Memo: Democrats’ win in Penn­syl­va­nia wasn’t a ‘one-off,’ it’s a trend

Wisconsin Gazette - - Front Page - By Tom Perez Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee chair

Repub­li­cans are point­ing fin­gers and spin­ning Conor Lamb's his­toric up­set in Penn­syl­va­nia as a “one-off.”

News­flash: They've been los­ing Repub­li­can-held seats for more than a year — 42 state leg­isla­tive, gu­ber­na­to­rial, Se­nate and now House seats.

Democrats haven't only won in blue dis­tricts, we're win­ning in places like Ok­la­homa, Alabama, ru­ral Iowa and now, in a Penn­syl­va­nia dis­trict that Don­ald Trump won by nearly 20 points. That's scary for Repub­li­cans.

Repub­li­cans spent more than $10 mil­lion to de­fend what should have been a safe seat af­ter pour­ing mil­lions into a race to elect an al­leged child mo­lester in Alabama. And the re­sult was the same: They lost.

And while Repub­li­cans like to think Conor Lamb's was a “unique” sit­u­a­tion or a “one-off,” the re­al­ity is Conor Lamb ran on his val­ues — the same mes­sage that has led Democrats to vic­tory all across the coun­try.

He fo­cused on the is­sues that mat­tered to West­ern Penn­syl­va­ni­ans — jobs, health care and So­cial Se­cu­rity. He knocked on doors in the dis­trict he grew up in. This is all while Repub­li­cans at­tempted to prop up an anti-worker can­di­date run­ning on a tax plan that gives cor­po­ra­tions and the wealth­i­est a tax cut at the ex­pense of Amer­i­can work­ers. Repub­li­cans' strat­egy didn't work in Penn­syl­va­nia, it hasn't worked across the coun­try and it won't work in Novem­ber.

Democrats win when we get on the ground early, fo­cus on our val­ues and in­vest in and re­cruit strong, lo­cal can­di­dates like Conor Lamb. That's how we won in Penn­syl­va­nia's 18th. That's how Doug Jones won in Alabama, Ralph Northam and Justin Fair­fax won in Vir­ginia, Phil Mur­phy and Sheila Oliver won in New Jer­sey. That's how Manka Dhin­gra won in Wash­ing­ton and An­nette Tad­deo won in Florida. That's how Keisha Lance Bot­toms won in At­lanta and Wil­mot Collins won in He­lena, Mon­tana.

You bet­ter be­lieve that we will tak­ing this model to win up and down the bal­lot this year — es­pe­cially in the House, where there are 114 Repub­li­can-held seats that are more com­pet­i­tive than Penn­syl­va­nia's 18th.


In 2018, we will con­tinue to make mean­ing­ful in­vest­ments in or­ga­niz­ing, tech and in­fra­struc­ture on the ground. Since I be­came chair, the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee has made his­toric in­vest­ments to help boost the ground game for state par­ties and Demo­cratic can­di­dates across the coun­try.

We in­vested $1.5 mil­lion in Vir­ginia; started the State Party In­no­va­tion Fund, a his­toric $10 mil­lion com­pet­i­tive grant pro­gram for state par­ties; im­ple­mented the Ev­ery ZIP Code Counts pro­gram, which con­trib­utes $10,000 per month to ev­ery state party; and made strate­gic in­vest­ments in may­oral and leg­isla­tive races across the coun­try.

We're just get­ting started.


Over the last year, Democrats have been fo­cused on one mis­sion: win­ning elec­tions up and down the bal­lot.

Since Trump took of­fice, Democrats have flipped 42 seats from red to blue, in­clud­ing 39 state leg­isla­tive seats, one gov­er­nor's seat, one Se­nate seat and one House seat. That doesn't even ac­count for city-level and other lo­cal races.

We knew our his­toric suc­cesses put­ting Democrats in of­fices up and down the ticket in 2017 were not a fluke. Since Trump took of­fice, Democrats have flipped seats across the coun­try from red to blue, and some of these seats are in deep-red ar­eas that Trump won by dou­ble dig­its in 2016. This isn't just a trend — this is a move­ment.


How will we con­tinue this mo­men­tum and win ev­ery­where?

By turn­ing out more vot­ers.

Over the past year, we've seen what a dif­fer­ence Demo­cratic voter turnout can make, but we know we need to change the di­a­logue about vot­ing and that turnout dur­ing the midterms is his­tor­i­cally low.

In Fe­bru­ary, the DNC an­nounced the launch of IWillVote, an un­prece­dented new cam­paign with four ini­tia­tives: Com­mit to vote.

Voter reg­is­tra­tion.

Voter ed­u­ca­tion and pro­tec­tion. Get-Out-The-Vote.

Through the IWillVote pro­gram, the DNC, in part­ner­ship with state par­ties and or­ga­ni­za­tions, aims to reach 50 mil­lion vot­ers from now un­til Novem­ber to en­gage, ed­u­cate, and mo­bi­lize them to vote for Democrats up and down the ticket.

If there's one thing we learned in Penn­syl­va­nia, it's that we can win ev­ery­where.

Who­ever says you have to ei­ther com­pete for white work­ing-class vot­ers or for com­mu­ni­ties of color is wrong. It is a false choice to say that we have to fo­cus on ei­ther white work­ing-class vot­ers or com­mu­ni­ties of color.

The facts are clear:

We can win ev­ery­where.

We are win­ning ev­ery­where.

We are or­ga­niz­ing ev­ery­where.

And that's why Democrats are back.

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