The General Election

Last night’s results made one thing clear:  the functional primary phase of this election is over. With last night’s wins, and states like Florida, Illinois, and Ohio that will vote on March 17th, Joe Biden’s delegate lead over Bernie Sanders will be equal to, and possibly even higher than Hillary Clinton’s at the same stage of the election. 

Moreover, Joe Biden continues to win states that Bernie Sanders won in 2016, tonight adding Idaho, and Michigan to a list that already included Maine, Minnesota, and Oklahoma.

We appreciate the role that all of our supporters have played in helping us get to this point.  We were proud to be the organization that stood in the breach during the primary fight, and while we begin preparations for the November fight against President Trump, we will not take our eye off the first strategic imperative:  ensuring Joe Biden has earned enough pledged delegates to secure the nomination in Milwaukee.

Following New Hampshire, at a critical time of the race, UTC donors provided us with the resources to invest nearly a million dollars in Nevada with a broadcast television buy, backed up with a highly targeted digital effort, and even a more traditional mail and phones effort focused primarily on older and African American voters.  

In South Carolina, we also married the new and old technologies, by investing several weeks out in urban and gospel radio, with a focus on stations outside of traditional media markets, as well as utilizing direct mail to support the Vice President’s message. We also were able to successfully drive home Congressman Clyburn’s endorsement in numerous communication mediums immediately following his announcement.

And on Super Tuesday, we invested in a mix of technologies, using urban radio to drive a Get Out the Vote message in 22 media markets across seven states, as well as utilizing modeling to focus our digital efforts in key Congressional districts across 8 states, including late investments in Minnesota.  Tonight, we leaned in with significant radio, television, digital and mail investments in in Michigan, Mississippi, and Missouri – and looking towards March 17th, we’ve already begun communicating with likely early voters in Florida and Illinois, and are looking to add broadcast television, digital investments and GOTV efforts in Arizona, Ohio and Georgia.  

Over the last ten days, we’ve brought in nearly $10 million, with triple that in commitments!  It is critical to note that we are the sole outside group focused on ensuring Joe Biden wins the nomination, and beginning to chart an important lane for the 2020 general election.  While there are other groups doing good work towards the general election, as we learned in 2016, we must to make sure we finish the job in the primary – and we will continue to have the Vice President’s back in this cause

There are a lot of players who are focused on Donald Trump, which is an important role, but as we learned in 2016, not the only role. The 2016 election was decided in a handful of communities, inside a handful of states, by voters who in many cases either voted for Obama, then Trump – or voters who voted for Obama and stayed home.  Moreover, many of those same voters turned out in 2018 and voted for Democrats up and down the ballot. To win in November – the race isn’t as simple as just defining Trump – we have to define the full choice. That is where Unite the Country comes in.

Winning requires completing three legs of a stool:

1) Engage the voices and energy of younger voters. 

2) Fully engage our base constituencies:  Black (African American and Caribbean American) and Latino voters – particularly those who live outside of the major media markets that get the bulk of organizing and outside message money.

3) Renew the conversation with voters in rural and suburban communities, voters who in many cases voted for Barack Obama once, if not twice, and voted for Democrats in 2018, but not in 2016.

Winning doesn’t require getting some of these right – it requires getting all of these pieces right.  Barack Obama did it in 2008 and 2012, and Democrats who won in did this in 2018. 

We will win this election in November grinding it out one voter at a time.

The campaign will continue to be limited in what it can raise until the convention, and until the joint fundraising efforts with the DNC can begin.  But Trump isn’t waiting for that to happen. 

We all know when push comes to shove the 2020 election is going to be decided in a handful of states:  Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – as well as making sure we don’t take our eye off the ball in states like Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Nevada.   And just like we did in the primary states, we understand that to reach the key voters in these states, it will require a variety of different mediums: from enhancing our digital capacities to talk to younger and suburban voters, to leaning in to rural radio and direct mail to talk to African Americans in rural communities.  

We’ve believed from the beginning that Joe Biden was uniquely positioned to Unite the Country.  His vision for America is one that is designed to expand the tent, bring more voices to the table, and creating space for a larger pool of voters to support his candidacy.  We also believe this is how history shows us that Democrats win. 

Each of you have done so much to get us to where we are today – on the verge of nominating Joe Biden as the Democratic Party’s choice for President.   You did this for the same reason the three of us did:  a fundamental belief that Joe Biden was our party’s best hope for defeating President Trump and helping Democrats up and down the ballot.  That goal is nearly complete, and the real work is about to begin.  We, and the entire team at Unite the Country, look forward to continuing to earn your support as we strive to unite the country behind a Joe Biden presidency.