Gretchen's List: November 2020

Dear Friends,

Less than two weeks to go! I have been getting so many questions about what I think will happen, what we can expect to know when, and the contingencies for which we ought to be preparing, so this month’s list is entirely a Q&A.

I’m truly heartened by everyone’s “I Voted!” selfies on social media. Not only is voting one of the most important things we can do right now, but the sharing of the action is important — it helps galvanize others to seek political information and vote themselves. So selfie away!

To the finish line and beyond,


P.S. There are several fun events happening within hours of this email going out; check them out below to see if there are any of interest!

What can we expect to know on November 4th?

We should expect a very close race (probably closer than most pundits would have you believe) and we should not expect to know the answer quickly. While we talk about ambitious possibilities like an Electoral College win in Texas that will let us know a winner on Election Night, that remains unlikely — although possible. (Here’s a good overview of when we might be able to expect results from different states, based on the primaries.)

Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — states that are likely to be important to the outcome — can’t even start counting mail-in ballots until election day; Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Ohio also accept ballots that arrive after election day. We should not expect results from these states quickly.

On the other hand: Florida is allowing counting before election day and requiring all ballots to be received by Election Day; Texas is not allowing as much mail-in voting as other states, so a greater proportion of their voting will be in-person (and thus more quickly countable); Georgia and Arizona are allowing ballot processing as they are received. It might be possible to know vote counts from these important states early on. And even if neither candidate reaches 270 Electoral College votes right away, we can still get an indication of what kind of night each candidate is having (and how things might be looking for the Senate).

Most importantly, though, we need to resist declaring a victor or conceding until all votes are counted. (I always think of Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small on Election Night 2018: her opponent declared victory, only to retract later, once all the votes were counted.) We should expect this to be a long process of counting, recounting, legal challenges, revealed suppression, and ongoing stress and anxiety. Brace yourself.

What should I be doing?

I still believe that my October recommendations are the best bet in these last few weeks. Triple your vote. Call your undecided or Trump-leaning friends and family members. And, I will add one new suggestions: start learning and thinking about what you will do if there is an undemocratic attempt to retain power.

Where should I be donating?

If you have money left to donate:

What if there’s a tie in the Electoral College?

The odds of an Electoral College tie are low, but not zero. (Here are a few ways it could happen.) In the event of a tie, the Presidential election will be decided by the House of Representatives, where each state will get one vote. Right now, Republicans have majorities in delegations from 26 states, Democrats have 23 states, and one state (Pennsylvania) is evenly split. If you are concerned about an Electoral College tie, you may be interested in helping to ensure that Democrats have the majority in more delegations. Luckily for you, I made you this slate of flippable delegations to help. This list supports candidates running in close races in the at-large seats for Alaska and Montana (both currently held by Rs), and in flippable and vulnerable districts in Pennsylvania (currently a 9R-9D split), Florida (currently a 14R-13D split), and Iowa (currently 1R-3D, with vulnerable incumbents).

What about Mike Espy in Mississippi?

I don't know what to do about this race. Mike Espy is running against Cindy Hyde Smith for a rematch of their 2018 Senate race in Mississippi. Espy has been down 8 to 28 points in most polls (not that there's been a ton of polling), and then one recent poll shows him down just 1 point. I am skeptical that Espy can win, especially since 1) Biden is down about 15 points in Mississippi, and 2) Espy lost to Hyde Smith by 7 points just two years ago, when Trump wasn't on the ballot to drive Republican/white supremacist turnout. I just don't quite see it happening. If I believed it was close, I would put money there in a heartbeat because Espy is a wonderful, deserving candidate and money goes far in Mississippi. But, right now, I think the poll is an outlier. My thoughts on which Senate races are close and which need investment are mostly the same as they were in September.

What comes next?

In December, we will have a run-off for one of the Senate races in Georgia, where we’re hoping Reverend Raphael Warnock will finish in the top two. It’s looking like the run-off will be between Warnock and Kelly Loeffler, but there’s a chance that Doug Collins could get in there. (And, yes, there’s a chance it could be Loeffler and Collins, but a much smaller chance than it looked a few weeks ago). Depending on what happens on November 3rd, this run-off might be essential to securing a Democratic majority in the Senate. It will be my first priority for the end of the year. (There is also a possibility for a run-off in Louisiana, which I’ll be keeping an eye on.)

Then, if Biden wins, we’ll have to keep an eye on which House and Senate members get pulled into his cabinet, so that we can keep those seats blue. Plus, fellow Californians, we’ll have a new Senator!

Then, we start repairing and expanding democracy, saving the planet, repealing the Hyde Amendment, reshaping the judiciary, adding a few more states, ending the Electoral College, electing the first black woman governor in the country in 2021, making sure Pennsylvania is nominating a woman for their next open Senate seat, and preparing for 2022. We will need to hold a Biden/Harris administration accountable to the progress our country needs, and we need to prepare for what’s to come. Get ready!

Upcoming Virtual Events

Biden Victory Fund Events. Yes, the Biden campaign is well-funded, but ongoing support ensures they’re able to runs ads and state competitive in expensive and emerging swing states like Texas, Georgia, and Iowa — which will also help with flippable Senate races there! — without pulling out of traditional swing states like Michigan and Pennsylvania. Plus, these events are fun and interesting. (If you can’t make an event, but still want to chip in, you can do that here.)

October 20, 3pm PT. Virtual Conversation with the Creators and Cast of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Amy Sherman-Palladino, Daniel Palladino, Rachel Brosnahan, and more.

October 20, 3:30pm PT. Reception with Senator Kamala Harris and Coach Steve Kerr.

October 20, 3:45pm PT. Voters Assemble! Q&A and Trivia with Senator Kamala Harris, Don Cheadle, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Paul Rudd, Mark Ruffalo, & Zoe Saldana, hosted by The Russo Brothers.

October 20, 4pm PT. Virtual Conversation on the Restaurant Industry: Priorities for a Biden Administration to Build Back Better with José Andrés, Chef, Restaurateur and Humanitarian.

October 21, Xpm PT. Virtual Conversation on Women in Technology with Katie Jacobs Stanton, Anne Wojcicki, & Nicole Wong Moderated by Meena Harris.

October 22, 2020,4pm PT. Comadres Virtual Reception with Rita Moreno.

October 24, 2020, 5pm PT. Virtual Script Reading with the cast of Wet Hot American Summer.

October 24, 2020, Time TBA. Virtual Reception with Sen. Harris, Justin Timberlake, and Ashley Judd.

October 25, 2020,3pm PT. Virtual Dear Sugars Podcast Reunion Show with Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond.

October 30, 2020, 3pm PT. Virtual Conversation about Social Justice and Voting Rights In Support of GOTV Efforts with Hon. Sally Yates & Rep. Dwight Evans, with a musical performance by Low Cut Connie.

October 26th, 5pm PT: Join me for a Representation Matters Salon with Congresswoman Barbara Lee, in support of five women of color running for the House: Congresswoman Sharice Davids (KS-03), Pam Keith (FL-18), Sima Ladjevardian (TX-02), Gina Ortiz Jones (TX-23), and Hiral Tipirneni (AZ-06). Contribute and RSVP here.

November 19th, 5pm PT. I am so excited for the annual Emerge Now reception! We will be joined by Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, Virginia Delegate (and gubernatorial candidate!) Jennifer Carroll Foy, Kentucky House Representative Attica Scott, and so many other incredible women who are showing what can be accomplished with an investment in women’s leadership. I am hosting a virtual table — please let me know if you’d like to join as my guest! You can also sign up or learn more here.

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.