Power-Building Strategy: Turn Alaska purple.
In the US Senate section of EveryDistrict’s 2040 Report, we model projected control of the Senate over the next twenty years. Alaska emerged as a state that could become a top battleground in that time period.
For Democrats to gain a greater footing in the Senate, one of our recommendations is to embrace the small, elastic state like Alaska. Today, we highlight the specifics of how to make change come to Alaska.
Alaska has shifted from a 25% Bush victory in 2004 to a 10% Trump victory in 2020. Even in losing by ten points in Alaska, Joe Biden only needed 36,000 more votes to claim the state. Alaska is a highly elastic state, with close statewide elections even when the presidential race has been more Republican-leaning.
Despite general Republican control of the state, recent developments beyond the shrinking presidential margins bode well for Democrats. The Top 4 primary passed in 2020 will allow for more moderate voices to gain power and could present an opening for Democrats to use this new system to their advantage.
In the state house, organized approaches to running nimble, innovative campaigns have elected Independents and moderate Republicans who have helped Democrats have some control of the Alaska House since 2014. We think there is continued evidence that the Alaska strategy can bring even further gains in the years ahead.
As a result, we firmly believe that finding those 36,000 votes should be a top priority for the Democratic Party. Those 36,000 votes would add three Electoral College votes, two US Senators, and a US House seat (given that Alaska has one at-large congressional district). This strategy would further buttress the gains Democrats have already made in the legislature.
So, how do we do it? In a state like Alaska, otherwise-challenging persuasion tactics become paramount where relatively few votes are needed to reshape control. EveryDistrict’s strategy to turn purple states blue is a “boots on the ground” strategy, where organizers are embedded in purple state legislative districts to organize year-round — not just in the few months before an election.
This type of “bottom up” strategy will pay dividends for candidates up and down the ballot, and it will build on the work that organizers have been doing in Alaska over the past four cycles. If we can build a winning Democratic coalition in the “purple” state legislative districts, then we’ve turned a state blue. In Alaska, we’ll be able to build on the tremendous work of leaders in Alaska who have built Democratic support in the state over the last half-decade.
How you can advance a 50-state strategy in Alaska:
- Support EveryDistrict’s efforts to elect Democratic state legislative candidates in Alaska in 2022. With the backing of the EveryDistrict community, we can add Alaska as our 13th focus state.
- Advance ballot initiatives that can continue to expand important policy reform in Alaska.
- Support EveryDistrict’s Win Number program that will help us better understand how to win the key demographics that can turn more places like Alaska purple.