Summary

Chapter 1: Making the most of a Democratic trifecta: four lessons from 2009. Defeating Trump is an incredible victory but we need to keep up the pressure on members of Congress (MoCs) in order to fix our democracy and deliver on progressive priorities. We know, because we’ve been here before. In this chapter, we outline lessons we learned as Democratic congressional staffers during President Obama’s 2009-2010 trifecta:

  1. Expect the GOP to obstruct, delay, and engage in bad faith BS

  2. Prepare to counter a grassroots conservative backlash

  3. Expect congressional Democrats to get cold feet

  4. Go big, go fast, get it right

Chapter 2: First, fix our democracy. Trump was a symptom of a serious disease afflicting our democracy. The most urgent thing we must do is unrig it and put power back in the hands of the people. Progress on all of our other priorities depends on unrigging the system with structural reforms. In addition to the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act that means:

  1. Fix the Senate: Make D.C. a state and give self-determination to other territories.

  2. Fix the Courts: Unpack the Supreme Court, expand it, and make reforms to depoliticize it.

  3. Take away McConnell’s Veto: Eliminate the filibuster so the senate majority can legislate in response to the will of the people.

Finally, we lay out a 2021 legislative timeline to give you a sense of what saving democracy could look like next year if we’re wildly successful.

Chapter 3: Understand your Member of Congress, understand our power. We’re in a whole new world. A Democratic trifecta is brand new political reality, which means your Member of Congress (MoC) will act differently now than they have in the past. The key to using your power to effectively pressure your MoCs is understanding how they think and what their goals are. It’s different depending on what types of MoCs you have:

 

  • Democratic Leadership: Will be focused on keeping their majority, and will be responsive to the pressures from other Democratic members.

  • Average Democrats: Will avoid rocking the boat, and will go along with Leadership assuming nobody back home gets mad at them.

  • Progressive Democrats: Will aim to push Leadership to go bolder, but will need support from the grassroots to push forward confidently.

  • Conservative Democrats: Will aim to push Leadership to go slower and smaller, but will be worried about grassroots pressure locally.

  • Republicans: Will aim to appear reasonable while attempting to block everything, but may be cowed by substantial grassroots pressure.

No matter who your MoC is, your organized, constituent power is crucial right now. Here we discuss what advocacy success looks like for each type of MoC, as well as tried and true Indivisible tactics for applying your constituent   power.