What's at stake in key states?
What’s at stake? On a national level, Arizona has 11 electoral votes at stake in the presidential election and one Senate seat on the ballot this fall. Astronaut Mark Kelly (D) is currently challenging incumbent Senator Martha McSally (R). On the state level, Republicans control the governorship, state senate, and state house. In order to break their trifecta, Democrats need to flip 3 state senate seats and 2 state house seats to regain control of the legislature.
Can we win Arizona in 2020? Yes! In 2016, Trump won Arizona with 91,234 (3.5%) more votes than Hillary Clinton. If we expand the electorate to include diverse populations that are typically underrepresented, Arizona is winnable at all levels. In 2018, Latino turnout for the midterm election was 17% higher than it had been during the 2016 election. In 2020, it is estimated that 271,000 new Latino voters are expected to cast their ballots for the first time. The other challenge posed in Arizona is the number of inactive but eligible voters. As of October 2019, Arizona has over 400,000 inactive voters. But between July and October of 2019, the number of active registered voters increased by more than 54,000 voters.
What’s at stake? On the federal level, Michigan has 16 electoral votes to allocate in the presidential election, and a competitive Democratic U.S.Senate seat (Senator Gary Peters) that Democrats need to hold in order to take back the Senate. On the state level, Democrats currently hold the governorship but are the minority in both houses of the state legislature. In order to regain control of the state house, Democrats must flip 4 seats this year. Michigan is also one of the most gerrymandered states; Democrats consistently win a majority of votes, but maintain a minority in the state legislature. With new rules and redistricting occurring in 2022, it is critical to have a representative and Democratic legislature to ensure fair lines are drawn.
Can we win Michigan in 2020? Yes! Trump won Michigan by a narrow margin of 10,704 (0.3% of) votes. But in Detroit alone, 75,000 Obama voters did not vote for president in 2016. Voter turnout among likely Democratic voters will yield victories up and down the ballot this year. Educating voters about new vote-by-mail provisions will be key to increasing turnout.
What’s at stake? On the federal level, Minnesota has 10 electoral votes. Senator Tina Smith (D) is up for re-election this fall and is being challenged by conservative radio talk show host, Jason Lewis (R). In addition, Minnesota has two competitive House of Representative elections in which the Democratic incumbents are being challenged. On a state level, Democrats need to flip 2 seats in the state senate to gain control over the legislature as a whole, and gain a Democratic trifecta.
Can we win Minnesota in 2020? Yes! Hillary Clinton won Minnesota by a margin of 44,765 votes (1.5%) in 2016, making it a state we need to fight for, especially given the recent events in Minnesota. Democrats must also protect and win seats on both a national and state level. Republicans are increasing their investment in Minnesota by 1000% this year to $30 million, in the hopes of taking back this important state. Turning out Democratic voters will be key to countering Republican efforts to rally rural white conservatives.
Why North Carolina?
What’s at stake? In the presidential election, North Carolina has 15 electoral votes. North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis (R) is currently running for re-election and is being challenged by Democrat Cal Cunningham. On the state level, Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, who won his election in 2016 by just .2%, is facing stiff competition from Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. Both houses of the state legislature are Republican-controlled, and redistricting has created some new opportunities (and challenges). In order to flip the state senate, Democrats need to flip 5 seats. To win control of the state house, Democrats need to gain 6 seats.
Can we win North Carolina in 2020? Yes! Trump won North Carolina by 173,315 votes (3.6% of the vote), however, since his inauguration has consistently polled below 49% approval ratings among registered North Carolina voters. North Carolina, like many other states, faces the issue of inactive voters. The state has 6.7 million registered voters (with 463,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans), but in 2016, over 322,200 registered North Carolina Democrats did not vote.
This is crucial to address when it comes to voters of color. Black voters are targets of systemic voter suppression. As of early 2020, there are over 775,000 unregistered but eligible voters of color in North Carolina. Historically, Black voters in North Carolina (consisting of 22% of the electorate) support Democratic candidates at a rate of over 95%. It is critical to register and assist Black voters to ensure their ballots are cast despite the gross voter suppression. Furthermore, Latinx and AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) populations are grouping rapidly in North Carolina. By investing in all these minority communities, especially in rural and small town areas, Democrats will succeed in winning near-term victories, and in building long-term progressive power within North Carolina.
What’s at stake? On the national level, Pennsylvania has 20 electoral votes. On a state level, Democrats are fighting to break Republican control of the state legislature. In order to win the state senate, Democrats must flip 4 seats in this election. To flip the state house, Democrats must flip 9 seats.
Can we win Pennsylvania in 2020? Yes! Trump won the state with 44,292 votes more than Hillary Clinton. In the six presidential elections prior to 2016, the Democratic candidate for president won the state, showing it is a state that can be turned blue again. Hundreds of thousands of eligible voters are either not registered, or didn’t vote in 2016. It is critical to engage and register eligible voters, especially in gerrymandered districts, therefore gaining accurate representation on a state and federal election level. Pennsylvania also just expanded its vote-by-mail program, which will be a critical means of increasing voter turnout this year.
What’s at stake? On the national level, Wisconsin has 10 electoral votes. On a state level, it is critical that Democrats prevent Republican supermajorities in the state legislature. In order to do this, Democrats must hold onto all their seats as well as flip 3 seats in the state senate. In order to win the state assembly, Democrats must flip 14 seats.
Can we win Wisconsin in 2020? Yes! Trump won Wisconsin in 2016 by 22,748 more votes than Hillary Clinton, equating to 0.7% of the state votes. Having won by such a small margin, it is a sign the state can be turned blue this fall. In order to ensure this victory, registering and assisting eligible voters, supporting vote-by-mail efforts, and countering voter suppression efforts, is key. Supporting the Rising American Electorate and organizations that work to reach out to these unregistered voters is crucial to Democrats’ success in Wisconsin.