Gretchen's List: 253 and Counting

Dear Friends,

Well, welcome to the other side.

The good news: all indications suggest Joe Biden will win the Electoral College. I haven’t quite put my bottle of champagne from 2016 on ice, but I did pull it out of the basement fridge. (Don’t worry, I didn’t get a cursed cake this time!)

So why doesn’t this feel better? First, because we wanted a landslide. I don’t think I knew how much I wanted a landslide, because I realized, objectively, it was not likely. But as the results came in, it was crushing to see how many people still supported Trump, how many Americans are just willing to sign up for four more years of racist authoritarianism, and how hard we had to fight for these small margins of victory. We wanted an immediate, definitive, and profound rejection of Trump. We didn’t get that. But I do think that, when all the votes are counted, we will have defeated the greatest threat to American democracy in any of our lifetimes.

The second reason is the Senate. I don’t yet understand what happened with the Senate. We needed +3 seats to gain control, a goal that seemed eminently doable. Right now we’re at +1 (with pickups in Colorado and Arizona, and a loss in Alabama). I’ll be honest: I am gutted by the Senate results. Sara Gideon in Maine was up between 4-8 points in recent polls; she appears to have been soundly defeated by Susan Collins as the votes are still being counted. Cal Cunningham’s race in North Carolina has not yet been called, but after consistently polling a few points up, the odds of winning are vanishingly small. We thought Theresa Greenfield’s race in Iowa would be a toss-up; she lost by 7 points. Races that seemed possible stretches (Kansas, Alaska, Texas), were not really close. I don’t know why the numbers were so wrong. It’s devastating to know that Mitch McConnell, the worst human, will be able to block Biden’s every policy objective and judicial appointment without hesitation or shame.

And, without trying to depress you, the gains we hoped to make in state legislatures — to lead to fair redistricting — also didn’t happen. We also lost several seats in the US House that we thought we’d be able to keep. Without these victories, the work of repairing our democracy remains an uphill battle. I hope you all are with me for the long haul.

Donald Trump has made it clear that he intends to declare victory regardless of the result. Thus far, the news media do not seem to be taking these claims seriously, and Twitter is basically censoring every other Tweet he types. Some people have asked me about where to fund the upcoming legal battles. I think it is not yet clear if or where this money will be most needed, so I recommend waiting a few more days until we get a clearer picture. Trust me — I’ll keep you posted if I think there’s somewhere that money needs to be spent. For now, your talking points are:

  1. Count all the votes.

  2. (Once the votes have been counted) The people have spoken; the will of the voters is clear. Joe Biden will be our next President.



P.S. Speaking on behalf of California donors, screw you, Lindsey Graham, every penny we spent against you and your cowardly compatriots that gave you (and Mitch!) even a moment of anxiety was worth it.

All Eyes on Georgia

In the coming hours and day, we will be focusing on Georgia. Expect an email from me soon specifically about Georgia and the work that needs to happen there. In addition to watching closely for their Electoral College votes, we will have at least one Senate run-off (hopefully two). These races represent our only remaining path to parity in the Senate. I cannot overstate how essential it is that we stay energized and focused on these races. Reverend Raphael Warnock will be in a race against appointee and sitting Senator Kelly Loeffler; we are deeply hoping that Jon Ossoff will be able to cut into Senator David Perdue’s margin enough to trigger a run-off. (In Georgia, if neither candidate gets 50%, it goes to a run-off.) These elections will happen in January. It will be Georgia, Georgia, Georgia for the rest of 2020.

I would be remiss to talk about where we are in Georgia without mentioning Stacey Abrams. There is no more apt picture of American politics right now than a Black Woman running the ground game in a “red” state for years, before national Democratic politicos wake up to the fact that with an expanded electorate, we can win there, and, in fact, we must win there. All Democratic roads to victory rely on Black women. If you want to get a jump start on the remaining work to be done in Georgia, check out Stacey’s two organizations: New Georgia Project and Fair Fight.

More to come.

Electing Women

I went on a rant on Facebook today (so, those of you who are friends with me there, bear with me):

Ok, I have an idea, hear me out: more than one “Year of the Woman.”

I’m still optimistic about Biden, and thrilled to have our first woman Vice President. But unless things start turning around in Maine, we are probably sending 0 new women to US Senate and gubernatorial seats this year.

Sara Gideon, Theresa Greenfield, Barbara Bollier, and MJ Hegar were exceptional candidates; I am heartbroken about their races. I really thought we’d be calling one or two of them Senator.

And in the House, we’ve lost Xochitl Torres Small, Debbie Mucarsel Powell, Donna Shalala, and Abby Finkenauer (and possibly a few others). It’s crushing. (We’ve gained Cori Bush, Teresa Legar Fernandez, and hopefully Hiral Tiperneni, which is satisfying. But I wanted more.)

All we can do is keep building the pipeline and changing what leadership looks like. I am grateful always for Emerge and Electing Women Bay Area, and especially today.

I went on a diatribe back in March about electing women, so my willingness to talk about this for as long as you all will keep reading is old news. And the victory of putting a woman of color in the Vice Presidency? Well, if you’re not thrilled by that, watch this video until you are.

But otherwise, wow, did these results feel like a punch in the gut. And as we watch John Hickenlooper cruise to a victory in Colorado, while Mark Kelly wins by 5+ points in Arizona and Cal Cunningham’s race isn’t yet called in North Carolina (though I don’t believe he’ll win), with Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff looking at run-offs in Georgia… well, it feels hard to believe gender wasn’t a factor here. (Yes, two of these women were running against Republican women incumbents — but this is also a function of who gets attention, who gets funded, and who gets tapped to run in the most flippable seats.)

If you’re not familiar with the House candidates I mentioned above, I’d encourage you to Google one or two. Can we put another Democrat in those districts in two or four years? Maybe. Could we argue that some of these women were representing very red districts that only flipped in 2018 because it was a wave election? Yeah, sure. But just pick one Congresswoman and learn more about her. Maybe we can get another Democrat in these seats, but it is a loss to our country to lose these women’s voices. Winning isn’t just about counting majorities, it’s about building a democracy that reflects the lived experiences of more Americans. And it feels like that goal took a hit.

(If you’re feeling this, too, I’d love to have you join me at the Emerge America annual luncheon. I have a few seats left at my virtual table, and I think it will be a really hopeful event. You can also purchase tickets here.)

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.