We need collective action across the board. Progressive “blue” states can’t solve problems without working with “red” states.
We face unprecedented issues. Climate models show that we have already passed major tipping points and the math isn’t on our side to solve the problem without major changes to policy. The pandemic has had the dual effects of both increasing wealth inequality while pushing millions into poverty, not to mention that the actual infection rates are continuing to rise.
To solve these issues. We need collective action but our political parties are wholly unable to achieve the change necessary. While Democrats have focused on policy, Republicans have focused on winning. What we’re left with is a party that has ideas but can’t implement them, and another party that holds power at state and local levels but has literally no ideas on policy regarding public health, income inequality, racial equality, or climate change.
What we’ve tried and how it’s failed:
After the 2016 election of Donald Trump, Democrats saw a huge influx of money and organizing efforts yet in all but key battleground states, voting in 2020 had essentially the same results. Why didn’t the extra focus by Democrats on winning elections show a substantial difference in rural states?
I believe one answer lies in identity. Our identities are one of the key factors in how we make our day-to-day decisions. If I see myself as an outdoors type person, I will make decisions that reaffirm that identity. I’ll buy the truck instead of the sedan. Work by political scientists over the last few years seems to show that our political identities assumed more importance than our other identities including even racial or religious identities.
What we’re doing:
This is the basis of the organization I helped to found. We want to leverage the fact that people will vote to reaffirm their identity, namely Republicans will vote Republican in Republican states. We also recognize that Republicans hold an advantage in rural places and already have the infrastructure to win elections.
Our mission then, is to get progressive candidates on the ticket as Republicans where they are likely to win in a general election. We firmly believe that the Republican party offers the best vehicle for progressives to gain positions of power in state government where they can enact change to the scale we need in order to solve some of our most pressing issues.
We are doing this in 3 key ways:
- Good old fashioned organizing. We are finding progressives in every voting precinct who will register as Republicans and get involved in their precinct in order to gain a seat at the Republican nominating convention as voting delegates. With enough delegate votes at the nominating convention, a progressive candidate can avoid a primary race and advance directly to the general election. Due to the apathy at the precinct level, often becoming a precinct delegate is as simple as volunteering.
- Recruiting progressive candidates to run as Republicans. We are working to identify and recruit progressive leaders who could take on the responsibility of representing a state district. We are working to connect these individuals with resources to help them run successful campaigns.
- Building a Conservative Progressive platform. Progressive policies are popular even in rural and conservative areas. Most people see the need for healthcare, economic opportunity, and clean air. We want to craft policy messaging that resonates with conservative voters. It can be done. Don’t forget that Utah voted overwhelmingly for Bernie Sanders in both the 2016 and 2020 primaries. We also voted, via referendum, to legalize marijuana, expand medicaid, and appoint non-partisan redistricting committees; all of which were overturned or severely reigned in by state legislatures.
What we need:
To accomplish our goals, we need volunteers who can help canvass to spread our organizing message, and we need donations to support those efforts. We are working to solicit recurring donations online, mainly focusing on progressive cities who can’t see the collective change we need without help from “red” states. Passionate progressives in progressive areas don’t have a ton of hands-on work they can do but their donations will help support door knocking in red states.
Additionally, we are working to court and recruit volunteers. We are working with local nonprofits and community groups to build our network of passionate organizers.