We Are Not the Resistance—Trump Is.

The Trump presidency changed everything for me. It's harder for me to enjoy simple pleasures like swimming on a hot day or going to the park with my kids, because I find myself wondering whether this life of freedom I have always enjoyed will last. I stay awake at night because I can’t understand the heartlessness of politicians who value power and wealth over the good of hundreds of millions of people in this country they are supposed to be representing. I am angry at all the injustices we continue to witness, from racial profiling to uncontained gun violence to the steady closure of Planned Parenthood clinics across the country.

We are under attack, and we have rightly stood up against this assault on our values.

The media refers to us as “the resistance.” But there are smart folks out there who have pointed out that we are not “the resistance”—we are part of a movement for a more equal and humane society that is rooted in our nation’s founding.

Donald Trump and his cronies are the real resistance. They are resisting our demand for equality for all regardless of race, gender, or lifestyle. They are resisting the truth that people die without healthcare. They are resisting the call of the working class to stop giving tax breaks to the wealthy at their expense.

We are not resisting Trump—Trump is resisting the will of the people. We the people will prevail, but only if we continue to act.

But action doesn't always come easy. It's July, when we all would like to be on vacation or enjoying what used to be carefree summer nights. Instead, we find ourselves frustrated, wondering if we’re making a difference, asking why more people don’t seem to care that our democracy is coming apart at the seams. Or we feel tired, and we wish we were doing more.

When you have these thoughts, remember that we knew this would not be easy. Remember the power you felt at the Women’s March, the thrill of your first successful activist meeting, or the exhilaration when you saw our efforts pay off with Stephanie Hansen’s victory in Delaware. The road ahead will be challenging. But when you feel defeated, remember that you are not on the fringe—you are on the right side of history.

With that in mind, we have been working very hard to get our volunteer programs in place to turn Virginia blue and to turn the West Coast into a blue firewall this November.

—Rita and the Sister District Team

Photo by Kersten Green.


New Programs & Updates

PHONEBANKING

Phonebanking is ramping up!

  • We have launched weekly SDP Open Hours for three of our campaigns (David Reid, John Bell, and Manka Dhingra), and SDP volunteers have already made over 10,000 dials.
  • We’re launching weekly SDP Open Hours for six new campaigns next week (Chris Hurst, Elizabeth Guzman, Kathy Tran, Danica Roem, Mike Mullin, and Zack Wittkamp).
  • Many of you will be receiving emails announcing new phonebanking opportunities this week, and the rest are coming soon!

POSTCARD PROGRAM

We are putting the finishing touches on the official SDP Postcard Program!

  • We’ve been consulting with the campaigns, as well as our experienced postcarders here in SDP, to create a system that we think will work smoothly and effectively.
  • Our first postcard drives will be for David Reid and Cheryl Turpin.
  • If you’re assigned those races, keep an eye out for an email with more info soon!

EVENTS SUPPORT

Are you planning a public SDP event? We’d love to help promote, publicize, and share best practices! Please fill out our new event intake form.

DISTRICT CAPTAIN COMMITTEES

There are quite a few District Captain committees that HQ is supporting. Here are two that we’re especially excited about:

  • SDP Resource Library, covering topics from Sister Races to how to be an effective DC and volunteer; and
  • SDP Mentorship Program to pair up more established DCs and teams with those that are just emerging.

Data AND RESEARCH TEAM

Our amazing volunteer researchers are working on a number of exciting projects, including 2018 race targeting. If you’d like to get involved, particularly if you have web development, data, or analytics skills, please let us know!

To learn more about any of our programs, ask questions, or help out, please get in touch!

Announcing Six New Sister Races!

We are thrilled to announce an additional six races for the 2017 Virginia State House of Delegates elections in November. We offer our congratulations and support to these candidates:

These candidates are exceptional and, in some cases, history-making. They fought hard and prevailed in the primaries, and we are excited to add them to the list of candidates we have already been supporting---which you have been crushing, by the way!

* In the primary for Virginia District 2, the winner won by only 12 votes. So, that district is having a mandatory recount which will take place over the next month. We will be supporting whichever Democrat won the primary, so stay tuned for the winner!

Here's the plan moving forward:

You and your team already have a Sister Race, which you will keep through November. But because we want everyone to have the opportunity to support a candidate from this exciting new list, all teams will be formally paired with a second Sister Race. Your next assignment will be coming in a separate email that you will receive shortly. 

One note: We know that some of our teams are dedicated to their first Sister Race and would prefer to stay focused on just one candidate for now. If you are one of those teams, you'll receive a separate follow-up note from your District Captains regarding next steps. (If you want to throw some dollars to more than one candidate regardless, please do!)

If you have any questions, please reply to this email and we will get back to you as soon as we can. 

Remember, the only way we win back power in government is to win elections. State elections in particular are important, because states control redistricting

Right now, Republicans are just two states away from being able to call for a constitutional convention, a movement being funded by far-right groups like the Tea Party and the Koch Brothers to destroy our country as we know it. 

