Tom Steyer’s Grassroots Organizations Had Major Impact on Midterm Elections
NextGen America and Need to Impeach provide roadmap for 2020 success
San Francisco, CA — Today, Tom Steyer’s NextGen America and Need to Impeach released memos detailing new voter file data that shows the enormous impact of their electoral work in 2018. NextGen and Need to Impeach reached over 12 million voters, boosted turnout rates significantly in targeted races, and ran the largest grassroots youth vote mobilization program in history. NextGen America and Need to Impeach worked to turn out young voters and voters motivated by taking action against Donald Trump and helped Democrats take back the House, win key Senate and Governor races, and flip state legislative chambers across the nation.
NextGen America and Need to Impeach used both traditional and new innovative methods to reach specific cohorts of voters and created communities where voters could talk to and motivate one another — their own peers — rather than rely on persuasion by candidates or party committees. NextGen and Need to Impeach used their resources to finetune tactics that met different kinds of voters where they are, for example, registering 257,857 young people to vote and impeachment signers writing 939,855 notecards to other signers.
“In 2018, NextGen America and Need to Impeach set out to fight for the interests of everyday Americans and take a stand against the divisive and fear-driven politics of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. We did just that, making decisive contributions to races that came down to the wire across the country. From the defeat of Scott Walker in Wisconsin to sweeping successes across California, we played to win, and we mobilized voters like never before,” said Tom Steyer.
While turnout was high across the country, youth turnout was disproportionately high. In NextGen states, youth turnout (18-29) increased from 18% in 2014 to 40% in 2018. Remarkably, 61% of young people organized by NextGen America cast a ballot in November. More information regarding NextGen America’s efforts can be found here.
NextGen was particularly successful at communicating with and mobilizing young people of color in its targeted states.The Black and Latinx voters organized by NextGen turned out 10 points higher than those not contacted by the group, compared to a 5 point increase for young white voters. Effectively organizing young people of color is integral to Democrats taking back the White House in 2020, and NextGen’s youth program will be key to winning tough battleground states.
Focusing on impeachment messaging drove 79% of Need to Impeach signers to vote in the 2018 midterms, compared to 57% of registered voters nationally. In NTI’s 43 most targeted congressional districts, Democrats won 36 races (84% win rate), and NTI’s higher-than-expected turnout exceeded the margin of victory in 10 of those 36 races. More information on NTI’s efforts to mobilize voters in the midterms can be found here.
Member-to-member handwritten notecards proved to have the biggest impact on turnout nationwide. NTI signers that were sent one, two, or three handwritten notecards turned out at rates that were 3.96 percentage points higher than turnout among comparable NTI signers that were not sent a handwritten notecard.
Tom Steyer’s 2018 efforts also included investments in For Our Future, the largest independent field operation for the progressive movement, Uniting California, a joint grassroots initiative with the California Labor Federation and local organizations, and GiveGreen, a partnership between NGA, the League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund, and the National Resources Defense Council to help to elect environmental champions by raising direct campaign contributions. All of these efforts resulted in not only a banner year for Democrats — but a more engaged and expanded electorate made up of many first time voters. These newly engaged voters not only shaped success in the 2018 midterms, but also are necessary to defeat Donald Trump and the GOP in 2020 and beyond. The next fight of our nation’s future is just around the corner, and NextGen and NTI are already hard at work engaging progressives, young voters, and working Americans to make an even larger impact in 2020.