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When partisan dominance can defy the popular vote and lock down years of control, it's clear this is no longer just a problem for progressives -- it's a problem for our democracy as a whole. How do progressives begin to turn the tables in this climate?
Progressives' best chance to break through the conservative firewall is a multi-front, long-term strategy to win back the states. Too often we've measured our electoral success based on winning states for the presidency or control of the U.S. Senate, while overlooking vital the contests further down the ballot. Those days are gone -- we can no longer afford to settle for lonely victories at the top of the ticket. We must fight back against conservatives' ground-up strategy with a ground-up strategy of our own.
America Votes and hundreds of our progressive allies are developing [ ] six-year plans within and across states. Our goal is to identify critical opportunities to build back power in the states each year from 2015 through 2020. America Votes will help make hard-nosed assessments about trends on the ground and critical decisions on the best opportunities for us to make progress on our overall goals.
Politico's recent story, "Greens grow into electoral powerhouse," is a great testiment to the value of coordination among progressive organizations. The story focuses on how several of our partner organizations and influential environmental organizations, including League of Conservation Voters, NextGen Climate, Sierra Club, Environemt America and Environmental Defense Action Fund, are collaborating with the broader progressive community and are having a growing impact across the nation.
In the piece, AV President Greg Speed and AV-Florida State Director Josh discussed America Votes' coordinated field work with these groups and their importance to our tables:
NextGen and LCV have emerged as leading members of America Votes, a progressive coalition founded in 2003 that has three dozen national partners, including the AFL-CIO, American Federation of Teachers, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, EMILY's List, House and Senate Majority PACs, NARAL, Service Employees International Union and the National Education Association.
America Votes President Greg Speed said NextGen, which is funded largely by liberal billionaire Steyer, has been a huge asset in mobilizing Democratic voters who tend to skip the midterm elections.
"Thanks to them in a number of these states, we're going to be able to reach our overall goals for contacting drop-off voters," Speed said, particularly in Florida and Michigan.
The new collaboration - and especially the support of NextGen - will enable greens to knock on more than 2 million doors in Florida by Election Day to target drop-off voters, far more than the 300,000 doors the progressive coalition knocked on in the 2010 midterms, according to Josh Giese, who heads the Florida operation of America Votes.
Check out Greg Speed's Huffington Post blog about the impact of women's issues on whole families - not just women - and the role women's issues will play in the 2014 election.
Being a father has taught me the enormous importance of our daughters in making our progressive goals for women a reality. Each day I am with my daughter, I have a growing understanding and appreciation of a point my allies in the women's movement emphasize all the time: women's issues are family issues, too, and are very much in the interest of men -- however slow many of us have been to realize it.
The fight to advance the women's economic agenda is happening in real time and could have a huge impact on the 2014 election. According to a recent analysis by the Voter Participation Center, American Women and other organizations and foundations: 25 states are currently debating bills to address gender wage discrimination; nearly two-dozen states and cities are considering paid family and sick leave measures; and 40 states will consider raising the minimum wage through either legislation or on the ballot in November.
Women are a powerful part of the electorate. The lagging turnout expected among unmarried women, who contributed enormously to progressives' margin of victory in 2008 and 2012, could have a major negative impact in November. Progressives' success or failure will largely be determined by whether unmarried women turn out in numbers roughly equal to their male counterparts.
All of this underscores the essential work of America Votes' partner organizations like EMILY's List, Planned Parenthood, NARAL and Women's Voices Women Vote. These groups are focused on connecting with women voters about what's at stake for them and families, and how their vote will have an impact on advancing the women's agenda. And that is work both women and men should support.
To read the full post, check out Greg's blog on The Huffington Post.
Check Out AV President Greg Speed's Latest Post, "No, It's Not Too Soon To Think About Redistricting"
In his latest post, No, It's Not Too Soon To Think About Redistricting, America Votes President Greg Speed argues that post-2010 partisan gerrymandering in states controlled by extreme conservative governors and legislatures has proven to be one of the single largest roadblocks for the progressive movement today. The decade-long effects of redistricting cannot be ignored, and progressives must make it a priority in our long-term strategy.
"The importance of who controls redistricting still cannot be overstated. We need to be ready to play a long game focused on incremental gains, and six years out from the next census is certainly not too early to prepare for it."
We can't wait until the 2020 to start thinking about how electoral outcomes will affect our ability to advance the progressive issues we care about most like protecting working families, women's health choices, our enviornment and voter access to the ballot. We must begin our work in 2014 to have an impact in 2020 and beyond.
"What happens over several election cycles leading up to the decennial census typically shapes the redistricting process...Every decade presents just five opportunities to elect state legislative majorities, and this November will be our second out of five plays to inch closer to the post-2020 end zone."
To read the full post, check out The Huffington Post.