Winning NY-3, Voting on Day 1, and Building The Most Powerful Democratic Machine We’ve Ever Had

Early Voting Has Begun In NY-3, Please Donate/Volunteer Today!



We had a good week friends. Got some encouraging new Biden polling, jobs report was a really big one, Trump looks worse every day, the Republican Party is broke and struggling, the Biden digital team has started doing really important and effective stuff (see the Last Word interview). Lot’s of stuff to chew on in links above – enjoy. And a big welcome to our new subscribers – excited to have you here. We have a lot of work to do, together, in the months ahead. 

Let’s Do More, Worry Less – In our 2024 spirit of growth and expansion, I’m encouraging members of the Hopium community to get involved and take an action in four campaigns and projects, below. A hearty thank you to the thousands here who’ve already donated, volunteered and spread some Hopium:

  • Flip NY-3 – Tom Suozzi leads in the early polls and will win if we give Tom the resources and volunteers he needs. The election is Feb. 13th and early in person voting has begin so please take an action to help Tom today! If you want to learn more watch my recent interviewfrom last week, and take an action here:Donate – Learn More – Get Updates– Canvass – Make Calls – Write Postcards
  • Elect Joe And Kamala, Beat Trump – Please donate to Biden-Harris today, join the campaign and start planning for what you will do to help them spread their message through your networks and win the core 7 battlegrounds AZ, GA, MI, NC, NV, PA, WI. Beating Trump is Job 1 this year!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Get Early Resources to North Carolina, Our Most Important 2024 Expansion State – Our number one Presidential battleground expansion opportunity this year is North Carolina, and I am encouraging the Hopium community to support the Democratic Party of North Carolina and its dynamic new chair, Anderson Clayton. Watch my recent interview with Anderson and learn how to donate and volunteer here. Help us turn Carolina blue!
  • Spread Hopium – Help me bring Hopium to more people this year. Our goal is to get to 50,000 total subscribers by March 31st (we are at 36,000 today). Please encourage others in your network to sign up and become part of this wonderful community of proud patriots and info warriors today!

Winning NY-3, Voting on Day 1, The Power of Our Grassroots – Early, in-person voting starts today in our critical effort to elect Tom Suozzi and flip NY-3. Election Day, the final day of voting, is Tuesday, February 13th so if you are going to give or volunteer in this race please do it today! 

Donate – Learn More – Get Updates – Canvass – Make Calls – Write Postcards

I want to spend a moment now reflecting on how our politics has changed in recent years, and why we just keep overperforming and winning in elections of all kinds across the country. It is something I discuss in this recent post, and is the core of what Ezra Klein and I talked about on his NYT podcast. 

Voting on Day 1 – For years Democrats were an Election Day party. Our field operations were always built to drive turnout on Election Day, and everything built up to that final push. But with the expansion of early in-person voting windows and no-excuse mail voting, our strategy of how to turn our vote out is changing. It’s something I call “Voting on Day 1,” and the idea is that we now can and should shoot to win elections in the early vote not on Election Day. 

At the core of this strategy is the understanding that when you vote early, on Day 1 of the early vote, for example, the campaign knows you voted and will remove you from their GOTV/field targets. So no one will call you, knock on your door, text you etc. The campaign moves on to others who have not yet voted. So the bigger the early vote, the more of us who vote early/on Day 1, the faster the campaign can move on to lower propensity voters, ones who may need a bit more of a push. So voting early actually increases overall Democratic turnout for by removing yourself from the GOTV rolls you are allowing the campaign to go touch and reach voters historically we never had the bandwidth to reach. Voting on Day 1 increases Democratic turnout, grows our vote and helps us win. 

A strong early vote also does a few other things: 

  • It creates a very public permission structure and social pressure for voters who are not sure about voting, of when they are going to vote, to vote. “Hey other people seem to be voting I need to vote too.” Stories about all these people voting early drives bigger turnout, and for a party which traditionally has had more new and episodic voters than the other side, this is very good for us. 
  • It is a daily affirmation of the health and vitality of our democracy, something desperately needed today. All these people voting, and voting successfully, is in itself a sort of repudiation of MAGA and Trumpism. No cheating, no manipulation, just folks voting, and voting in big numbers. I’m convinced that part of the reason Trump has warred so much against early and mail voting is that it actually makes it harder for him to cheat or claim we have as how could something be wrong when we’ve seen an orderly voting process for weeks all across the US? 

So something I want all of you to think about is to become advocates in your communities and networks of Voting on Day 1. To be a loyal Democrat, a proud patriot, is to Vote on Day 1. When we vote on Day 1 we expand our turnout, grow our vote and help us win. Imagine if this November millions of the most passionate Democrats vote on Day 1 (in person, mail, dropbox), taking ourselves off the GOTV rolls, allowing our campaigns to move more rapidly to reaching lower propensity Dems, and creating stories about massive interest in voting. It is one of the ways we win this year, whether in NY-3 now, or in all the elections across the US this fall. 

It’s why donating or volunteering for Tom Suozzi right now is so important. Do not wait. Your money or volunteer work helps drive this early Day 1 voting, and accelerates the onset of this virtuous cycle which will help push our performance to the upper end of what is possible in NY-3. It is no longer about showing up that final weekend to canvass or on Election Day – now we win elections in these early days of the early and mail vote. That is when we have to bring it now, not in the final day of voting itself. So please donate or volunteer for Tom Suozzi today, and let’s start talking about how we make Voting on Day 1 a national effort in all our communities in 2024. 

