to turbocharge their direct voter contact and we encourage groups to be creative in your planning!  These events will are preliminarily planned for July, September, and November. 

Start Planning

Now that you know Indivisible’s national priorities, it’s time to start planning! The first step for setting up an effective strategy is putting a plan together to well…plan your activism. We recommend devoting 1-2 full steering committee or full group meetings to decide on your group’s approach to the midterm elections. Your organizer is here to help you, and is excited and ready to jump into these meetings with you. The following questions are meant to guide you in planning your group’s strategy, goals, and tactics in 2022. We hope these organizing questions will help you and your group think through the vision your group  wants to create together.

  1.  What is our vision for our community? Our state? Our country?
    • We know what we’re against. What are we for? What is the positive change we want to see? What inspires us to keep moving forward?
  2. The midterms are a huge opportunity to move towards that vision. Which races do we want to focus on to implement real change in our community?
    • What are the competitive races in our area? 
    • Are there opportunities to support champions or flip seats?
    • Do we want to endorse in any races?
    • We recommend looking at races from the federal level all the way down to the local school board. 
  3. How do we want to engage with Indivisible’s Give No Ground program?
    • The Give No Ground program identified battleground races that will be important for keeping the House and Senate. Even if a group isn’t in one of these districts or states, they can sign up for the Adopt-a-District program to make a difference in these races!
  4. What direct voter contact tactics do we think will be most effective?
    • Do we want to host phone banks? Write postcards? Canvass (either on your own or with a local campaign)?
    • This year, Indivisible’s texting program is reserved for Give No Ground in-district and Adopt-a-District groups, so if your group wants to text, make sure to sign up for the program!
  5. What resources does our group need to accomplish this? 
    • Is it people power? Is it money? Is it more leaders? A statewide structure? Independent Expenditure work? Etc.
    • Indivisible has GROW grants available for groups engaging in election work. We are also launching a brand new Direct Voter Contact(DVC) reimbursement program to fund DVC activities like postcards, canvass literature, or pizza and coffee for phone banks! Work with your organizer to get connected to this program.
    • Minivan is also available to all groups for any race. Minivan can be used for canvassing, phonebanking, and postcarding.
  6. What skills/tools/training do we need to accomplish this? 
    • Will we need messaging skills? Indivisible VAN access? Endorsement Process training? Call scripts? State Legislative training? Recruitment workshops? Training from Indivisible staff? 
  7. How will we track our group’s work?
    • Tracking is a huge priority for Indivisible this year. We want to be able to show the true breadth and power of the Indivisible network and we need your help to do it!
    • Groups will be able to track their DVC events using our regular map, Mobilize, or an online form. Tracking will be required for the DVC reimbursement program.
  8. What is a sustainable pace for our activism? 
    • Will we be having monthly meetings? Bi-weekly actions? 
    • What milestones do we want to set for ourselves?
    • What energizes people to act, verus what burns people out? 
    • What is our timeline for 2022?
    • Recruitment and capacity are key to effective organizing. As we plan out our calendar of actions, are we leaving space to be intentional about recruitment and follow-up? 
    • How will we build momentum through the year, to get folks to show up when and where they are needed?
  9. How should we think about the period after the election?
    • Ensure we schedule a debrief and a celebration as early as possible. Come 2023, what will we wish we had done in 2022?

2022 Vision Strategy Meetings

2022 Vision/Strategy meetings are a key component in the planning process. They are intended to engage leadership, and members of your group, in a robust conversation about how you want to show up next year. Translating your vision into an organized and strategic vision will enable your group to be able to clearly articulate, and implement, your collective goals. 

To help you with your planning process, we put together a sample agenda and slideshow highlighting Indivisible’s core electoral program Give No Ground, key planning questions, and resources for all races.

SMARTIE Goals

Group Leaders have found the SMARTIE Goals Worksheet helpful in building out their plan for everything from one-off events to long-term capacity building. (You’ll want to “make your own” copy. Look in the drop down menu under “File” to do so.)  This worksheet is designed to help you plan goals that are  Strategic, Measurable, Ambitious, Realistic, Time-Bound, Inclusive, and Equitable. 

