Launch Progress is a political action committee that is committed to supporting young people, particularly people of color, during their first times running for state or local office. We were founded four years ago, during the last midterm season in 2014, and we have noticed some big changes in the political climate since then. Here are four things that are different than they were in 2014 and how those things will affect election outcomes.
1. There are more women running than ever.
According to EMILY’s List, one of the most successful and well-known women-focused political organizations, over 36,000 women are interested in running for some kind of political office in 2018. This is compared to only 920 women in 2014. In fact, over 300 women are running for the US House, nearly 30 women are running for the US Senate, and 40 women are running for governor’s races in 2018. Many were inspired by the Women’s Marches, saying “First we march, then we run.”
2. There is a national spotlight on 2018’s midterms.
Midterm elections usually go largely unnoticed by those uninterested in politics, and they certainly only seem to matter locally. However, this year, everyone is noticing. For example, North Carolina has the chance to flip their 120-seat State House from a red supermajority to blue. They only need to gain 4 seats to break the Republican supermajority and 16 seats to flip it. Both of these outcomes would restore the Democratic governor’s veto power and would have a huge impact on the lives of those who live in North Carolina. LaunchProgress has 5 candidates running for NC State House seats, and you can learn more and support them here.
3. We have a very divisive Republican President.
Historically, midterms elections result in more wins for the party opposing the President. On average, this is a gain of 21 seats in the US House and 4 seats in the US Senate, but the trend continues all the way down the ballot. This November in particular, with the unpopular President we have now, is posed to be a big year for Democrats. The left needs to gain 23 seats in order to take back the House, and, according to David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report, this is doable based on Democrats’ consistent over-performances in special elections so far this year. Go #BlueWave!
4. There are more small groups fighting for progressive values and young candidates.
When we started LaunchProgress in 2014, we were one of the first groups to say, “Let’s support candidates that may not be traditionally supported by either political party.” So we focused on electing young people, especially women, people of color, people from lower-income families, and people who are disabled. Since 2014, we have helped nearly 20 bright leaders win their first elected office.
Now, we are joined by many other incredible organizations: Indivisible, Our Revolution, the Sister District Project, We Will Replace You, Bold PAC, the Progressive Turnout Project, and many more.