Welcome to the Super Tuesday edition of the monthly newsletter from Indivisible’s two co-founders, Ezra and Leah. We write this personally each month to give you a sense of what we’re wrestling with, what we’re hearing from the movement around the country, and to hear from you. As always, feel free to reach out directly to us on Twitter: @ezralevin and @leahgreenb.
It’s Super Tuesday, so the theme for this week’s newsletter is simple: anxiety. We’re all feeling it, so we figured we’d address it.
Why we’re hopeful
The presidential primary is interminable and unpredictable. The markets are tanking. The spectre of a coronavirus pandemic is looming. And all the while, every single day, Donald Trump is running for re-election. Things are undeniably dark in American politics right now.
So we wanted to go back a little bit. Remember the Indivisible Guide? You can refresh your memory of that Google Doc here. When we were writing in late November 2016, it was a dark time in America. We kicked off with these lines:
Donald Trump is the biggest popular vote loser in history to ever call himself President-Elect. In spite of the fact that he has no mandate, he will attempt to use his congressional majority to reshape America in his own racist, authoritarian, and corrupt image.
When we sent out a draft of the guide to a few friends and family, we got some sobering replies. One person said this was just too dark. Another suggested that we look on the bright side and paint a more optimistic version of could come. Positive thinking was what we needed at that moment!
But we got one, single, positive response: “When will this go public? I want to give all of my friends and relatives a copy for Christmas.”
That’s who we were writing the Indivisible Guide for. So we published it without edits. Our goal wasn’t to tell people to have hope. Our goal was to tell people they had power. We ended with this conclusion:
We wrote this guide because we believe that the coming years will see an unprecedented movement of Americans rising up across the country to protect our values and our neighbors.
And look what happened. A historic explosion of grassroots energy in opposition to Trump. Defeat of his top legislative priority, repealing the Affordable Care Act. Unprecedented midterm election margins that flipped the House of Representatives. And proceedings that led to the third-ever impeachment of the U.S. President.
Things are still dark, dangerous, and uncertain. And we’re still not here to reassure you that things aren’t all that bad, or to have blind optimism that things will work out for the best. We’re here to tell you that we -- collectively all of us in this Indivisible movement -- have power.
With our Payback Project right now, Indivisible is surpassing 2018-level volunteer engagement already to retake the Senate. With the Indivisible Pledge and Organizing Together 2020, we’re building the volunteer army that will in turn build the blue wave to take the presidency. We did it in 2017, we did it in 2018, we did it in 2019, and we’re doing it in 2020. The proof is in the pudding.
This Indivisible movement has power. And that’s what gives us hope.
What we heard from you
Thanks to the hundreds of you who wrote back thoughtful replies to our last monthly newsletter! Yes, we did read all of them and responded to one or two hundred of you directly. Couple specific call outs:
- Thanks to the many many folks who wrote in about how they’re working to “stop the rain” -- from Georgia to Wisconsin to California, really everywhere! Great to hear about the organizing work in the Indivisible movement across the country.
- Good catch from everybody who pointed out the illegitimately-elected Governor of Georgia is Brian Kemp, not Jack Kemp. Typo on our part! If you want to read a long, fully-fact checked political history and analysis, pick up our book!
- Thanks for all the thoughtful responses wrestling with the issue of “electability.” Our basic thinking is all remaining candidates have a believable argument for their general election electability, and it’s impossible to really know who is “most” electable. Don’t just trust us though -- that’s the assessment of elite electoral prognosticators at 538 too in their recent piece You’ll Never Know Which Candidate Is Electable. So instead of playing the role of political pundit, we recommend you support whoever you want to be president (and then support whoever wins the nomination).
- Thanks for the additional book recommendations on democracy! A couple of you wrote in about Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains. We’d recommend that too! Nancy was helpful in guiding our own thinking when we were in the early stages of writing our book. If you’re looking for another book to give you hope, we’d also recommend Charlotte Alter’s The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For. At a time when existing political leadership is so depressing, Charlotte’s book is a narrative deep dive on rising millennial political leaders, with mini-bios and interviews of emerging luminaries like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Pete Buttigieg, and Lauren Underwood. She kicks off with the ever-relevant observation: “the only real truth, in politics and in life: this, too, shall pass.”
Until next month
As of this email, a little less than 4% of the pledged delegates have been chosen in the presidential primary. Today on Super Tuesday, about 34% of the delegates will be chosen. By the time we write to you in a month, more than 65% of the pledged delegates will have been chosen. Which is all to say, this too shall pass. Soon we will be defeating Donald Trump, retaking the Senate, and working with a trifecta Democratic government to pass historic reforms to our democracy. We are so thankful to everybody in this movement for giving us hope in that future by demonstrating your power.
Ezra & Leah
Co-Founders and Co-Executive Directors, Indivisible