From protest to power.
To build the necessary power to make our values reflected in our policies, we must have an electoral strategy.
If we are serious about affecting change we need to be building political power at all levels and training and supporting our members to run for office.
Rights & Democracy staff, leaders, and allies are preparing a series of candidate trainings for later in fall 2021. See below for more information!
In 2016, Rights & Democracy engaged in our statewide elections by building a team who vetted over 60 candidates who filled out our candidate questionnaire by setting follow up interviews with those whose values aligned with our organization’s and bringing endorsement recommendations to our leadership committee who voted to endorse a slate of 37 local and statewide candidates (20 of whom won their elections).
In 2018, we endorsed 42 candidates and 24 won election, or re-election, including several who flipped previously held Republican seats and helped create a legislative supermajority that, when they all stick together, can override any gubernatorial veto. In addition, 5 out of the current 12 Burlington City Councilors were endorsed and supported by RAD.
Our slate of endorsed candidates were supported through staff and volunteer time on doors and phonebanks, event coordination and turnout, social media, and email communication to our thousands of members throughout the state. Some of our endorsed candidates were founding members of Rights & Democracy, and others were allies whose values aligned with ours and who we knew would work with us toward passing progressive legislation in the VT statehouse. Since the start of the 2017 session we have been focusing heavily on building and strengthening our organizing teams, working with our endorsed and allied electeds to move forward critical legislation, and coordinating local resistance to Trump’s national attacks on immigrants, refugees, our healthcare, and the very integrity of our democratic institutions.
As part of our movement politics work, we have joined forces with the ACLU of Vermont, Let’s Grow Kids, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE), Vermont-NEA, Vermont Conservation Voters (VCV) and VPIRG for a joint electoral training partnership called Leadership Education and Development Vermont (LEAD-VT).
We are hosting a three-night training series this fall for aspiring candidates, on the following dates and times:
- Tuesday, November 2nd, 6pm – 8pm
- Tuesday, November 9th, 6pm – 8pm
- Tuesday, November 16th, 6pm – 8pm
Space is limited and we ask participants to commit to all three sessions. If you are interested in joining, please fill out the application linked below and we will be in touch.Apply for Fall 2021 Candidate Night School
OVER THE COMING YEAR AND A HALF, RAD WILL BUILD OUR MOVEMENT POLITICS WORK BY:
- Building our local organizing teams throughout the state (currently active in 7 counties) to cover every county in Vermont
- Recruiting RAD members and community members to participate in our local “movement politics” trainings, which will provide skills & agitational training on how to run for office or support an electoral campaign
- Engaging in a thorough and transparent endorsement process to run our members for office and support our allies, impacting elections in 2018 from selectboards on up to the governor’s race.
OUR NATIONAL MOVEMENT POLITICS PLATFORM IS GROUNDED IN 4 KEY STRATEGIES:
- Reject the Red/Blue binary – meaning we will run people who share our values and belief in making lasting change, and will mount primary challenges to incumbents when necessary and strategic
- Do not talk to voters like they are stupid – meaning we will be relational with voters and will talk to voters about Race and Gender, and we will share our big, long term vision with them
- Build grassroots candidates – this is characterized in our Candidate Pipeline (see below)
- Raise money from the 99% – we will build a movement run and owned by our people
OUR CANDIDATE PIPELINE HAS THREE PHASES:
- Candidate recruitment – Through relationship building and surfacing candidates from existing networks, event organizing and digital outreach.
- Electing our candidates – By supporting endorsed candidates through digital and social media communications to our membership, training on electoral skills and leadership development, organizing events, and support with strategy, tactics, and volunteer recruitment.
- Helping our candidates govern – By organizing with candidates in district, running events for constituent education and political analysis, and offering candidates access to resources from our statewide and national networks on legislative research and other information. e research and other information.