The Blue Wave Happened....

What’s Ahead?

Checks and Balances

We attained enough power to slow down the destructive GOP/Trump agenda at the national level, gained investigative powers as a check on executive power, flipped many state and local governments which will impact redistricting efforts in our favor, and moved long term Republican states from red to purple or blue.

 A New Activism

A large and powerful grassroots movement was born in the months after November 2016. Progressive organizations now have solid infrastructures in place, extensive campaign experience, well developed organizing and campaigning tools, and hundreds of thousands of activists who saw that hard work pays off – all ready to go in 2020.

 A Shifting Political Demographic

The country moved significantly to the left with the biggest impact in the House of Representatives. Hoping for a pickup of 23 House seats to regain control, the Democratic Party gained 39.  Even in most races where a Republican won, they won by a narrower margin than in recent history.  Blue states became bluer and some traditionally red states are now either blue or purple.   Districts that flipped from Republican to Democrat shifted an AVERAGE of 21 points and the average district shifted 10 points to the left, regardless of whether they were red or blue.

 State Power Shifts

The Republicans have state power grossly disproportionate to the number of Republican voters, but we made huge gains, flipping seven governorships (narrowing the governor gap from double digits to 3), six state legislative chambers, and more than 300 state House and Senate seats.  Democrats have total control in 13 states now, compared to the 21 in GOP hands.

Senate Challenges

The Senate was out of reach in 2018 but 2020 is another story when the Senate map is much more favorable to Democrats. Republicans are defending 22 seats and the Democrats just 12. 

 A Legislative Plan

The House will pass major legislation in areas that people are passionate about, such as health care, campaign finance, gun control, and immigration.  The Democrats have already announced their first bill, which will focus on campaign finance reform, ethics, and anti-corruption measures that encompass presidential tax returns and the Supreme Court.  These measures will not pass the Senate or get signed into law but will be powerful tools in 2020 campaigns. People want solutions and Democrats will have them.

 New Voices

The 2018 midterms launched much needed progressive voices into our national politics, such as Beto O’Rourke and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Women, Muslim, gay, transgender, socialist, people of color, and young candidates are now in office and have a lot to say. 

California Leadership

All major statewide offices are now in Democratic hands, as well as a super majority in both houses of the state legislature. The California Republican Party now ranks 3rd in size behind Democrats and Independents and is seen by some as essentially powerless.

Gavin Newsom will be the first Democratic California governor to succeed another Democrat since the 19th century and will lead a coordinated anti-Trump California agenda. 

Democrats now hold 46 of California’s 53 House seats (including a complete flip in all former Republican stronghold Orange County districts).  California representatives hold powerful positions including Nancy Pelosi as the probable Speaker and Adam Schiff as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which oversees the Congressional Russia investigation.

 Marin Matters

Marin’s Congressional Representative, Jared Huffman, will hold one of Congress’s most powerful environmental positions, chairman of the Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans.  

82.4% of Marin voters voted in the 2018 midterms, a record midterm turnout. However, 13% of those voters did not vote in the District Attorney race.  Progressive candidate Anna Pletcher, who was endorsed by both the Marin Democratic Party and Indivisible Marin, lost by less than 400 votes (out of over 132,000 cast).

 A Presidential Election – need we say more.....

 

What we learned

Candidates matter. They represented groups that didn’t have a voice in our politics and often didn’t vote.  They were passionate about change and helping improve the lives of their constituents.  They were great speakers.  They ran smart campaigns. They inspired people to vote.

Local is best.  Successful candidates knew their districts and what the needs were.  They understood the issues that mattered most to their voters and had answers to problems. They didn’t follow a national platform.

Grassroots activism works.  Races that flipped and many of those that almost did, were very close.  Accurate targeting of those winnable districts directed financial and volunteer resources to where they could make the most impact.  Thousands of people and hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours made a difference.

 

What We Need To Do Now

Develop strategies to support progressive candidates in future local elections so that people feel as informed voting in those races as they do in high profile ones.

