Getting Ready for 2016 stands for community empowerment through building a sustainable infrastructure of progressive talent organically grown at the local level.  This goes for candidates, campaign operatives, fund raising specialists, and issue activists. We think this is a critical third piece (together with Labor and party politics) necessary for increasing participation of our communities sometimes referred to as the New American Majority. The NAM is made up of voters of color, youth, and white working women. To inspire and activate these bases we need to provide messages, causes, and candidates that can connect with these voters and inspire them. Barack Obama did this for a historic moment in 2008.

However, to sustain such a sentiment and to turn it into a progressive movement we need the community infrastructure to be an ongoing source of inspiration. By supporting inspiring campaigns at a local level through issues that resonate with the local voter we can aggregate this work into something significant on a state by state basis. This is critical to preparing our work for the 2020 census battles that will determine the outcomes of dozens if not hundreds of races nationally. It will also take smart tactics and strategies in campaign execution and in targeting our work in each state.

To get this started we will be focusing on 12 states for the 2015/2016 cycle. These states, for the most part, will be places where the New American Majority can play a significant role. There are at least 24 states where this can happen. I will not go into the math but you can reach out to me if you have that fascination. Our goal in these states will be to work with existing grassroots groups to help focus and strengthen their work in order to have greater impact at the local and state level. The aggregate of this local work will then reach significant numbers at a state level and create greater gains. This ultimately means gaining liberal to progressive majorities in state houses and winning a few more governor and state office races. It could also mean winning a few more Congressional races to get us back in the game at the federal level.

We think our work will be unique because it will be people of color led fueled by the investment of the most visionary donors. I have asked the Center for Community Change Action and the Southern Elections Fund to join us in this 12 state national effort. I am confident that their experience and in-state ties will add assets that can ensure our success as a collaboration of national leadership. I will continue to outline our work in these pages as we launch and execute our programs. I am starting with some case studies on successes in establishing our cornerstone infrastructure and in increasing voter turnout. We will follow with releasing state by state plans as we figure those out. We hope you will join us as we go through this journey to strengthen the democratic functioning of our electoral system. We will also provide more information about the issues that we care about the most and help define us as a progressive movement. Let us know what you think and we hope to inspire you and recruit you to be an activist in our movement.

– Andy Wong