Way to Win is a resource and strategy hub founded in 2017 by a group of donors and organizers seeking a new approach to progressive political funding that wins elections, advances transformative policy, and builds lasting power.
The Way to Win strategy supports candidates who reflect the values and demographics of their communities and the independent political organizations who work to elect and hold them accountable to improving lives.
Despite massive political spending since 2008, progressives find ourselves shut out from power in Washington, DC, and the states. New efforts on the left often turn to the same operatives, strategies, and tactics that failed in 2016 and before. However, recent victories for mayors, prosecutors, and local elected officials point to a proven way to win that centers the base. Our goal is to address the crises of our time: economic inequality, racial injustice, climate change, among others, not to simply ensure a Democrat wins. As progressives struggle to chart a path of resistance, now is the time for donors and strategists to reimagine our political giving.
GUIDED BY PRINCIPLES. FOCUSED ON TRANSFORMATION.
Way to Win demands rigor and impact, driven not just by victory, but by our core progressive principles:
- Create tangible improvement in people’s lives through progressive governance, not just by winning elections.
- Shift the balance of power back to communities through strong organizations that build long-term relationships rather than seek voters for short-term transactional wins.
- Center racial and economic justice, and the interplay between the two, as the core of systemic change.
The Way to Win strategy supports the alignment of donors, organized communities, and political candidates who reflect their constituents to:
- Win back the White House and Congress by creating a political realignment in the South and Southwest through the millions of voters ignored by traditional parties and campaigns.
- Take power at the city and state levels by investing in primaries, winning local races, and inspiring turnout. We will also combat REDMAP and prepare for redistricting by holding governorships and flipping state legislative chambers with inspiring progressives, not just generic Democrats.
- Establish a model of progressive governance, advancing bold policies that improve people’s everyday lives – e.g. living wage, universal healthcare, debt-free education, affordable housing, and criminal justice reform at the state and local levels until we regain power at the national level.
- Reorganize structures of accountability. Rather than donors being accountable to the Democratic Party, we need a party that is accountable to progressive social movements, backed by progressive donors.
We will prioritize five states – Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Virginia – that have the power to transform the political landscape for a generation with their combined 105 Electoral College votes. These states are within grasp for full governing majority, were among the only states to gain Democratic voters in 2016, and have strong multiracial coalitions on the ground. We will also prioritize work in “power cities” across the Midwest and other areas that have large populations of people of color and the opportunity to build multi-racial coalitions around a shared vision of racial and economic justice.
A NEW DONOR STRATEGY TO WIN
Way to Win aims to give local organizers the tools they need to win. Our team of strategists will help guide resources, monitoring the short and long-term goals, and driving alignment on the ground in three areas:
INDEPENDENT POLITICAL POWER
We support organizations that are independent of the Democratic Party that play inside and outside the party structure, get candidates elected, build deep community relationships, and hold office-holders accountable.
VISION AND IDEAS
We promote a transformative agenda for the economy that addresses the drastic state of economic inequality while understanding the ways racism functions as an additional source of exclusion and injustice.
We support visionary candidates who offer an agenda that inspires the base with a plan to truly transform lives. We invest in primaries that will push that progressive agenda into prominence.
MODELING A NEW KIND OF POLITICAL GIVING
Our giving model learns from mistakes of the past, and promotes a forward-thinking, comprehensive strategy to win.
|TRADITIONAL POLITICAL FUNDING||WAY TO WIN|
|Short-term funding, 3-months before an election, and significantly reduced funding in off-years||Year-round funding, including in off-cycle years to build capacity and continue engagement between elections|
|Focus on candidates and select GOTV organizations||Focus on building independent political power in a way that provides candidate support and develops long-term relationship building|
|Focus on moving moderate swing voters with a message of incremental change and protecting the status quo||Focus on inspiring the Democratic base to turn out with a visionary progressive racial and economic justice message|
|Focus on the national||Focus on the local, building towards the national|
|Plans created by donors; organizations treated as vendors. Unlimited budget requests.||Organizations create plans together, and invite donors to fund those plans. Concrete budget plans and deliverables.|
|Focus on TV ads||Focus on field organizing and smart, targeted,digital strategies|