Hope: Notes from the Road
From Red State to Blue, Pro-Democracy Energy is Building
Since launching my book, “Saving Democracy,” a few weeks ago, I've had in-person and virtual events in New York, Oklahoma, Boston, West Virginia, Florida and Connecticut. I'll have more coming up in Ohio, Iowa & so on.
And do you know what I've seen in all these conversations?
HOPE! And some unity.
Why hope? Even in a troubling time.
Because whether it's a breakout session of rural Oklahomans or a gathering of progressives from Acton, Mass, people really do see that we are in a battle for democracy itself.
They see that that battle starts in states and statehouses, where the GOP has been on offense, attacking democracy & advancing extremism, for far too long without much pushback from those of us who cherish democracy.
They see that to combat this, we need a broader strategy than just focusing on swing states for federal races (as important as they are) because it's become so painfully clear that even if we win those races, we can still LOSE the battle for democracy if we allow democracy to be crushed back in state after state.
And they see that that strategy must include building an infrastructure that VALUES running everywhere, because it's becoming so clear (from Tennessee to Texas to Florida), that so much of what's fueling out-of-control extremism is the fact that in far too many places, extremist politicians are exercising power with no accountability--heck, they often face no opponents whatsoever. So OF COURSE they're going to be extremists--all they worry about is the next primary!
And from Oklahoma to West Virginia to New York to Boston, people also are starting to see that the battle for democracy is a never-ending, rolling battle, and doesn't just include the federal election cycle.
Which is why over the past year, folks in all these places were fired up to help protect choice in Kansas, and flip the Pennsylvania statehouse, and stop an election denier from taking over the Arizona Sec of State's office, and elect a new Wisconsin Supreme Court, and are NOW fired up to crush Issue 1 in Ohio this August, then protect abortion access in Ohio in November, and flip Virginia in November, then roll right into 2024 to not only protect and secure federal offices, but keep working to win in states and statehouses around the country, which means recruiting and supporting candidates EVERYWHERE.
So many now see that the front line of the battle for democracy is everywhere, including where you/they are. And nobody in ANY state (swing state or not) should be forced to live in a state that lacks the basics of a functioning and healthy democracy. Which means we must fight for that goal in every state. (And we now realize that when we don't, we are providing the oxygen that fuels extremism).
I'm hopeful because all the places I've been to in recent weeks, as different as they may be, ALL have been in agreement on all of this. And people from all of these events and places are energized and working hard to act on these insights.
They're fired up to build a broader gameplan that acts on all this. A gameplan that feels intuitively right and addresses flaws that have become so obviously problematic in recent years.
And they know their collective effort can make THE difference.
And of course I’m honored that many are so passionate that they are even willing to read through a “user’s manual” to learn more about everything they can do to battle for democracy effectively.
So what I’ve seen as I’ve rolled out this “user’s manual” in all these places—as different as they may be—is that there's an energized pro-democracy activism building all over. It's raring to go, and focused on a broader and smarter strategy than how we’ve tried to protect democracy in the past.
So let's harness this energy and hope, and go on offense, everyone.
Let’s keep building the pro-democracy infrastructure we need. Let’s scale it up! Now!
And, of course, if you want to learn all the specifics on how you too can join this movement, grab my new book:
And if you have a group that wants to play an active role in this work, but you're looking for some direction on exactly how, reach out to me.
Wherever you live, know that you are on the front line of democracy, and it's time to go on offense.
And there are so many others out there working to do the exact same thing.
And I'm here to help!