Hold our newly elected representatives accountable  - pay close attention to what bills the state and federal legislatures develop, how our reps vote, and what bills they are personally working on.  Give them feedback.

Work with Representative Huffman to improve our environmental policies as well as policies on other key     progressive issues such as voting rights, economic justice, immigration and gun reform.

Evaluate existing activist structures and tools, improve them, grow our organizations, and mobilize for 2020.

First-ever TRUTH Act Forum in Marin

On Thursday, December 6th at 5:30 PM, the Board of Supervisors will be holding the first-ever TRUTH Act Forum in Marin County in Room 330 on the 3rd floor of the Marin Civic Center. Citizen participation and comments are encouraged at the Forum.

The Forum will be preceded by a rally at 4 PM on the lawn in front of the post office near the Civic Center.

Effective January 1, 2018, The TRUTH act requires City Councils and Boards of Supervisors in California to hold at least one community forum per year if the Police or Sheriff’s department allowed ICE to access at least one individual in their custody in the previous year. The TRUTH Act defines specific rights of immigrants held in local jails, as well as calls for transparency of local jail entanglement with immigration enforcement. 

Our TRUTH Act Forum will include a presentation from the Sheriff's Department, and a presentation from the Canal Alliance with most of the time set for public comments. 

Citizen participation is being encouraged by ICE Out of Marin. According to Lisa Bennett, one of the group leaders, "We see the rhetoric coming out of DC and we see how being undocumented has become a crime in our community. I encourage you to use the Public Comment time during the Forum to voice your solidarity with our immigrant community and demand that our Sheriff cease cooperation with ICE."

The rally is being facilitated by CIYJA (California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance) and will include speakers who are close to the issue of immigration and to the inhumanity of our deportation system.

This is an opportunity to educate our community as well as our Sheriff and Supervisors about the devastating impact ICE has on families and communities in Marin.

Please plan to attend in the Forum and/or the Rally in support of the immigrant community in Marin.

Marin Protest Today!

Trump is impeding the Mueller investigation and has crossed a red line
Activists nationwide are taking to the streets!

Earlier today, after firing Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump installed one of his cronies to oversee special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, crossing a red line. This action is a brazen effort to interfere in the Mueller investigation. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has previously outlined in great detail how he would impede the Mueller investigation if he got the chance.

MoveOn and progressive organizations nationwide are activating the "Nobody Is Above the Law" network, meaning there will be actions around the country tomorrow, Thursday, November 8 at 5 p.m. local time.

The Marin rally is at 5 p.m. at Court Street Plaza in downtown San Rafael, off of 4th St. between A Street and Lootens. It is is being coordinated by a committee representing various Marin-based advocacy groups. If you plan to attend, please sign up here.

A large crowd is anticipated. Over 1,000 people had signed up previously via the MoveOn site to protest in the event of a constitutional crisis related to the Mueller investigation, and new sign-ups are rolling in quickly following news of the national protest via Rachel Maddow and other high profile people.

Public transportation, carpools and services such as Lyft are advisable. If driving, allow plenty of time for parking.  

Please dress warmly and bring a flashlight if you have one. Homemade signs are encouraged.

This will be a peaceful protest and the safety of all participants is our first priority.

We Did It!

Dems win back the House thanks to massive grassroots support!

Last night, citizen engagement put Democrats back in control of the House. The significance of this victory can not be overstated. We now have legal authority to hold Trump to account, and clout to both advance progressive legislation, and derail much of the Trump/GOP agenda.

Members of Indivisible Marin played an impactful role in making this victory possible. Together, we sent over 500K text messages, wrote 6,000 postcards and made about 1,000 phone calls to elect new, progressive members of Congress - many of them women and minorities.