Republicans have so badly gerrymandered their states that the majority of the population is consistently beholden to the minority, who will literally violate the law to keep themselves in power. The situation is dire. Every seat in every state that we win makes it harder for them to march down this path of tyranny.

We know it may feel strange to live elsewhere in the country and hear us asking you to support a state legislative race in Virginia. But this year, Virginia is the only Republican state holding legislative elections, and taking hold of this badly gerrymandered state is an important first step to re-building our foundation.

We can't wait to see what you can do over the next few months. Keep an eye out for more details from us and your district captain about your second race!

Rita, Gaby, Lala & Candis

Lessons from Georgia Six

Like many of you, I was furiously refreshing my feed all night to find out whether Jon Ossoff would win or lose, and unfortunately, the news was not good. But let me put this in perspective.  

If all our hopes for this election came to fruition and Jon Ossoff had won, it would have been a pyrrhic victory. If he won, would the Democrats have taken control of Congress? If he won, would he have been able to stop the repeal of the ACA? If he won, would that lone Congressional seat, 1/435th of the power in the House, really have made a difference for us?

The answer to all of those questions, as you know, is no. 

So why did we care so much? We cared because we are desperate to believe that Trump's election was a fluke. We are trying to convince ourselves that if we can win an election in a conservative district in Georgia, that it is a signal that the tide is turning. But it's just not that easy. We can turn the tide, but we have to be strategic, and we have to think long-term. 

Consider this: $23 million was spent on Jon Ossoff in this election. It was the most expensive House race in history. And yet, it had almost no electoral significance. To an outsider, this would seem an absurd waste of resources.

What if, rather than pouring money and effort into a race that would not change the game for us, we poured money and effort into races that will change the game for us?

If Democrats spent $23 million in Virginia for the 2017 House of Delegates elections, we would win handily. This would allow us to take control of a chamber, reverse Republican gerrymandering, create a safeguard against the Koch Brothers' efforts to get control of enough states to call for a constitutional convention, AND we would be able to win additional seats in Congress simply by instituting fairer redistricting--no $23 million per race required!

Our strategy at Sister District is simple. Find and support state legislative races that are strategic and winnable for Democrats and that will make a difference for us electorally. Because winning back seats in government is the only way to stop the Trump train. 

Oh, and as for the ridiculous claim that Ossoff lost because Republicans "successfully tied him" to liberals from outside the area? I don't buy it. Ossoff lost by five points in a special election in a district where the Democrat normally loses by 20+ points. Ultra-rich donors like the Koch brothers, groups affiliated with the Tea Party, and the NRA pour millions of outside dollars into lots of Republican races. Sister District is extremely proud to be supporting our fellow Americans across the country in communities that share our values, and we do so openly with our light money donations. We do not conceal ourselves in the shadows like dark money Republicans.

It took the Republicans eight years to amass the power they have today. It is not going to change overnight, and it will require a lot of hard work. But there is a clear path forward, and I am glad you are walking with me. Keep supporting your Sister Races, and keep your eyes open for our second slate of candidates in Virginia, which we will announce next week. 

Never give up.

Why Virginia?

The past two weeks have been anything but dull. Trumpcare 2.0 made its way through the House, and the president fired the FBI director, who just happened to be the guy investigating him. Through it all, we are reminded of this painful truth:

Elections have consequences.

But the good news is this:

Elections have consequences!

We can’t change the past, but the future is ours.  We are frequently asked to protest, march, and sign petitions, but the only thing that matters is winning elections. That is why you joined Sister District.

We announced our first wave of nine Sister Races in April, and already you have raised almost $25,000, which goes directly to these candidates! We held a training in Virginia last weekend, and we have another training in Seattle this weekend. We are preparing for phone banking, canvassing, and postcard-writing campaigns. If you have not yet been connected to your district captain, let us know (we respond to every message!) and we will be sure to get you squared away.  And don't forget that after the Virginia primaries in June, every team will get a second Sister Race to support.

Now that you have your Sister Races, most of which are Virginia House of Delegates races, we want to address the questions: Why the states, and why Virginia?

Getting involved in state legislative races is the most valuable action we can take this year. Here’s why:

  • Redistricting. State legislatures often control redistricting.  The Republicans have badly gerrymandered the states they control, keeping themselves in power and preventing proportional representation. The only way to reverse this is to win back state legislatures.
  • One Thousand Seats Lost. Over the past decade, the GOP has invested heavily in state legislative seats, and unfortunately, it has paid off. Republicans now control both chambers in 33 states, and Democrats hold 1,000 fewer state legislative seats than they did in 2008.
  • Trifectas. There are 25 Republican trifecta states, where Republicans control both chambers of state government and the governorship.  Democrats have only 6 trifecta states.  This is why we have been seeing so much awful legislation becoming law on issues of reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, gun control, immigration, and more.
  • States are Policy Laboratories. State level policies often serve as templates for national policy, and also for other states to adopt. We need strong Democratic state legislatures to set progressive policies that can be adopted elsewhere.  
  • Constitutional Convention.  If Republicans gain control of one more state legislature, they would be able to call for a Constitutional Convention to amend our federal Constitution. 

