Toby Langworthy’s Summary of the National Campaigns Network meeting, Part 1

Hi Everybody,

Instead of a The Week Ahead update this week, I’ll create a few posts based on the experience with other leaders here in Washington D.C.

Day 1 from DC and the National Campaigns Network has just wrapped up.

It was a jam packed day filled with very informative sessions. First, we heard from Leah Greenberg and Ezra Levin about some guiding principals of the movement and how we go forward in 2020 and beyond. To sum it up, it breaks down into three parts:

Resist
Win
Accountability to deliver election reforms

The first two I think we all have a good handle on though winning can be different things to different people. We’ll talk more about how we define winning during our September meeting.

The last one though I want to go into a bit. The message from Leah and Ezra, one I totally agree with, is that we really want to focus on demanding accountability to deliver reforms to the electoral process. Let’s be frank, Republicans have been very successful in the past 30-40 years of having a laser like focus on controlling the rules of the game and restricting voting access. They have done this to entrench their own power. We’ll be demanding that any candidate we support commit to enacting laws that return democracy to the people.

Next, we heard from Maurice Mitchell from the Working Families Party as our keynote speaker for the day. There were a number of takeaways from his valuable speech. The two biggest ones for me where that we have to avoid cynicism and apathy. We also have to recognize having unapologetic moral clarity is what we need to counter the party of fear, anger and resentment. We are not in the business of making people comfortable though. It ultimately takes a movement to make a majority and movements often push people out of their comfort zones, at first.

Next, we had a smaller session to share some best practices in other groups specifically in the area of events and meetings. Other’s discussed membership, partnership and communications. All were valuable discussions and we have some good ideas we can implement locally.

Next, was a very informative sessions for me personally called ‘Intersectionality and the Pitfalls of Allyship. I fully recognize and acknowledge that this is an area I struggle with. However, it was a very effective session that built the basics as to how to be an effective ally to marginalized communities. This session is going on the road as well and we’ll see if we can get this in our area.

The last two sessions before the closing dealt with endorsements. We went through an extended session as a full group on the prospect of a presidential endorsement during the primary season. I’ve included two pictures in particular that highlight the positives and the negatives of such an endorsement. I’d like to have this conversation as a group as well during our September meeting to see how everybody else feels about such a prospect so I’ll save my own comments on the matter till then. I’ll just say, I came out of that meeting less opposed to the idea then I did going in. If you would like to know more, please contact me directly.

We also talked about the congressional endorsement process. The process is more complex than this but it boils down to the following:

Local group nominates a candidate based on their own vetting process
National team sends said candidate a questionnaire
Assuming no issues come up with that, an endorsement is then given

This can then invoke support from National in terms of money and direct advertisement.

Finally, to wrap up the day, we heard from inspiring stories from groups around the country and how they flipped their local house races by employing multiple creative methods. Overall, it was a great first and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. Let me know if you have any other questions.