A Guide to Progressive Grassroots Organizations

Whether you want one to work with on House races next year, or one to  make your year-end charitable donation to, here are a ton of groups worth your time.
By Jeremy Fassler,
Photograph courtesy of The Daily Beast.

This last year has been hard for anyone with a working brain, given how every day under our Russian stooge of a President and the hypocrites in his party produces some new nightmare. But hope is not lost, as several organizations have risen to prominence to help us take back power, not just in 2018 and 2020, but on local levels in years to come. In this article, I highlight several of these groups, both old and new. If you want to get involved with one next year, or you want to make your year-end charitable donation, try some of these on for size. And don't worry about favoring one over another - most of these groups work closely together.

Adopt-a-State

This new group allows you to "adopt" a state either in Republican control or with local and federal elections coming up in the next year. Once you've picked one, you'll get updates on what's going on there and how you can volunteer. Unlike a lot of the organizations listed here, Adopt-a-State does not accept donations, but is still good to get involved with.

Democracy for America

Howard Dean, whose 50-state strategy got Obama into office, has run this group since 2004. It fuels progressive, grassroots candidates and trains new ones to run. No seat is too big or too small for them to endorse, and they have helped giants of modern politics like Kamala Harris, and rising stars like Philadelphia D.A. Larry Krasner. Their most high-profile candidate for 2018 is Randy Bryce, the "Iron Stache" who is challenging House Speaker Paul Ryan. 

Flippable

Flippable focuses on handing Republican state assemblies back to Democrats, and so far they have an impressive track record. In the special elections last week, they sent Democrat Manka Dhingra to the Washington State Senate, giving the Democrats control of all state assemblies on the West Coast, and earlier this year, a win for Stephanie Hansen in Delaware's State Senate kept the chamber out of Republican hands. They also achieved victory in Florida, electing State Senator Annette Taddeo as part of their initiative to turn the state blue. Next year, they plan to flip 100 state seats, which would put this group on the map as a force to be reckoned with.

Indivisible

More than any of these groups, Indivisible seeks to ape the Tea Party's strategy to get more Democrats elected. They work with local groups throughout all 50 states, and you can find the nearest chapter to you by typing in your ZIP code. You can also create your own group based on their principles, which are outlined in this PDF by Congressional staffers.

The Resurgent Left

The Resurgent Left adopts Howard Dean's 50-state strategy to challenge Republicans anywhere and everywhere. They supported newly elected Virginia representatives Jennifer Carroll Foy and Schuyler VanVaklenburg, and helped elect Vi Lyles, the first black woman to become mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina. One of their candidates for 2018 is Mike Levin, an environmental attorney challenging longtime Republican incumbent Darrell Issa in California's 49th District. This will be one of the most-watched races in the country next year, and no doubt The Resurgent Left will receive a lot of media attention for their involvement. 

Run for Something

Co-founded by former Hillary Clinton staffer Amanda Littman, Run for Something is dedicated to getting millennials (anyone under 35) to run for local office. Since its debut on Inauguration Day, more than 11,000 first-time candidates have reached out to the group. For a list of candidates they have endorsed, click here and see if there is one running near your district. You can also help by purchasing Amanda Littman's book, Run for Something: A Real-Talk Guide to Fixing the System Yourself, on Amazon. 

She Should Run

A slightly older organization than the others (founded in 2011), She Should Run recruits women to run for office. Since last November, 11,000 women have volunteered to run through the organization. The newly declared candidates are then paired with mentors, linked to a community referral program to connect them with resources close to them, and further connected through online incubators to content tailored to their specific needs. Their current goal is to achieve gender parity in politics, electing 250,000 women to local and statewide offices) by the year 2030. Of the roughly 500,000 political offices available in this country, women only account for less than 25%, and previous research states that, at the current rate, it would take another hundred years to achieve gender parity. The group's founder, Erin Loos Cutraro, has called this "unacceptable," and hopefully, enough people agree with her. 

Sister District

This organization, launched last November by San Francisco attorney Rita Bosworth, has been one of the hardest-working and most successful of the new groups to spring up since Trump's victory. Bosworth and her colleagues have residents in safely blue districts work to flip red ones nearest to them. Working primarily on the local level, their efforts have paid off massively - in last week's special elections, 14 out of 15 Sister District-endorsed candidates won their local races, including Virginia's Danica Roem, the first transgender woman ever elected to state office. And Virginia candidate Shelly Simonds is currently within ten votes of her Republican opponent in a recount. 

Spread the Vote

Founded by Kat Calvin, Spread the Vote's mission is to help people get voter IDs so they can get to the polls on Election Day. 31 states now require one to vote, and over 21 million Americans don't possess an ID. There are links on the site to find your nearest DMV and to volunteer to help some of the ten million eligible voters who live within ten miles of a DMV go there to get one. 

SwingLeft

Want to take back the House next year? Work with SwingLeft, which has identified 65 districts where Hillary either beat Trump or the Republican representative won by less than 15% of the vote. If we win 65% of these districts, we can regain control of Congress. If you want to know where your nearest swing district is, just go to the site and type in your ZIP code.

There's plenty more groups that you can donate to and/or volunteer with as well, and if you go to any of the websites I've linked to above, they'll direct you to their sister organizations. I hope you'll consider supporting them in the next fifty-one weeks leading up to the 2018 midterms and beyond. We may have had a great victory last week, but we can't afford to coast on it. We have to roll up our sleeves and get back to work to repair the broken system that enables this crooked presidency.

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