Katie Hill's win, announced just hours ago, is particularly sweet. For Katie alone, our members sent 100K text messages, wrote 5000 postcards, and made hundreds of phone calls. Right now, with more ballots still to be counted, she is ahead by a mere 4000 votes. So, it is no exaggeration to say that the work of our members could have made the difference between a win and a loss in this district for Katie! We are so proud of this awesome team! It really is true that working hard for every single vote is how races are won.

What's next? Now, after resting a bit, we will get back to our mission - advocating for a clean climate; economic justice; health care for all; voting rights; racial, gender and sexual equality; a woman’s right to choose; and respect for the human rights of all citizens.

We need your input - Next week, we will be sending out a survey to all members. We want to hear from you about the issues that you care most about, and the ways that Indivisible Marin can best support you as activists. We hope that all of you who joined us recently to campaign will continue to stay engaged in our ongoing work to advance a progressive political agenda.

Thank you for all you do to contribute your time, expertise, energy, and commitment to help ensure that American values endure.

In Solidarity,
The IndiMarin Steering Committee - Susan S, Lori, Justine, Laurie & Susan M.

We don't like phonebanking, right? But we don't like Trump more!

Hey, we understand that phone banking is not your favorite campaigning activity. BUT, according to campaign staff and much research, phone banking and canvassing are THE MOST IMPORTANT tactic in the final month of the election cycle. Why? Because interpersonal conversations are the best way to connect with and convince individuals to vote. So lets suck it up and do the thing that is most likely to help vote the ba#*#rds out!

The good news is that campaigns are now rolling out a new form of phone banking called predictive dialing. Using a platform called Hubdialer, the calls are made via the platform and you are only patched through when a person answers the phone. This GREATLY increases the efficiency of phone banking, which is one of the key complaints that some people have with this phone banking.

Please go to our calendar, and sign up for some phone banking events. No worries if you have never done it before - we provide training and support. Once you’ve been trained you can call from home at designated times.

We also offer one-to-one training! Please sign up here to arrange to meet with a trainer at a mutually convenient time.

Thanks for doing what is needed to take back Congress!

Good news from Sacramento!

This year’s California Legislative Season has wrapped up, with bills now waiting for Governor Brown’s signatures.  Throughout 2018, Indivisible Marin has taken StateStrong’s lead in making sure that our elected state officials are voting on bills that we care about.  Many thanks to the leadership of Indivisible Marin members Sue Saunders, Susan Spitzer, Holly Bogin, Doug Brown, and Susan Morgan together with Indivisible Sonoma and Indivisibile Sausalito members Heather Young and Lisa Bennett for joining me in making sure that our elected officials Assemblyperson Marc Levine and State Senator Mike McGuire voted with us.  And, thanks to many of you for making phone calls when we put out a call to action.

See StateStrong’s wrap-up for more details about the bills that we were following this year.  Two bills not on that list because they came to our attention in the last two weeks before the end of legislative session, thankfully failed. AB 84 - The Political Reform Act would have put more money directly into the hands of California legislative leaders, giving them greater influence over campaigns. 25 plus Indivisible Groups, including Marin submitted a letter to the state Elections Committee  in opposition to the bill. The other, AB 813 would have regionalized our electrical grid and given away control of the grid to coal-producing states and the Trump administration. Given that this was a high priority of Governor Brown’s, it was kind of a shocker that the bill died before heading to the floor for a vote.

Our legislative team at Indivisible Marin will be gearing up right after the midterm elections in November to make plans for how we will work with Mark Levine and Mike McGuire once the new legislative year starts in January 2019.  Email indivisiblemarin@gmail.com if you’d like to get involved.

-Lori Saltveit, Steering Committee and Public Policy

 

Join Our Election Security Taskforce

We are working feverishly to get Democrats to the polls in November. But what if their votes are not counted properly? Our efforts could be in vain and Republicans may steal another election.

We are seeking a few volunteers to help with an important project that could help prevent this scenario. Participation entails making calls to election officials - a commitment of a few hours a week for the next several weeks is all it will take. You will be trained beforehand. Calls need to be made during business hours.