It’s why all this early money we are raising together for Tom Suozzi, Joe and Kamala and the Anderson Clayton and NC Dems matters so much. Our politics is much more front loaded than ever before, and the earlier they get resources the earlier they build the GOTV apparatus needed to make all this magic happen. A dollar for Anderson Clayton today, or Tom Suozzi, or Biden-Harris is worth far more than a dollar in the final days of the election. 

The Power of Our Grassroots – We Are Building The Most Powerful Political Machine We’ve Ever Had – A central reason I launched Hopium last March was that I had come to understand how powerful this bottom up, citizen-led, Democratic grassroots – this work you all do – had become. The development of this new networked army we have was driven by a few key developments – the advent of remote phone and texting technology which allowed us for the first time to export our labor to swing areas not just our money; the postcarding revolution which has created an on ramp for political activism for many who may not have been comfortable with live engagement with voters; Zoom, which has brought politics and political activism into people’s kitchens and living rooms in ways that were just not possible before, and has lowered the barrier to entry for meaningful political engagement for so many. The adoption of these new methods were radically accelerated by COVID, and the urgency of finding a way to beat Trump in 2020 without our traditional in person ways of campaigning. It’s just far easier for an average citizen to make a difference than ever before. And what’s so inspiring is that so many of you are stepping up, rising to the MAGA challenge, and doing everything you possibly can to ensure our freedoms and democracy don’t slip away. It is the highest form of patriotism, love of country, and I feel so blessed to in this fight, with all of you, every day. For as we say here, Hopium is hope with a plan. We don’t just hope these elections will be good for us. We put our heads down, do the work and make them so. 

But as our grassroots army grows, and more and more citizens become engaged, and take action, the more money our campaigns are raising, the bigger and more powerful their campaigns are becoming, and the more we overperform expectations and win. We all saw this play out in 2022, when there were two elections in America. A bluer election inside the battleground where all of you went to work, and a redder one outside where we didn’t. The money you raised allowed our campaigns to better control the information environment and overcome the power of the right wing noise machine; and it allowed the campaigns to build the best and biggest field operations we’ve ever had, which created the capacity to absorb all of your labor, and push turnout to the upper end of what was possible. 

On November 1st, 2021 I wrote my first memo arguing that 2022 was likely to be a close, competitive election and not a red wave. One of the three main reasons I cited for my optimism was the set of new turnout tools we were developing that would make the dropoff of turnout so typical for the party in power in mid-term elections far less likely: 

Democrats Have Been Turning Out in Very Large Numbers – In every election since 2016, Democrats have seen turnout hit the very top of what many thought achievable – in 2018, 2020 and it has continued in 2021 with very high performances in the GA runoff and the CA recall, two ‘special elections” where Democrats often underperform.  Early turnout in Virginia has also exceeded expectations, and we learn tomorrow if that will be enough to help give Dems the edge.

Some of this heightened turnout is due to fear of MAGA, but some of it is also due to how Democratic campaigns are evolving.  With far more money than before, Democrats can build much more sophisticated campaigns to target and reach their episodic and new voters.  The extra time early voting and vote by mail provides helps with this too, as does recent innovations in distributed texting and phone technologies that allow a race like McAuliffe’s to draw on volunteers from across the country for voter contact.  In essence the Democratic turnout machine is just bigger and better than ever before.  This means that Democrats are more likely to hit the upper end of what is possible in turnout far more often, as we did this year in GA and CA…..

The turnout burden of proof may in fact be on the Republicans in 2022, for if anyone has been suffering from turnout problems in recent elections it has been the GOP without Trump on the ballot. 

But what I learned in 2022 during our collective battle against the red wave and MAGA, was that this new political machine we were building together was about much more than new tools, it was about a new Democratic citizen-led grassroots eco-system that was channeling all of our anxiety and fear into concrete action – it was about all of you. In the talks I gave during the 2022 cycle I became blown away by the organizations and networks you were building, your ambition, your rigor, your passion and clear, abiding love of country. Part of the reason I stuck to my guns and argued there wasn’t going to be a red wave that fall was that every time I spoke to groups of you out there over Zoom what I felt was passion, intensity, grit, determination, fight. And I knew all these claims about Democrats having less intensity were just wrong. You all were going to bring it in the election in 2022, and you did. And we defied history. And then we did it again all throughout 2023, in all kinds of elections, all across the country. And then we did it again with Tom Keen in Orlando a few weeks ago, a race few believed we could win. And we are going to do it again with Tom Suozzi. And we are going to do it again with Joe and Kamala and all the races we simply must win this November. 

Together, all of you have built the most powerful Democratic political machine we’ve ever had. Parties in power always, always lose seats and power in mid-term and off year elections. We just gained seats in 2022 and 2023, defying history and all expectations. And this is where those who are arguing that this Democratic intensity we are seeing in elections of all kinds these last few years may not show up in November – because they don’t understand that this intensity and passion and fear of MAGA, coupled with new tools, is allowing us to build the biggest and most powerful campaigns – which can both win over swing voters and drive Democratic turnout – that we have ever seen. This decentralized, bottom up, networked Democratic grassroots is our new superpower. 

Let’s keep doing the work my friends. Take an action for Tom Suozzi today. Donate, volunteer, help him drive the early vote, help him win. For those of you in NY-3 vote today, and encourage others to do so. Do not wait. There is nothing more important you can do for your country, your democracy and your party this weekend than help Tom Suozzi win. 

Honored to be in this fight with all of you. Being here with all of you is the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. Let’s keep doing the work, and kicking ass, together – Simon

Leave a Reply