Ok. We know states are important. So why Virginia?

  • Only 2 states are having general legislative elections this year: Virginia and New Jersey. Virginia’s House of Delegates is heavily Republican, whereas both of New Jersey’s legislative chambers are controlled by Democrats.
  • Virginia has gone blue for the past three presidents, but its House of Delegates has 66 Republicans and 34 Democrats.  This is partly because the General Assembly controls redistricting, and Virginia is a heavily gerrymandered state.
  • Hillary Clinton won 51 of the 100 House of Delegate districts, and every one of those seats is up for grabs this year.
  • In 2015, there were 44 districts that did not even have a Democratic candidate. This year, there are only 20 districts without a Democratic candidate.
  • There are 17 districts that Hillary Clinton won that currently have a Republican delegate. All of those have a Democratic challenger.
  • The candidates coming forward to run are diverse, they include many women, people of color, and millennials. 

We could talk about the importance of Virginia all day.  But the bottom line is that the Republicans would love to add Virginia to their list of trifectas.  We need to win back the Virginia House of Delegates to lay the first brick in our firewall that will guard against a complete Republican takeover of this country.

We all know that elections have consequences.  And smaller elections can have giant consequences. Smaller elections also allow our relatively small organization to make a big difference.  So be proud to support your Sister Races!  They matter, more than anyone realizes. Seat by seat, we will remind the Republicans that two can play at this game.

And a reminder: we at Sister District are continuing to fundraise for our operational expenses so that we can support these important races.  We are so very grateful for your overwhelming generosity! Please check out our fundraising page to learn more and donate.

Keep up the amazing work!

Rita, Gaby, Lala, and Candis

It's almost time for 2017 race announcements!

It’s race season! We know everyone has been eagerly awaiting their race assignments. We have been pouring over our research, making contact with campaigns, and setting up the infrastructure for our Sister Race assignments so that we can announce our first round of races this month. We have also finalized our legal status and are officially able to accept donations for our operational expenses. Read on for details!

2017 SISTER RACES
Wave 1. On April 19, we will be announcing our official support for nine races, and every Sister District team will be matched with one of these. That means that you will be able to start working on behalf of an actual candidate who faces a tough election in November. The important state legislative races we will announce are in Virginia, Washington, and Georgia. When you get your assignment, we will give you a welcome packet with information about your candidate, the candidate’s district, and how to get started. We hope you’re excited—we sure are!

Wave 2. Another wave of Sister Races will be assigned in June, and every district will get a second Sister Race at that time. These are races where there is more than one Democratic candidate in the primary, and we are waiting until the primary has occurred to know who the candidate is. Again, you will receive information on your candidate and his or her race. 

FUNDING FOR SDP
Until now, we have not accepted a penny for our work. All operational expenses have been shouldered by our founders, and we are run entirely by volunteers. We wanted to make sure that we undertook appropriate due diligence and had a robust operation before seeking funding.

After carefully considering all our options, we are now registered as a 527 political organization and a political action committee (PAC). With our growing number of volunteers, technology needs, professional and compliance fees, and operational expenses, we need funding to continue to support our efforts and begin to hire full-time staff.

So we are kicking off our fundraising right here! Please contribute $20 or more today to help us meet our goal of raising $20,000 from you, our founding members, by June 1. 

No amount is too small! If you are happy with our organization and excited to get to work, please consider donating. We thank you for all your efforts and, with your support, we hope to continue doing this necessary work with you for years to come.

MOVING FORWARD
Friends, it has only been five months since our world turned upside down. That feeling of despair has not faded. Knowing that we still have almost four years of corruption, lies, intolerance, and heartbreak coming at us from those who run the country that we cherish is still hard to accept.

But if you are receiving this email, you are not sitting idly on the sidelines. You made the decision to resist, to fight, and to stand up for democracy. You have chosen to act by helping progressives win at the ballot box. This is the only way to return power to the majority of our country, where it belongs.

We are with you all the way, and we are humbled by your passion and persistence. With heads down and sleeves rolled up, let's get to work.

Looking forward,
Rita, Gaby, Lala, and Candis

Upcoming Races

  • Georgia   U.S. House District 6  April 18, 2017   
  • Alabama  67th State House District April 18, 2017 
  • Georgia  32nd State Senate District  April 18, 2017 
  • Connecticut  7th State House District  April 25, 2017 
  • Connecticut  68th State House District  April 25, 2017 
  • Louisiana  42nd State House District  April 29, 2017
  • Louisiana  8th State House District  April 29, 2017
  • Louisiana  2nd State Senate District  April 29, 2017 
  • Oklahoma  28th State House District  May 9, 2017 
  • New York  30th State Senate District  May 23, 2017 
  • New York  9th State Assembly District  May 23, 2017  
  • New Hampshire  44th State House District  May 23, 2017
  • New Hampshire  6th State House District  May 23, 2017
  • Montana  U.S. House At large  May 25, 2017
  • South Carolina  State House District 84  May 30, 2017-
  • South Carolina  3rd State Senate District  May 30, 2017-
  • California  U.S. House District 34  June 6, 2017