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Dec 9 24 tweets 6 min read
Now that the 2022 cycle is behind us, with the beautiful cherry on top of Warnock’s epic win, we want to take a moment to talk about the bigger picture, and put the spotlight on the people who made this cycle of improbable victories happen. (🧵)
We're lucky to have a lot of donors in our network. All the respect and gratitude for them using their resources to make true, structural change. But our role in all of this is relatively small. It’s the organizers, candidates and campaign staff that are the heroes. However.
We do need to take a victory lap, because our women of color-led org got something important right, and before many others saw it. And what we've learned has big ramifications for where American democracy goes from here.
Nonviolent political change in a democracy doesn’t just happen. It’s not driven by demographic trends, or by data, or by unseen forces beyond anyone’s control. It’s driven, in short, by vision and by work.
Change happens from people who make tough decisions, who talk to just one more voter, who raise and spend money, who make persuasive arguments, and from the ones who are late to the victory party because they are still knocking on doors until 7:50 pm on E-day, in the rain.
This kind of thinking is entirely unfashionable. It’s contrary to the dry, detached pundit/prediction brain approach, where the goal is to make politics more boring and keep the power with those who already have the connections to make the system work.
After 2016, establishment Dems seemed adrift and incapable of reflecting on their national losses in a meaningful way. From centering political operations housed in DC and removed from local conditions in states, to the data silos and fiefdoms, to boom and bust money flows ...
... no real shift in strategy was forthcoming to be ready to defeat Trump in 2020. But Way to Win had a theory.

We saw organizers and strategists win local elections despite Trump’s gains in the toughest of places like Arizona, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada.
We listened to how they did it, and to their stories of years of deep organizing, narrative shifting, and building scaled field operations to engage and turn out new voters. In the first pitch deck from our launch in 2018, we identified five south and southwest states ...
with large pools of what we called “high potential” voters. They were young and more diverse, and the national Dem and media establishments were largely ignoring them to shower budgets and attention on persuasion of white swing voters in traditional battlegrounds.
Of those five, the states where the investments have happened at close to the scale necessary for change are VA, AZ and GA. In our first year, 2018, we thought we could raise $7M. We raised $22M and funded 46 grassroots organizations and dozens of candidates to expand the map.
We started winning. With the Trump tailwind, organizers Way to Win funded contributed to victories in 126 out of 186 congressional races. We started building and expanding a strong base in emerging battleground states— particularly Arizona and Georgia.
We’ve also had to shift strategies over time. The Virginia results in 2021 proved that the changes we’ve started to make are still fragile, and that we still don’t have a solid pipeline of the kind of elected leadership that will help make them permanent.
Our winning coalition is multiracial, so we have focused on organizing in diverse communities. But 58% of it is white, and our inclusive approach includes both white voters & voters of color. Many white voters understand that a system based on racial divisions holds us all back.
And, we’ve realized that many establishment consultants were failing to deliver compelling, persuasive messages to multiracial voters in their paid media. So since 2018 we’ve been investing in increasingly sophisticated and persuasive media operations.
Despite all this, we were met with indifference, a series of whisper campaigns, and even open hostility. The @ThirdWayTweet leadership went so far as placing stories about Dems being “too extreme” - *the day before the election* this year. This is what they thought of us in 2018.
It would have been political malpractice to NOT push to add more states to the map in 2020. Without electoral college wins in AZ, GA, and NV, the election would have hinged on a drawn out court battle over thousands of votes in Pennsylvania. Then, in 2020 we went big again...
moving $86M to 347 organizations, funding grassroots and narrative change in 30 states. The rejection of Trump was an epic milestone for our country, but Democrats going zero for 27 in tossup Congressional races was an early warning signal for a VERY tough cycle ahead in 2022.
It would have been easy to go small in 2022. If we’d listened to the smartest guys in the room, we would have. Thermostatic effect and the economic narratives conservatives were pushing were akin to gravity, they said. We’ll be honest: what they were saying gave people pause.
Fundraising in ‘21 was a slog. But we still managed to get $18M out the door to 134 orgs and candidates in 15 states. And we kept pushing for scaled resources in 2022 - stay tuned for our final tally.
It takes a particularly bold approach to look political gravity dead in the eye and say, “nope, not today.” But, we we did. Our first report at the beginning of the year was THE CASE FOR ACTION. We’ll have more to say about 2022 results and funding soon.
Long term, patient organizing. Better stories that inspire, mobilize and persuade our entire beautiful diverse coalition. And bold candidates running campaigns worthy of our highest ideals as a nation. The payoff ...
... is FOUR Senators from new battlegrounds, greatly limited carnage in the House, a rejection of every MAGA Secretary of State candidate, and rafts of state and local victories.
THANK YOU to the tens of thousands of organizers, activists, campaign crews and candidates that made all this possible. Our work is in service to you and the communities you love and serve. We're excited to help build what comes next with you! 🗽🇺🇸

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More from @WayToWinAF

Dec 6
Insights from our eight battleground state, n=3,600 postelection megapoll, led by @AmandiOnAir. The memo is here, including state-by-state breakdowns, national analysis, and for you real nerds, all the crosstabs. 🧵 follows.

This work was featured in @politico by @madfernandez616, @CNN by @RonBrownstein, and @AmandaMarcotte in @Salon this week. Image
YOUTH VOTE SHARE WAS A BFD. Dems lost 65+ by 4, lost 50-64s by 5, tied 30-49s - but absolutely shellacked Rs with 18-29s by 22. D+22! Other analyses have shown that youth were a smaller share of the electorate, but the huge youth margin was clearly decisive. Image
Read 13 tweets
Nov 17
The title of the first gathering Way had in this cycle, in March of 2021, was The Case for Action. It wasn’t that we thought we could win, or that anyone could predict anything. It was the case that we had to act because our democracy was hanging in the balance. A 🧵. Image
Deep organizing + strong narratives + bold candidates - that’s the current Way to Win. This thread is about what we did on the Strong Narratives side. It’s long, because we did … a lot. And this isn't even all of it. We're only hitting some of the high points here!
We were all exhausted from the last four years of fighting Trump, and we knew we weren’t going to make up five decades of conservative investment and total hegemony in ideas marketing. But we had to try, and already had the pedal on the floor on Jan 6th.
Read 20 tweets
Nov 16
"Way to Win co-founder @jenancona said a 2024 contest against a GOP led by Trump as the nominee would be "easier" but they will be ready regardless.
"I think that would probably be easier but it's doable no matter who the candidate is...
...It's the entire Republican Party that has signed up to this extremist agenda... MAGA Republicans wanted to take away a series of freedoms, from reproductive rights to voting rights...
...It all fit into a story about the particular extremism that we are seeing coming out of this Trump or MAGA Republican Party... Making that clear contrast was the most effective way...
Read 4 tweets
Jul 21
Thank you to @melmason and the @latimes for profiling the Plan to Win we have developed with dozens of groups on the ground in Arizona to mobilize the winning multiracial coalition that helped secure the Democratic trifecta in 2020: latimes.com/politics/story… Some highlights:
Ahead of November, it will be local leaders on the ground who can cut through the noise and inspire voters to turn out. Organizations like @OVOV_AZ + @LUCHA_AZ were responsible for adding 58k new voters in a state where Biden’s margin of victory was <10k votes.
Working with these groups and more, our coalition is making an unprecedented effort built around the AZ Secretary of State race, an emphasis which our @torygavito explains here:
Read 5 tweets

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