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Opportunity knocks once in a lifetime
Election Day is one year out. Here are five opportunities we can take advantage of.
Last week, I wrote about five challenges pro-democracy advocates (and those working to elect pro-democracy candidates) face in 2024. As promised, here is the second piece of my 2024 framework. Five opportunities we can and should take advantage of as we fight the good fight to keep America from becoming a fascist hellscape once again.
Here’s what you need to know:
We’ve had some real wins (national and local) that we can build on. Trumpism lost in 2018, 2020, and 2022. Abortion rights has won every election where it was on the ballot, even in deep red Kansas and Kentucky, since Roe was overturned (More on this below.). In places like Michigan and Minnesota, where Democrats won big, they’ve taken some big swings and enacted sweeping policy changes, long-stalled, that are popular with voters. We have the momentum and a good story to tell about what’s possible. I can’t think of a better foundation to start off from, especially in such uncertain times.
This election won’t be about Joe Biden. At this point, I think it’s fair to assume that 2024 will be a Biden-Trump rematch. I know there’s some concern about Biden’s low approval rating, but like 2020, this election is about bigger things. I tend to agree that 2024 will once again be a referendum on Donald Trump and his MAGA coalition. Since Trump lost in 2020, we’ve learned the full extent of his criminal attempts to hold onto power. Trump has also been charged with 91 felony counts in 4 different criminal jurisdictions. By now, we know that Trump’s base won’t ever forsake him, but a litany of criminal proceedings is not a good narrative for anyone outside of that bubble.
MAGA isn’t interested in winning elections or connecting with Americans outside of their base. Trump and the coalition that supports him are anti-democratic. As I’ve written previously, they’ve essentially given up on winning free and fair elections. Trump’s rhetoric is particularly explicit, telling his followers in speeches that they don’t have to worry about voting and should focus on watching Biden voters and sharing memes that call for the arrest of poll workers. Trump and the GOP have also stopped talking to voters outside of the MAGA Cinematic Universe, and that conversation has become so extreme and so insular it’s difficult for anyone else to follow, even if they’re interested in what MAGA has to say.
Voters are still livid over the reversal of Roe and the corrupt Supreme Court Justices who took reproductive freedom away from them. As I wrote above, abortion rights wins at the ballot box. It’s also almost certainly the reason Democrats overperformed to such a staggering degree in last year’s midterms. I expect Roe will continue to turn out voters next year. But let’s talk about those Justices who were all too happy to take our rights away, how corrupt we’ve since learned some of them are, and what a potent election issue that will be! I fully expect to see Clarence Thomas and his fellow anti-choice justices feature heavily in election ads next year.
Trust in media remains at an all-time low, creating an opportunity for new voices to emerge. Some might consider this last one more of a crisitunity than an opportunity (especially since the state of American political media coverage was one of the challenges I listed last week), but voters and potential voters are hungry for information, analysis, and engagement. And they’re open to receiving it from new credible sources, on different platforms, and from a wider array of voices. There are more ways to communicate with voters than ever before, and as I mentioned above, the anti-Democratic faction isn’t really talking to them. Organizations and campaigns have a real opportunity to get creative in their communication and media strategy. And advocates have ample platforms to tell their stories, too.
At the end of the day, MAGA is a minority of Americans. They’re loud, threatening, and overamplified. But they’re also outnumbered. I’ve learned that I can’t predict anything or tell you what’s going to happen. But when I consider what concerns me and what we have going for us, I feel bullish on Democracy’s chances in 2024.
One of the reasons I was excited to join COURIER is because it gave me the opportunity to partner with two of my favorite newsletters. The ones I open as soon as I see them in my inbox each week! This week, I wanted to share two of my favorites because y’all might like to subscribe to them, too:
Apologies that there are no ICYMI links this week. I’ve been in Chicago for the Obama Foundation’s Democracy Forum and to spend time with my USA Leaders Cohort. Next week, normal publication will resume.