The Sister District Project harnesses the energy of volunteers in deeply blue (or red) places and channels it to where it can make a real impact. We are a network of local teams that support strategic, winnable races across the country.
Our focus is down-ballot on critical state races where Democratic control hangs in the balance.
Together, we will ensure that all Americans have equal representation and our government works for all people, not just the minority in power.
The Sister District Project activates the power, passion, and creativity of volunteers to win elections and turn states blue.
By 2020, the Sister District Project will lead the movement to turn state legislatures blue and ensure fair redistricting by empowering an enduring community of volunteers who are formidable in their ability to help Democrats win elections.
Integrity: We believe in doing what is right even when nobody else is looking.
Strategy: We are thoughtful and deliberate in forming our plans, setting our priorities, and deploying our resources, always ensuring that they advance us toward our goals.
Kindness: We work collaboratively and treat people both inside and outside our organization with respect and generosity.
Creativity: True to our scrappy beginnings, we encourage innovation and ingenuity at all levels.
Tenacity: We move forward with a curious and problem-solving attitude, and we do not give up.
HOW IT WORKS
When you sign up to volunteer, you will be connected with your local Sister District team, which is led by volunteer District Captains. Your team will be matched with a strategically important and winnable race that needs your help, and you will be given specific actions to take to support that race. Actions may include (but are not limited to) donating money, spreading the word on social media, phone banking, text-banking, fundraising, and canvassing. Sister District will be in direct contact with the campaigns we support and we will have specific action items from the campaign for volunteers to take on.
On November 8, 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton won the popular vote for president by almost three million votes. Over the past decade, Democrats have, in several instances, won more net votes than Republicans in elections for Congress and state legislatures, yet Republicans continue to dominate both legislative bodies. Despite the majority of the country's voters voting Democrat, this year Republicans claimed 55% of the seats in the House of Representatives and 32 state governments. Republicans are now just six states short of having the power to amend the Constitution. What is happening?
State governments have the power to draw congressional districts. After President Obama was elected in 2008, Republican elites enacted a plan called REDMAP where they began spending millions of dollars to take control of what is now 32 state governments. Their plan worked, and gaining control of state governments allowed them to gerrymander congressional districts, pass voter suppression laws, and grasp a disproportionate amount of power in the House of Representatives and state legislatures. As a result of these tactics, the majority of American voices are being silenced on both the state and federal levels.
The geographical separation of blue and red voters and the "packing" of progressive voters into dark blue districts leaves many blue voters feeling helpless. Those who live in dark blue areas are often choosing between two progressive candidates; those votes feel wasted and volunteer efforts are not particularly necessary. There is a desire in blue communities to help progressive counterparts in red districts, particularly swing districts, across the country, but the opportunities seem largely abstract.
Since the election, we have spoken with dozens of people, including elected officials, candidates, political operatives, activists, entrepreneurs, and other engaged individuals, who are determined to change the electoral map. Through these discussions as well as our independent research, the following three principles emerged that will guide the direction of this project.
1. STATE ELECTIONS ARE KEY
It would be great to flip 24 seats in the House of Representatives in 2018 to give Democrats the majority. However, because of Republican gerrymandering, there are structural barriers that will make this difficult no matter how many volunteers we have. We believe the better approach right now is to focus on state races that would give democrats a strategic advantage and, if we win, will make it easier to win national elections.
2. the democratic pipeline needs work
In order to win seats at the national level, we have to cultivate and support good Democratic candidates at the state level. The Democrats have neglected state races, which leaves us with few good national candidates, making it hard or impossible for us to win those races. We need to focus on sub-national races and candidates in order to grow the pipeline for national office.
3. Democrats need to donate more money
Republicans outspend Democrats on state elections by a ratio of three to one. Money is the single most important factor that will determine whether a candidate will succeed, especially early in the campaign, and a donation goes much further for a candidate with a small budget than a national candidate. If you can, open up your checkbook.