The Democrats’ plan to win in 2022 looks like 2020 and 2018

Today’s newsletter is a guest dispatch from Georgia, where my colleague Maya King covers politics across the South.

ATLANTA — Long before Georgia became the center of the American political universe, Stacey Abrams and League of Democratic organizers across the Peach state were testing a new strategy to help their party win more top-ticket elections.

The National Democrats largely rejected their calculations, investing more time and money in pulling out rural, young and rare voters of color outside the capital city rather than moderate and independent white voters, investing more time and money in reliably blue Metro Atlanta. Called for exhausting polling in the area. its suburbs.

Given the history of discrimination against black voters in Georgia and across the South, strong civil rights interests were at stake.

But in Abrams’ push to register millions of new voters, there was also harsh politics at play. He and his allies hoped to form the backbone of a coalition that could turn Georgia blue for the first time since Bill Clinton won the state in 1992.

In 2018, Abrams, the Democratic nominee for governor of Georgia, came exceptionally close to winning his first campaign for office. In 2020, his event helped Joe Biden win the state before boosting the fortunes of two Democrats who won both state Senate seats two months later.

The strategy is now widely accepted by the left – although it is expensive. But Abrams, his fellow Democratic nominee and several voter-focused organizations in Georgia are relying on it again this year to prove that his victory in 2020 was made possible not by the unpopularity of former President Donald Trump, but by a trend. There was continuity.

That’s why Way to Win, a group of progressive Democratic donors and political strategists, is investing $8.5 million in Georgia’s voter mobilization efforts ahead of November, according to plans First shared with The New York Times.

The group has already paid nearly $4 million to more than a dozen organizations in Georgia, including the Working Families Party and the New Georgia Project, which Ms. Abrams founded in 2014 and whose board is Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat. who are running for election. Presided for a full term, from 2017 to 2020. The group’s goal is to provide financial support for Democrats to continue garnering the same broad swath of voters that they did in previous cycles, and blunt the impact of national trends working against them.

He also feels that he has something to prove once again to the skeptics in Washington.

Tory Gavito, co-founder, president and CEO of Way To Win, said, “If you talk to these voters – every voter that has been ignored by traditional pundits and traditional institutional leaders – if you make a big tent Then they will come.” , “I can’t tell you how many rooms I still go into where traditional henchmen will say, ‘Is Georgia really a battlefield?’ And it’s like, are you kidding? How many cycles do we have to go through where Georgia’s leaders really show the power of a multiracial coalition?”

To win the big statewide race, Georgia Democrats are relying on high turnout from the same coalition that led them to success in 2018 and 2020: a mix of loyal, rain or shine voters in addition to a significant mass of liberal, independent and rare voters.

But whether external forces are taking him to the polls or not, he looks very different than in the last two election cycles. While anti-Trump sentiment, systemic racism and a nationwide movement against coronavirus-related provisions that expanded access to the ballot fuel record voting in 2020, voters this year, noting concerns about rising prices and an economic slowdown, Diminishing enthusiasm. They are also struggling with a new, more restrictive voting law passed by Republicans who control the state legislature and governor’s mansions.

The Way to Win investment reflects a growing understanding among Democratic donors that early money matters even more in a difficult midterm cycle.

One Atlanta Journal-Constitution Survey Out Wednesday found that more than 60 percent of potential Democratic voters said they believe the country is on the wrong track. The same poll showed Abrams five percentage points behind his Republican rival, Gov. Warnock’s Senate race against first-time candidate and former University of Georgia football icon Herschelle Walker is statistically tied. Political activists and observers from both the parties are expecting this year to be one of the most expensive campaigns in the country.

And, while the economy remains the election’s top animating issue, Georgia Republicans are pinning the country’s economic woes directly on Democratic leaders in Washington, warning that President Joe Biden’s policies will drag further down the South, telling Abrams Should win in November.

In a speech to supporters in McDonough, Ga., on Friday morning, Kemp raised his voice against the “Biden-Abrams agenda for Georgia.”

“Stacey Abrams campaigned for Joe Biden, publicly auditioned to be his vice president, celebrated his victory and took credit for his win,” Kemp said. He denounced “TV hosts on MSNBC, in New York and California listening to their large donors and liberal elite who can live in their basements for months.”

Democrats are also throwing their weight behind several races at the bottom of the ballot, including attorney general and secretary of state — two offices that have proven their importance in light of developments on abortion and election security.

Many groups, especially those led by people of color, have long condemned money dumps from large, national donors that don’t arrive until September or October – or, as Brittany Whaley of the Working Family Party described it. It is, “Giving Holidays, Birthdays and Special Occasions.”

By then, said Whaley, who leads the Progressive Group’s Southeastern regional organizing, it is often too late for groups that aim to mobilize hard-to-reach voters to make a big difference. keep.

“If we hadn’t created the conditions on the ground that prepared us for January 5, all the money in the world would have gone to zero,” she said, referring to the day Warnock and Senator John Osoff were elected in 2021. Told. , Those two victories allowed Democrats to claim a majority in the Senate, unlocking billions in spending that Republicans now criticize as wasteful and inflationary.

Spending the money several months before voting begins, Whale said, “should really be the standard.”

The National Organizing Branch of the Working Families Party has also looked at both the strategy and its implications for future elections. The party’s national director Maurice Mitchell said the Georgia model of reliably balancing blue voters in cities with new groups of voters in rural areas could be replicated in other battleground states such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

And he warned against much of the debate among pundits and Democratic strategists that has continued since Warnock and Osoff’s improbable victories: whether the Democratic Party needs to win back working-class white voters that have been consistently defeated since the 1980s. Should make more effort. , follow the high-level college-educated suburbanites who have been turned down by Trump, or stick to Abrams’ vision of bringing new voters and communities into a multiracial, rural-urban coalition?

“The framework is out there, and I think there are enough examples in the recent history of how it works,” Mitchell said. “I think we should fight for every vote, but the idea that we will not zero-sum or prioritize communities of color or progressives or young people to reach moderate or swing voters, I think is alarming. strategy.”

  • Democrats on the House panel probing the January 6 attacks are skeptical of a bipartisan Senate proposal to reform the Electoral Counts Act, Politico reported This week.

  • Alan Feuer and Katie Benner talk about former President Donald Trump’s fake voter plan.

  • In the AtlanticBarton Gelman writes about how just six states can reverse the 2024 election.

viewfinder

Politics is regularly worked on by Times photographers. Here’s what Kenny Holston told us about capturing the image above:

As a photojournalist who has covered former President Donald Trump in some capacity since 2016, I know a chaotic scene is never too far behind him.

That was the case earlier this week when Trump returned to Washington, DC for the first time since leaving office.

Metropolitan Police Department officers stand across the street in front of the Marriott Marquis Hotel, where Trump spoke at a gathering of the America First Policy Institute. Anti-Trumps were standing on one side of the police line and Trump supporters on the other.

Officials broke up some scuffles amid the duel, as hotel guests watched the chaos from a lobby window while a big box truck projected oscillating images of Trump and the 2020 election loss in his favor repeatedly circled the block.

In an attempt to convey this scene in a single photograph, I decided to use the reflection in the hotel window. I got very close to the glass with my camera and tilted the camera slightly, which allowed me to partially see through the glass, as well as capture everything I could see in it, as in the photo above Has been observed.

Thanks for reading. We will see you on Monday.

— Blake

Is there anything you think we are missing? Anything else you’d like to see more of? We’d love to hear from you. email us onpolitics@nytimes.com,

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