Political Strategy

2019–2020 Political Strategy Update

As we head into the general election season, we’re taking a moment to revisit Sister District’s political strategy and how we will implement that strategy in 2019 and 2020.

Our goal is simple, succinct, and has remained unchanged since our start: to build and maintain progressive power through Democratic majorities in state legislatures across the country. Since our founding in late 2016, we have had tremendous success by executing a comprehensive strategy that involves both electoral and non-electoral tactics. We have stayed true to this strategy because we believe that state legislative races are where our volunteers can have the biggest impact and best return on their investment for their time and dollars.

Our political strategy involves targeting three types of state legislative chambers: Blue Flips, Blue Holds, and Blue Inroads.

Blue Flips: Chambers where Democrats are down 1–4 seats to flip, where we can flip in one cycle.
Blue Holds: Chambers where Democrats have a fragile 1–2 seat majority, which we have to defend and expand.
Blue Inroads: “No Chamber Left Behind” — Chambers where Democrats might not have a one-cycle solution to flipping, but where we must make whatever inroads we can particularly ahead of the Census in 2020 and redistricting thereafter.
In any given year, the mix of chambers and seats in these three categories changes, due to factors including the schedule of races and the shifting composition of chambers. And for the next two years, we will prioritize “Last Chance” races; these are races that are the last elections before redistricting in 2021, in states where the state legislature draws the lines — meaning whoever is elected in the race will draw their state’s next maps. Redistricting happens just once once a decade — and it’s coming up fast.

Sister District Project’s political strategy is complemented by non-electoral strategy performed by our affiliated (c)(4), Sister District Action Network (SDAN): voter registration efforts, civic education and engagement, and field experiments around new methods of voter and volunteer contact. Each year, SDP and SDAN work together to create a mix of electoral and non-electoral activities for our volunteer community.

Let’s take a look at our plans for 2019 and 2020.