Gretchen's List: September 2020

Dear Friends,

Things are not great right now! Especially here in the Bay Area, where we’re contending with wildfire smoke on top of everything else. Between pandemics and wildfires and climate change and deranged presidencies and police violence and homeschooling my children, it would just be nice to have one coherent apocalyptic narrative to tackle at a time. Alas, we have not been afforded that luxury.

Remember: it’s easy to blame everything happening right now on the year 2020 being an actual dumpster fire, but none of this will go away in 2021 unless we choose different leaders. We will have wildfires and droughts in California until we elect leaders that will comprehensively address climate change and repair our environment; we will have systematized violence against Americans of color until we elect leaders that do the work to foster reconciliation, demilitarize our law enforcement, and engage in real justice reforms; we will endure healthcare crises — this pandemic, and others to come in our globalized world — until we have leaders who believe that taking care of each other, in the most fundamental way, is a priority. We must make the future better right now.

September Question: What organizations do you recommend for voting and election security?

There are so many challenges in having a good election that represents the will of the people: getting voters registered, educating voters with good information, making sure there are enough polling locations, ensuring a good understanding of vote-by-mail, providing home voters with ballots in a timely fashion, funding the postal service, protecting the security of the vote via paper ballots, conducting risk-limiting audits once votes are cast, abolishing the electoral college, and being patient when we don’t know the results of the election on the night of November 3rd, or even a week later. When people ask me about “protecting voting and elections,” they can mean any one (or several) of these challenges. There’s not one organization that does all of these things, but there are several that do exemplary work on multiple dimensions. (I plugged a few organization doing great election protection work back in April, but it’s worth reiterating now that we are much closer to the election.)

  • The Movement Voter Project is one of the easiest, most calibrated ways to move money quickly towards boosting voter registration and turnout. They partner in key states with non-profit organization and PACs that specifically mobilize voters of color; working class and low-income voters; LGBTQ voters; young/new/student voters; renters, veterans, new Americans, non-native English speakers — all to ensure that the voting electorate represents the American population. Donations of any size will be helpful to MVP in getting Americans registered and voting. You can give here for general funding, or you can specifically direct your gift to Black-led organizing, swing states, climate justice organizing, and other focused funds: whatever fits your priority. Give to the PAC or 501(c)4 if you don’t care about tax deductibility (this money is more important in this final months), or the 501(c)3 if you do.

  • America Votes is a coalition of progressive organizations working towards advancing policy friendly to fair elections (like Colorado’s all-mail ballots and same-day registration, Florida’s early voting and voting rights restoration, and New Mexico’s automatic voter registration). They work in 20 states year-round, so they aren’t just reinventing the wheel in the last few months before an election. If you’re looking to donate $100 or more towards fair voting policy, send it here. Gifts are not tax deductible.

  • Verified Voting is my go-to organization for technologically secure elections: they advocate for policies that ensure that voting equipment is secure and that there are post-election audits to ensure the election outcome. If you’re looking to donate $25 or more to election security, you can give here (click “Support Education and Outreach” to give a tax-deductible donation to their 501(c)3, or “Support Advocacy Work” to give to their 501(c)4).

Where to Send Money Right Now: Xochitl Torres Small, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and Abigail Spanberger for Congress

After last month’s letter focusing on the Senate, I received a lot of questions about the House. Is the House really safe? Which candidates need funding? What about this candidate and this candidate and this candidate? The bottom line: yes, the Democratic majority in the House is safe. Could something catastrophic happen? Yes! But right now we are more likely to pick up Democratic seats and increase the majority than lose it altogether. However, many of the wonderful representatives we elected in 2018 are in very purple districts, and they are vulnerable — especially in states or districts that are likely to go for Trump.

After looking at recent polling and fundraising, and focusing on my priority of electing women, I am going to give my strongest recommendation for funding for Xochitl Torres Small (NM-2), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26), and Abigail Spanberger (VA-7). Everyone’s suggestions for the House will look different, but I believe Xochitl, Debbie, and Abigail are in the closest races where money will still make a difference right now.

You can send money to all three of these Congresswomen right here. I am also hosting an upcoming event with Xochitl and the other women running in New Mexico next week — I would love to have you join.

August & September Events

August 27th, 3:30pm PT: Join Women for Barbara Bollier (candidate for US Senate from Kansas) with special guest Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Many people have asked me about Barbara’s chances now that the Republicans have nominated a more moderate opponent. The bottom line is the Barbara can still win: this race is within 1 to 2 points in the polls. Your support is even more important than before the primary. RSVP and contribute here. (If you are interested in hearing from Barbara but this time doesn’t work, there’s another event for her on Monday, September 14 at 5:00pm PT. Just let me know if you’d like to have the details for that one!)

August 28th, 4:30pm PT: Let me know if you are interested in joining a free briefing call on election protection. The conversation will provide information on both voter education and turnout and election security, highlighting organization effectively and strategically directing funds to important geographies and highest-need focus area. Just email me if you’d like to attend and I will send you the details!

Monday, August 31 at 3:30pm PT: Join Ragin’ Cajun James Carville for this event in support of Adrian Perkins (candidate for US Senate from Louisiana). Yes, Louisiana is tough, but all Adrian needs to do is keep the Republican incumbent below 50% of the vote (… in a 13 way race) and he’ll trigger a run-off election on December 5. If we don’t win the Senate on November 3rd, we will really, really want Adrian to be in a run-off so we have another chance to pick up a seat. Adrian is a graduate of West Point and Harvard Law School, an Army Ranger, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, and the mayor of Shreveport at 34 years old. I encourage you to watch his launch video. Contribute and RSVP here

September 1st, 3:30pm: Join Electing Women Bay Area for a conversation with our next Vice President, Senator Kamala Harris! You can join by contributing to the Biden Victory Fund here.

September 1st, 5pm PT: If you can only do one event in September, make it this one! New Mexico has the opportunity to send a full woman of color House delegation to Washington by reelecting Congresswoman Deb Haaland and Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small, and electing Teresa Leger Fernandez to an open seat to join them. All three are dynamic, brilliant candidates, and Xochitl is in one of the closest races in the country and very much in need of your support. Contribute and RSVP here.

September 3rd, 12pm PT: The Emerge America Leaders Matter salon series continues with Georgia & Southern Expansion with State Senator Nikema Williams, State Representative Shelly Hutchinson, and State House candidate Julie Jordan. We have proven recently that Democrats can win in the South, and Georgia represents the next swing state (thanks, Stacey!). With a newly expanded electorate, exciting grassroots organizing, and two Senate seats up for grabs, there’s a lot happening in Georgia. Join us. (This event is free for Emerge Leadership Circle members; I am able to bring one guest. Please let me know if you’d like to join.)

September 10th, 3pm PT: Another exciting opportunity to hear from Emerge alumna Congresswoman Deb Haaland of New Mexico. Join us for a conversation between Deb and Emerge President A’shanti Gholar. (As above, this event is free for Emerge Leadership Circle members; I am able to bring one guest. Please let me know if you’d like to join.)

Even as things are hard, this is our last opportunity to make sure we’re doing everything possible to defeat Trump and the Senators who have enabled him in November. Please let me know if I can help at all — I am always happy to chat about candidates, races, swing states, and more. And I am even more willing if it cuts into my homeschooling time.

My best,

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.