Remember, your organizer is ready to help you plan to make the most of your activism in 2022.

Use Our Capacity Building Resources

To make all your plans happen, you'll need to assess your group capacity and perhaps build a plan to grow or restructure your organization. We pulled out some of our top resources to help you with your planning but there are a ton more on our website: Group Leader Resources.

Group Leader Weekly Email

Our groups are at their best when Advocacy, Electoral and Group Capacity Building mutually support and energize one another. To help you stay abreast of the advocacy and electoral priorities, remember to sign up for the Group Leader Weekly Email. It's especially curated for Group Leaders and helpers to update you on ways to connect your work to the wider Indivisible priorities and campaigns. 

Network Grassroots Leadership Calls

Are you an Indivisible group leader who is excited to be a grassroots partner in our national strategy to win progressive victories and build lasting movement power– in your local community and nationwide? We invite you to join our monthly Grassroots Leadership Network Call! Monthly GLN calls are also a great space to be in community with other local group leaders who share your commitment to doing the work to win progress and create an inclusive democracy.  Sign up here to register for these monthly calls

National Activist Call

The National Activist Call is a space held on the first Thursday of every month for activists, group leaders, and new members alike. Join Indivisibles across the country as we celebrate successes; discuss our national strategy, and take time to create connections while building community with each other. Reach out to your organizer to get the link to sign up. 

Leadership Structure and Snowflake Model

Are you trying to build out or create a better structure for your leadership team? Use this resource to learn more about best practices in leadership structure, how to use the snowflake model to structure your group, and  how to define roles for the steering committee.      

How to Delegate

Are you having trouble figuring out how to delegate tasks within your group? Do you feel like you are doing the bulk of the work without much help from the rest of your team? Check out this slide deck where you will learn best practices for delegation, why delegation is important to a solid leadership structure, and advice for troubleshooting common delegation pitfalls. 

Recruitment and Retention Strategies

 Are you unsure how to recruit and retain new members to your group? Check out this slide deck to give you some tips and tricks on how to recruit and retain group members effectively. 

GROW Grants

Need funding for a project your group is working on this year? Check out our  Grassroots Organizing Wins(GROW) Grant Program. This program is designed to provide direct financial support to Indivisible groups  for collaboration and capacity-building projects. Find out more here 

 Distributed Fundraising 

Want to raise money for your group without going through the hassle of registering your group as a 501(c)4?  Indivisible’s Distributed Fundraising program is a streamlined process for groups to fundraise without going through the hullabaloo of forming a board of directors, writing bylaws, registering as an independent organization, or seeking out 501(c)(4) status. Find out more here.

Join Our Caucuses

Another resource that Indivisible has is our caucuses, which are intended to both impart important information to specific communities and to build skills and share best practices particular to the issues that they face. It’s also a great chance to form bonds with like-minded activists across the country. These caucuses are a great way to build a stronger connection with the national organization and build working groups within your own structures. 

People of Color (POC) Caucus

Join Indivisible National POC staff as we talk and connect around issues that directly affect POC, the work that we do, and the world in which we try to create lasting change. Please note that this is a space specifically for people of color/indigenous group leaders and members. If you’d like to join the monthly calls, register here.

Rural Caucus

If you are organizing in a rural or small town America, you’re not alone! Indivisible National’s Rural Caucus brings together activists organizing under similar challenging circumstances. The Caucus organizers curate programming especially suited to your particular challenges. Email us at rural@indivisible.org to get signed up for the next monthly call.

Truth Brigade

Propaganda, false characterizations, intentionally misleading messages, and outright lies threaten our democracy and even our lives.  People believe sources they trust. When we share and amplify unified, factual messages to those who trust us, we shift the narrative. When we do this by the thousands--we’re part of the Indivisible Truth Brigade, and we get our country back. Sign up to be a part of the Truth Brigade here.