I was recently at a meeting of resistance organizations when someone posed a question that changed the mood of the room:
What will we do if Trump wins?
We each took turns talking about what we would do in that scenario. The answers ranged from insufficient to apocalyptic.
When it was Arena’s turn to speak, we asked a different question:
What can we do now to defeat Trump and help beyond this cycle even if he wins?
We reframed the question because we as Democrats have done a terrible job of building long-term infrastructure. We stumble erratically from cycle-to-cycle, building up and tearing down new institutions while Republicans win more often than they should by investing in organizations and practices with longevity.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the states, where Republicans control 60 percent of legislative chambers. This imbalance has resulted in far too many states with anemic teacher pay, diminished voting rights, rigged districts, and a host of other major public policy failures.
That’s why, as Politico recently reported, we’re teaming up with Future Now Fund to invest $7 million in flipping four battleground state legislatures: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, and North Carolina.
For the first time, we’ll target Arena’s talent pipeline in specific states and prove that investing in training wins elections.
This effort will include:
- Financial and strategic support to help candidates, legislative caucuses, and partner organizations build top-notch campaigns.
- An Arena Academy for 150 staffers per state.
- More than 100 priority staff placement on targeted races per state — including campaign managers, communications directors, fundraising directors, and digital directors.
- Ensuring full funding of the highest-impact tactics — including field teams knocking on doors, digital ads targeting voters where they are (on mobile phones), and evidence-based voter turnout.
Last year, we held five Arena Academies, trained 1,000 new campaign staffers, tweaked Academy programming each time to figure out what works best, and gave graduates ongoing support through tutorials on Arena Toolbox and our jobs matching board, Arena Careers. Using that talent pipeline on specific targets is our chance to convince the Democratic Party to plan long term. It’s time to build institutions and practices that thrive well beyond one election cycle.