If you can do this important work, please contact us at indivisiblemarin@gmail.com.

Background:
Unlike in years past, nearly all votes cast in the United States are fed into computers for counting. Even if you vote on a paper ballot, that ballot is scanned into a computer, not counted by hand. While that may sound efficient, it’s a huge problem because these computers can be programmed to produce any result, no matter how people voted.

The new generation of electronic vote-counting machines have ballot scanners that create a digital image of every ballot and count the votes via the images. Digital image files can safely be made public for oversight without violating voter privacy. These machines are already in use in counties and states all over the country. But elections officials are ignorantly deleting the ballot images, which are legally protected election materials!

Project:
Imagine if you and a group of your friends could count the votes in your community and match your totals against official results. And even challenge the official results when they're wrong (which they often are). This scenario is actually possible!  An organization called AUDIT-USA is setting out to protect our election process through it Ballot Images Project. Courts have already ruled in our favor in both Arizona and Alabama. They are now taking this project nationwide. Our task force will participate in this effort by making calls to elections officials to ensure that they are preserving ballot images.

We need a return to transparent and verified elections.
Please volunteer to help!

You're Invited to Anna Pletcher's Campaign Kickoff!

As you know, Indivisible Marin has endorsed Anna for her demonstrated passion for and alignment with our priorities for advancing social justice in Marin.

Let’s join her at her Campaign Kick Off on Wednesday, September 5th from 6:30 - 8:00 PM at VenturePad in downtown San Rafael.

The Kickoff is an opportunity for Anna to thank supporters for our victory in the June primary—and share how you can get involved to help her win on November 6. RSVP here by August 31 so we can get a headcount.

Also, on September 1st, you can canvas for Anna in Hamilton on Saturday from 10:00 AM -1:00 PM. To volunteer for that or to help Anna’s campaign at other times with phonebanking, textbanking, canvassing and more, sign up here.

To learn more about Anna and to make a donation, visit www.AnnaPletcher.com

Thanks for your support for Anna. She will fight for racial equity in Marin!

Marin Volunteer Recruitment Fair

Do you know people who might want to help us Take Back Congress but don’t know how to begin or get involved?

Please invite them to Marin’s Volunteer Recruitment Fair on Sunday September 16th from 3 - 5:30 PM at the San Rafael Community Center. Or better yet, bring them yourself. It is being hosted by the NorCal Blue Wave Alliance, Indivisible Marin, Indivisible Sausalito, Swing Left Marin, Sister District Marin, and Novato Stands United. All of these groups and more will be present talk about ways that people become get involved and get them signed up and rolling.
 
Send your friends this link and post it on social media! 
 
We also need volunteers to staff the event. Please sign up here for a range of roles.

At the fair, participants will learn about MANY ways they can help and choose those that fit with their schedule and interests. At the end, they will be able to sign up on the spot for electoral actions they can take, both in Marin and in neighboring red districts.

During the fair, we will hold continuous, revolving, 20 minute introductory sessions to demonstrate how to effectively connect with voters using various electoral tools like canvassing, phone and text banking and writing postcards.

All introductory sessions will also have sign-up tables where volunteers can register for specific actions on the dates and times that best fit their schedules. All volunteers will go home with a passport containing detailed information on what they have volunteered for including: the sponsoring organization, the event, the dates and times and website details of all participating groups.

This is a family-friendly event! We will have a kids table to entertain them while their parents register to volunteer!

You can attend the fair for 20 minutes or two hours, whatever fits your schedule!

This coordinated day of recruitment will be part of The September Swell, a month-long volunteer coordination effort involving other cities in Northern California organized by the NorCal Blue Wave Alliance. Bring your friends and family to learn about all the ways you can get involved in flipping Congressional seats to take back power in Washington.

Show up and sign up! Together we can TAKE BACK CONGRESS!

