By Leah Greenberg, Indivisible Action Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director
We’re in the middle of our 2024 planning. And I don’t think I’m breaking news when I say that 2024 is gonna be a strange and nerve-wracking year.
So I thought I would send an email that summarizes what we know and what we don’t know about 2024.
Here’s what we know:
Trump is on track to be the GOP nominee.
Let’s be real: Trump is absolutely stomping the rest of the GOP field. He remains hugely popular. Republicans had a chance to get rid of him back in 2021, after January 6th. They could have declared that he lost the election, fair and square. They could have endorsed impeachment and accountability. They didn’t do that. They hoped that if they stayed quiet, he would just go away. And now, predictably, they’re reaping the consequences.
Some commentators have suggested that Trump could need to leave the race as his legal problems mount. This ignores the reality that Trump is running because he has legal problems. He and his allies are super clear: he’s in the race so that he can take control of the Department of Justice, ideally before his trials start. He’s not going to drop out just because he’s being indicted or going on trial.
We are planning on the assumption that, barring a health crisis or a left-field decision by Trump to leave the race, Donald Trump will be the nominee.
Trump’s general election polling strength should worry everyone.
We don’t do “SKY IS FALLING” emails or cheap scare tactics. But we’re concerned. Because after everything we’ve been through — four disastrous years, an actual literal attempted coup, mind-boggling levels of corruption, roughly a zillion indictments — polling is consistently showing Trump tied with Biden. And some polls are showing him in the lead.
We can pick apart the methodology of individual polls. But we should not fool ourselves: there’s a very real and serious threat that Donald Trump could win this election.
We’re going to face a serious threat from third party candidates.
Republican front group No Labels is running a $70 million campaign to put a spoiler on the ballot in key swing states. Cornel West is running on the Green Party line. RFK Jr. is about to jump to a third party candidacy. Taken all together, it’s clear that we can’t take any vote for granted.
The funding environment is bad.
You may have seen Michelle Goldberg’s recent column on how progressive organizations are struggling to raise money, or Billy Wimsatt’s memo raising the alarm about organizations having to cut back programs and staff before 2024. Across the Democratic ecosystem, organizations are cutting programs and doing layoffs at the worst possible moment. We’re losing capacity that we’re going to need next year for lack of money this year.
What we don’t know about 2024
How will the Trump trials play?
I know this is obvious but I’m just going to say it: we have never lived through a presidential election where one candidate is repeatedly going on trial for criminal charges. Donald Trump is currently scheduled to have one trial start in January, one in March, and one in May. Even if that schedule changes, we’re talking about most of the 2024 election year being consumed with criminal trial headlines, dramatic developments, verdicts and appeals, and potentially dangerous reactions from Trump’s followers. No one can predict the full political implications of this. We’re completely off the map.
Will 2024 look more like the national polling results or the 2023 special election results?
Here’s the flip side to all the bad news above: Democrats are doing way, way better in special and local elections this year than our national polls would predict. In fact, we’re kind of mopping the floor with Republicans. From the WI Supreme Court race to local elections around the country, Dems are performing somewhere between 7–10 points above Biden’s performance in 2020.
We’ve got a theory for why this is happening: we think that the Dobbs decision has set in motion a very significant political backlash reaction. I wrote a longer version of this argument here if you want to check it out. If we’re right, that means the path to victory in 2024 depends on convincing voters that reproductive freedom and our democracy are at stake everywhere. And we have a plan for that.
Will fundraising turn around?
This is an actual, urgent question for everyone in politics right now. And this is where I ask you for money (SURPRISE! IT’S A FUNDRAISING EMAIL!).
At Indivisible, we’ve done our best to weather the tough fundraising climate this year. But we make plans based on how much we think we can raise in 2023 and 2024 — and right now, our projections are grim. We fell over $40,000 short on small dollar fundraising in September alone. We either have to make that money up, or we have to spend less. And that translates into real cuts to the programs we need to win in 2024 — less support to swing states and districts, fewer voters contacted, less money to Indivisible groups to get out the vote.
You may have noticed that, even as our fundraising was tanking in September, we didn’t besiege you with five fundraising emails a day at the end of the month. In fact, we didn’t send a single end-of-month email. We figured you were already besieged with those! And the fact is, we knew that when the time was right, we could count on you to step up.
Why are we so confident, despite our numbers this year? Because this is the movement that showed up like no other to resist Trump. That recognized the threat he posed to our democracy and rose up in response — forming groups, organizing locally, and driving a powerful grassroots wave.
We’re now facing that same threat — but this time around, we see it coming and we can do the organizing now to make sure he never gets back into office. So, if you’re in a position to give, now’s the time.