Discover more from Hopium Chronicles By Simon Rosenberg
2023 Has Been A Year of Expansion and Growth For Democrats, After Ohio More Ballot Initiatives Across The US
"From Ohio to Virginia this week, people voted for freedom" - Kamala Harris
Happy Saturday all! 2023 has been a good year for us. Be sure to read my two posts (here, here) reviewing the breadth and depth of our victories, and let’s start off today with a wonderful video Kamala Harris released yesterday, that includes this caption:
From Ohio to Virginia this week, people voted for freedom. They voted for liberty. And they voted to uphold our democracy.
A Year of Expansion and Growth - This morning I woke up thinking about expansion, growth, taking geographic and demographic real estate away from them, the core of our get to 55 idea. In the elections running up to Tuesday we took away a Wisconsin Supreme Court seat, took away Jacksonville and Colorado Springs, took away state house and state senate seats in special elections across the US, and got all the way up to 57% in the August Ohio Vote No ballot initiative.
On Tuesday, this trend of us going on offense and taking stuff away from them continued. We took away state house and state senate seats in New Jersey; took away the Virginia state house and the viability of the 15 week abortion ban as a national play; we took away their extremist abortion restrictions in Ohio, getting all the way up to 57% again - a humiliating defeat for the Republicans in Ohio and across the country; took away county, municipal and school board seats all across the US; and in Kentucky, Beshear actually improved upon his 2019 results, growing his vote. It was a year of clear Democratic expansion across the country, what I hoped for when I wrote my get to 55 memo back in March. Their extremism is giving opportunities to keep taking things away from them, to go on offense, and we did, all year, across the country, is election after election of all kinds. It was a remarkably successful year for us, and should leave us optimistic about what we can do together in 2024.
In that spirit sharing this wonderful, warm Hopium-filled message from Irene, a community member:
Thank you Simon for inviting us to all be part of such a purposeful community. I’m amazed daily how much I’ve learned from you and all our other members in such a brief amount of time. It feels like I’ve attended a Masters Class in Civics.
And today I’m just reveling in the wonderful feelings of SUCCESS for all those peeps in Ohio and Virginia and Kentucky and every position won last night that takes us a step closer to saving our democracy. And I actually got a bit teary eyed hearing about the rising of locals to basically lock out extremists from their school boards. Democratic locals refusing to allow their libraries and books to be controlled by extremism. Hallelujah.
Lots of work ahead; agree. But today it’s celebration time everyone: we did it! 💃
Thank you Irene, and all of you, who worked so hard to make our strong performance on Tuesday, and in elections all across the US this year, possible!!!!!!!!
Yes, Hopium is hope with a plan. We don’t just hope that we will win. We do the work to make it so. And we will need to that work together in 2024 to make it the election we all want it to be.
Some resources to do a deeper dive on this encouraging election:
Video Presentation - My 2023 Election Recap With Sam Cornale of the DNC
Words/News/Magazines - You can find me in Ron Brownstein’s Atlantic essay, Republicans Can’t Figure It Out, and in this very smart Financial Times piece, Will US voters believe they are better off with Biden? (Financial Times). Be sure to read Tom Bonier’s new NYT op-ed, American Elections Are About Abortion Now. A new USA Today story, How Did Democrats Win Big Despite Biden’s Bad Polls?, features this passage:
Even if some aren't willing to credit Biden, Tuesday's election made Democrats more convinced they have the right message and foil in Trump as the likely Republican nominee.
Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg said the off-year 2023 races marked the latest example of Democrats overperforming historic expectations in the era of Trump including the 2022 midterm elections, a string of local mayors races and dozens of special elections at all levels.
"There is a clear trend. This is been going on for a year and a half. The data is all pointing in the same direction," Rosenberg said.
He said the "fear and opposition of MAGA" – combined with the Supreme Court's overturning of abortion rights – has created a winning climate for Democrats. And he is skeptical Trump, the Republican front-runner who topped out at 46.8% of the national vote in 2020, can perform better in 2024 given his efforts to overturn the last election, multiple criminal indictments and the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade thanks to Trump's court appointments.
"Many of the challenges that Biden have are things that we can overcome. They're doable within a campaign. They're addressable. They're manageable. Trump's problems, I think, are unmanageable and can't be fixed," Rosenberg said. "As a strategist, I see our path for victory. I don't see their path for victory."
After Ohio, Advocates for Reproductive Freedom Look To Florida and Others States - The NYT has a new story today, Ohio Voted To Protect Abortion Rights. Could Florida Be Next?, about what comes next after our big success in Ohio:
Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, campaigns to protect abortion rights have galvanized voters in state after state. It has become Democrats’ most successful issue ahead of an uncertain 2024 election cycle — and their biggest hope, especially after voters in Ohio approved on Tuesday a measure to enshrine abortion rights in the State Constitution.
That triumphant streak has propelled campaigns for similar abortion measures in swing, or potentially swing, states, including Arizona, Florida, Nevada and Pennsylvania. But none might be as tantalizing a prize as Florida, which has moved increasingly out of Democrats’ grasp in electoral contests……
The parallels between the two states give Florida organizers hope for success, despite steep obstacles that include a court review of the proposed ballot measure and a costly petition-gathering process. If voters in Florida get to weigh in on the abortion question, organizers say, they too are likely to want to protect their rights.
“Florida has always been a deeply libertarian state,” said Anna Hochkammer, executive director of the Florida Women’s Freedom Coalition. “‘Find your tribe, find your people, live your life — we’ll leave you alone.’ It’s part of Floridian culture. And Floridians reject outright that the government should be involved in these decisions. It is deeply offensive to Floridians’ sense of independence and freedom.”
Since June 2022, when Roe was overturned, states have given voters a direct say on abortion access, either to protect abortion rights, weaken them or explicitly exclude them from state constitutions. Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan all voted to expand or maintain abortion rights.
In Florida, a coalition of groups under the umbrella organization of Floridians Protecting Freedom, including Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union, has collected a little more than half of the nearly 900,000 petition signatures it needs for a ballot measure that aims to limit “government interference with abortion” before a fetus is considered viable, which is often around 24 weeks of pregnancy. Abortion was legal up to 24 weeks in Florida until last year.
No question we will tracking all these initiatives closely, and as Hopium community members know we’ve been promoting the Florida initiative for many months now. Anna Hochkammer, quoted above and featured in my post, will be joining us soon to give us an update on their progress.
Keep working hard all. We are making a difference - Simon