Sister District Study shows postcarding has strong effect on voter registration rates

As our Director of Research here at Sister District Action Network (SDAN), I’m so excited to share the results from our March 2018 postcarding experiment conducted in conjunction with the voter registration efforts of the Voter Participation Center (VPC). Overall, we found that our postcards significantly increased voter registration rates! Read on for more information.

Objective:
To determine if the receipt of a handwritten postcard a week before or a week after receipt of an official voter registration form increased the odds of people completing & sending the voter registration form back to their Secretary of State.

Specifics: 
Sister District Action Network (SDAN) partnered with the Voter Participation Center (VPC) to send handwritten postcards encouraging registration to eligible, unregistered individuals living in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Arizona in March 2018. These postcards were sent in conjunction with VPC’s Voting Age Population Program, which sent official voter registration forms to these same people.

Key Findings:

  • The major finding of this study was that handwritten postcards sent after the receipt of voter registration materials (chasers) had a significant positive impact on the odds that a person would return their materials. Unregistered individuals had 20% higher odds of returning the completed form when they were sent a chaser, compared to the odds of returning the registration form after receiving the form alone (without a postcard). This finding achieved statistical significance (p=.009), after controlling for individual-level variables.
  • Sending a chaser was more effective than sending a postcard prior to receiving the registration form (i.e., a primer). But both target groups that received postcards completed their forms in higher numbers than the control group that did not receive any postcard. This means that receiving a postcard increased the odds of registration completion by about 14%. This finding also achieved statistical significance (p=.036), after controlling for individual-level variables.

Interesting Group Analyses:

  • Race. Asian and Caucasian people had the highest response rates, with both groups returning the largest percentage of registrations by race. Black, Hispanic, and Native American people all had much lower rates, indicating Asian and Caucasian people may have been especially motivated by the postcard in a way that other people were not. It is clear, however, that receiving a postcard after the receipt of the registration form produced the most successful registrations in all racial categories.

  • Age.  Age may also provide some interesting insights about postcard effectiveness. For voters under 25 and voters in the 50-64 age range, the utility of the postcard was minimal. However, for voters 25-39, who had the worst response rate overall, we saw a large increase due to receiving either postcard. We also saw a large increase in voters 65+, the group with the best response rate, when they received the postcard after the registration form. Similarly, people 40-49 also saw a boost from receiving a chaser postcard. This indicates that there may be especially large value in postcarding in conjunction with voter registration form receipt for voters 25-49 and over 65, but may not provide as much value for voters under 25 and between 50-64.

Takeaways:

  • The SDAN+VPC postcard program significantly increased the number of people who successfully completed and submitted their voter registration form through the VPC VAP Program.
  • Sending a postcard after receiving the form was more effective than receiving it before.
  • Postcards were most effective in increasing registration completion among Asian and Caucasian Americans.
  • Postcards were most effective in increasing registration completion for individuals in the 25-39 and 65+ age ranges.
  • Caveat: these subgroup analyses (race and age) provide suggestive evidence about which groups responded best to postcards, but are not definitive evidence. More testing is required to gain a deeper understanding in order to understand how to best engage different groups.

SDAN’s Contributions:

  • SDAN volunteers purchased, completed, and mailed 57,259 postcards to eligible, unregistered individuals. Without your hard work, this experiment could not have been completed!
  • VPC has replicated these results and is now using the central findings in additional voter registration programs and contexts.
  • The results of this study are particularly impressive, considering our expectation of a low response rate due to the particular VPC program that was utilized.

Next Steps:

  • VPC is eager to continue working with SDAN. We are planning a follow-on postcarding experiment. This experiment will target a VPC program know to prompt the highest response rate, will replicate and further validate our results, and will continue to build on this encouraging preliminary work.
  • Note that this experiment tested the use of postcards to boost voter registration.  The study does not tell us about the utility of postcards to boost voter turnout. We will be planning experiments to test the use of postcards for voter turnout, to see if the encouraging results we’ve seen for voter registration extend to turnout. Stay tuned!

Onward,
Gaby Goldstein
Director of Research
Sister District Action Network