Gretchen's List: Election Day Game Plan

Dear Friends,

We’ve made it.

My secondary goal for Election Day was to truly feel that I had done everything I could do to defeat Donald Trump and his enablers, while working towards a more progressive future. I believe I’ve accomplished that. My primary goal, of course, is to win.

If you’re still trying to figure out your time and headspace over the next 48 hours and need some ideas, here are mine:

  1. Prepare yourself for an extended period of ambiguity. Check out FiveThirtyEight’s When to Expect Election Results in Every State to manage your expectations, and this article from CNN on Election Night “mirages” and how the early returns may change over time (remember: Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin are likely to become more blue as mail-in ballots are counted). Basically: if we need to know the winner of Pennsylvania to know the winner of the Electoral College, we’re going to be in this a while.

  2. Help keep voters in line. Send Pizza to the Polls to feed waiting voters, or help cover the cost of Port-a-Potties.

  3. Make sure Pennsylvanian voters are having their ballots counted. First, sign up for Ballot Cure Training (ideally today, Monday), and then sign up for the Pennsylvania Ballot Cure Phone Bank on Election Day. You will be contacting people who voted by mail, but whose ballots have not been accepted by their local boards of elections. You will be calling and texting these voters to encourage them to vote provisionally at their local polling place.

  4. Check out the Emerge America YouTube channel for content throughout the day, featuring speakers such as Amanda Litman (Run for Something), Maria Teresa Kumar (Voto Latino), Genny Castillo (Blue Institute), and many more.

  1. Follow the Election Night Integrity Project from Data for Progress for responsible, data-backed reporting on the status of vote counting state by state.

  2. Watch for the Senate majority. We are likely to know which party will have control of the Senate sooner than we know who won the Presidency. If we see east coast Senate race wins in Maine and North Carolina, we can feel optimistic about a Democratic majority.

  3. Look for victories that signify a real shift in power. Watch for Raphael Warnock and/or Jon Ossoff in Georgia, or Jaime Harrison in South Carolina, or MJ Hegar in Texas. Victories for any of these candidates will indicate that we’ve effectively expanded the electorate in these southern states, and that we’re tapping into the New American Majority that centers people of color. This is essential to moving the Democratic party forward and leftward and to achieving reflective democracy. You can also check out how many women we’re electing to Congress this cycle, through the Center for American Women in Politics’s Election Night Tracker.

  4. Watch for down-ballot races that will have an outsized impact. If Democrats win the Texas State House, we will be able to ensure fair districting for the next decade — which will, in turn, impact national politics for even longer. The same is true in both chambers in Arizona and North Carolina, and the Florida State House. These will be incredible and meaningful victories if we can pull them off.

  5. Keep an eye on ballot measures. Abortion in on the ballot in both Louisiana (Amendment 1) and Colorado (Proposition 115). If it passes in purple Colorado, especially, we should prepare ourselves for similar measures in many more states in 2022. And with our new Supreme Court Justice, this is a deep concern (I had some feelings about this last week on Twitter, if you’re interested). Sabato’s Crystal Ball has a good run-down of the really critical ballot measures up for a vote.

  6. Be prepared to resist any and all narratives that give power to a claim of victory before the will of the voters is clear. We are unlikely to know the winner of the Electoral College on Election Night. Because Trump is unhinged, we need to consider what that uncertainty means. Most importantly: if Trump declares a victory prematurely — likely accompanied by litigation efforts to disqualify or throw out legally cast votes after election — we should be clear-headed and focused in our response. Be firm in a message that votes must be counted. And, if Trump attempts to undermine a Biden victory, be clear that the election result reflects the will of the people.

See you on the other side,


P.S. Just watch it.

Donor, sociologist, researcher. Board member at WDN Action and Emerge America, and steering committee member at Electing Women Bay Area -- but all content here is mine alone and not on behalf of any organization or business. My goals are to help others find their networks and feel more comfortable and informed participating in the political giving space.