Gretchen's List: March 2020, An Update After Not-So-Super Tuesday

Dear Friends,

I promise this will mostly be a monthly newsletter, but so much has changed in the past week that I wanted to send an update! Please feel free to forward and share with friends who might be particularly in need of something to do right now (either because they're depressed or frustrated, or because they're about to be quarantined at home and need something other than watching Love Is Blind on Netflix to take up their time).

The biggest development, of course, is that Elizabeth Warren ended her Presidential bid after a disappointing Super Tuesday. No matter what happens between now and November, the next President will certainly be a 73+ year old white man. I am in the "tearing up while listening to the Frozen II soundtrack" phase of mourning ("We'll always live in the kingdom of plenty/ that stands for the good of the many" and "Show yourself!/ Step into your power" were both getting to me during school drop-off this morning). I am seeing two main responses from my network: 1) a focus on flipping the Senate; 2) a desire to talk about advancing women's leadership in elected office. Here are my thoughts on both.

Part I: An Update on the Senate

As I've shared, I firmly believe we can flip the Senate, but it will require hustle across the country from now until November to make it happen. If you haven't yet, pick (at least) one Senate race on which to devote some time, energy, or money. If neither Bernie nor Joe is exciting to you, I hope one of these Senate races will be.

First, what's changed: last week I included Montana on my list of possible flips, with candidate Cora Neumann running. However, it now seems likely Steve Bullock will enter that race. (I have many thoughts on this, but I'll just summarize them by saying that when I first saw that NYT article, I sent it to several friends under subject line: "this fucking guy.") The bottom line is that Cora is a wonderful candidate, but Steve will be much more competitive in a statewide race. I am holding off on sending him money for the moment, but Montana is now much higher on my list (I've also added Alaska and Alabama):

  1. Arizona (Mark Kelly)

  2. Colorado (John Hickenlooper)

  3. Montana (Steve Bullock)

  4. Maine (Sara Gideon)

  5. North Carolina (Cal Cunningham)

  6. Iowa (Theresa Greenfield)

  7. Georgia A (Raphael Warnock)

  8. Kansas (Barbara Bollier)

  9. Kentucky (Amy McGrath)

  10. Texas (TBD)

  11. Georgia B (TBD, but I have decided to support Teresa Tomlinson)

  12. Alaska (Al Gross, running as Independent)

  13. South Carolina (Jamie Harrison)

  14. Alabama (Doug Jones, incumbent)

A reminder that anyone involved in politics will put this list in a different order, but we only need five to win the majority, even if we lose the White House and Alabama. Again, the states in bold are the ones where I plan to invest the most resources, based on 1) likelihood of the seat flipping; 2) money the candidate currently has on hand; 3) my focus on electing women and people of color. You can learn more about and contribute to any (or all!) of the women on this list here.


She's out there, I promise. Here's how we find her.

Understand the challenges. I'm ready for a women to be president. And so are most people in my bubble. But understanding why the rest of the country isn't (and they aren't -- we need to own that) is essential.

Train women to run and give them the network to make it possible. Building the pipeline will normalize women in elected office at every level, and increase the number of women qualified for higher office in coming year.

  • Emerge America! (Yes, I'm on the board of Emerge, but I serve in that role because I'm so passionate about this work, not vice versa.) Emerge trains women to run for their first office, provides them with a network of fellow women elected officials. To date, Emerge has trained over 4,000 women to run, including 739 women serving across the country today. In fact, 40% of the women elected to State Legislatures across the country were Emerge trained. Other Emerge alumnae include Congresswomen Deb Haaland, Abigail Spanberger, Lucy McBath, Xochitl Torres Small, and Kim Schrier; Senate candidate Sara Gideon; Virginia Delegates Danica Roem and Jennifer Carroll Foy, and so, so many others. If you're interested in supporting Emerge, please let me know.

  • Ignite provides training and networking for college women with aspirations as future political leaders.

  • Higher Heights is a political women for Black women, providing them with training and expertise to run.

  • She Should Run is nonpartisan, which is not where I choose to invest. But if you want to contribute to building the pipeline in a tax-deductible way, here you go.

Fund women candidates. Women candidates have a harder time raising money, and most political donors are men. Fund women to get them out of primaries. Fund women to get them to the finish line. Make contributing -- at least small amounts -- to women candidates a habit. For every man running for office that you support, give to at least two women in other races.

  • EMILY's List is the best at this; their endorsements and their ability to invest large amounts at once can really tip the scales for women candidates, especially in primaries.

  • The Electing Women Alliance is my favorite way of giving, because it allows me to have direct conversations with candidates. I want to share, because the Alliance can sound intimidating: the Electing Women Bay Area chapter is not fancy. We pool our money for candidates, get takeout salads and sandwiches, and sit around a conference room table in downtown San Francisco to learn about their races, their positions on issues, and how we can support them. There's probably an EWA chapter in your city. Help me know if I can help you connect with them.

  • Check out Women Count to find slates of women candidates you might like to support. Would you like a slate of LGBT officeholders? Leaders who've signed on to the Green New Deal? Congresswomen who were Girl Scouts or Seven Sisters alums or who played in the Congressional Women's Softball Tournament?

  • HER Time, just launched by former Congresswoman Kate Hill, funds young women running for office.

  • Vote Mama PAC supports women of young children running for office.

Consider where Presidential candidates come from. Presidential candidates used to come largely from gubernatorial seats, but now they're primarily coming from the Senate (just ask John Hickenlooper, Steve Bullock, and Deval Patrick).

  • Help more women become Senators. See above; give here.

  • Make sure this year's Democratic nominee picks a woman as a running mate. You can sign this petition from She the People advocating for a woman of color as a running mate. You can even donate to potential women running mates in the 2020 Veepstakes: anything you give will be swept into the nominee's race if he picks a woman, or it will fund women in down-ballot races if he doesn't.

Vote for women. Just vote for women. If there's a qualified woman, vote for her. (Don't go overboard and vote for Tulsi Gabbard, or think I'm supporting Nikki Haley, but generally, if it's the choice between two candidates who are qualified and with whom you feel aligned, vote for the woman.) Tell your friends you're voting for women. Tell your children you're voting for women. If you need permission to vote for a woman because she's a woman, I'm giving it to you now.

  • From "Identity Politics Strengthens Democracy" by Stacy Abrams: "Embracing the distinct histories and identities of groups in a democracy enhances the complexity and capacity of the whole. For example, by claiming the unique attributes of womanhood—and, for women of color, the experience of inhabiting the intersection of marginalized gender and race—feminists have demonstrated how those characteristics could be leveraged to enhance the whole. Take, for example, the Family and Medical Leave Act, which feminists originally pushed for in order to guarantee women’s right to give birth and still keep their jobs, but which men have also come to rely on to take time off from work to care for children or aging parents."

  • From "Vote for the Woman Because She's a Woman" by Caitlin Moscatello: "There are gains even in the trying. Having multiple women in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary has already changed the discourse of the election. In the first two debates, candidates talked about abortion access, the Equal Rights Amendment and the wage gap–with women onstage addressing those issues, the men have been forced to do so as well. The female candidates have also led the way on proposals for paid leave and affordable-child-care policies."

Please send me any questions or feedback you might have! Wash your hands; vote for women.


Donor, sociologist, obsessive 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. My goals are to help others find their networks and feel more comfortable and informed participating in the political giving space.