The Future of Democracy Depends on the Ground Game

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Linda Burnham, Solidaire Elder in Residence, published an op-ed in the Nation Magazine title, The Future of Democracy Depends on the Ground Game.

But elections are not won by pollsters and pundits. The outcome often hinges on who’s got the best ground game—who’s doing the work at the granular level to educate and motivate voters and to resist voter suppression. This work is mostly unseen and uncelebrated, yet the preservation of democratic norms and institutions depends upon it.

Along with Max Elbaum and Maria Poblet, Burham edited the 2022 book Power Concedes Nothing: How Grassroots Organizing Wins Elections. Solidaire hosted a learning series on the topic as we geared up for the 2022 elections.

In her role as a Solidaire Elder in Residence, Burnham produced, Project2050. The report sought to stimulate strategic thinking and greater alignment on the U.S. left. This report was completed in July 2022 and offers frameworks for discussion and debate about the strengths and weaknesses of the left and the identification of political goals that might be achievable over the next 25-30 years. The report is offered in the hopes that it will contribute to opening up the kinds of conversations that lead to greater political clarity and unity among diverse left forces. It has already had an immense impact on Solidaire’s own strategic direction processes.

Yedidia and the workers of UNITE HERE have no interest in perpetually playing defense against fascists. With an enormous amount of hard work and a little bit of luck, millions of door knocks will secure a political landscape that favors the growing militancy of workers, including those who are not yet unionized.

There’s no glamour in door knocking or in registering lapsed and first-time voters, but there’s much to learn from the unsung and under-resourced work without which what remains of US democracy cannot be salvaged. If we squeak by in November, it will be due, in no small part, to the efforts of groups like Black Voters Matter and UNITE HERE.

Read the full article, The Future of Democracy Depends on the Ground Game, here.