* Choose your Core Four–two Democratic senators and two Democratic house reps, an incumbent and a challenger for each chamber–to support to in 2018.
From late 2016 until now, we’ve been going to bat for Democratic candidates in individual special elections. Usually, we’ve supported one Democrat at a time.
2018 will test our collective resolve as never before.
Literally hundreds of races–34 senators, and all 435 House reps–are taking place, and all of them will end on November 6, 2018.
If the Democrats are to win control of the House of Representatives (tough, because of gerrymandering, but doable) and the Senate (tougher, but thinkable now that Alabama Democrat Doug Jones won his special election Senate race in December 2017), we’ll all need to concentrate on, and help, more than one Congressional race at the same time.
We at OTYCD suggest that you prepare for what’s coming by choosing your “Core Four”–four Democratic candidates who will receive the bulk of your efforts.
Two Democrats for the House of Representatives.
Two Democrats for the Senate.
One incumbent and one challenger for each chamber of Congress.
How to Pick Your Core Four
There’s no right way or wrong way to choose your Core Four, but we suggest starting in your own backyard, with the members of Congress who represent your state.
If you don’t know who your members of Congress are, go to this website and plug your street address into the search engine:
…then research the three names–one House rep and two Senators–that come up.
Do you have a good Democratic House Rep? Then embrace him or her.
Do you have a lousy House Rep, or is your district’s seat being vacated? Look up the Democratic challengers for the seat and choose one. Look to Ballotpedia.org for help with finding challengers in your federal district.
One-third of all senators will be up for re-election in 2018. It’s possible that at least one of your senators (and possibly both) is due to run (but scroll down for a list of states where neither senator has to run).
Is one or both of your senators up for re-election? Are they good Dems? If so, embrace them and get behind them.
Is your senator who’s running for re-election a lousy senator? Learn about the Democratic challengers for the seat, and be ready to help a challenger however you can. As always, Ballotpedia.org is your friend here.
Your help can take the form of time, money, word of mouth, or some combination of the three. But you need to choose your four Democrats, and you need to think seriously about how you will juggle the needs of all four.
You’ll need to sit down and plot this out as you might plot a semester’s course schedule in college. The demands of the four candidates will overlap and they’ll all come due at the same time–in the weeks and days leading up to November 6, 2018. You’ll also have to factor in appointments and life events of your own, too, of course.
Choosing your Core Four: A Test Case
Let’s say you live in New Hampshire.
Your House Rep is up for re-election because they all are. Is yours a good Democrat? Then you have your House incumbent settled.
If your House Rep is not a good Democrat, or is a lousy Republican, or is retiring, check Ballotpedia and see who’s challenging for the seat.
Let’s assume for the sake of this example that your House Rep is a good Dem. There’s one of your four settled.
Now look for a challenger who’s aiming to take a terrible House Republican out.
**How about Andrew Janz? He hopes to push House Rep Devin Nunes out of his perch in California’s 22nd District. A worthy choice. Allocate time and money to him. You’ve chosen your two House Dems, one incumbent and one challenger.
Now turn to the senators. It so happens that neither of the incumbent senators from New Hampshire are up for re-election in 2018. You are free to devote your resources elsewhere.
Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is running for her second term in 2018. How about helping to defend her? There’s your third choice made.
Now look for a candidate who hopes to push out a terrible sitting Republican Senator. Hey, how about Beto O’Rourke? He hopes to send Ted Cruz of Texas packing. Hard to find a nobler cause than that.
And there’s your Core Four: Your good incumbent Democratic House Rep, Randy Bryce in Wisconsin, Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, Beto O’Rourke in Texas.
Of course, you can choose more than four Congressional candidates to back. But the idea here is to help you focus.
If you can take on more than four, do it. But four is just enough, in our opinion–more than one, but still a number small enough to count on one hand.
You can certainly look to orgs such as Swing Left, the Road to 2018, Emily’s List, and the like to help you make your choices. The main thing is nowrightnow is the time to think seriously about those choices.
Also, if you live in one of the states listed below, neither of your Senators is up for re-election, and you can devote your resources to incumbents and candidates in other states:
* Our ‘Core Four’ only covers federal Congress races. You might have other important races happening at the state and local level–for governor, attorney general, mayor, what have you. Please don’t neglect those races.
**The original suggestion we had here was Randy Bryce, aka Ironstache, a Democrat who is running in Wisconsin’s 1st District. In mid-April 2018, his lousy Republican opponent, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, announced he would not run again. We cheered for Ironstache, and then we realized we should swap in a different example of an incumbent House Rep who needs to GO. It’s a good problem to have. Here’s hoping we face it a few more times before November 6.
See the website for Ballotpedia.org:
Visit the website of Swing Left, which focuses on taking back the House of Representatives:
Visit the website of The Road to 2018, which focuses on defending vulnerable Democratic Senators:
Visit the website of Emily’s List, which helps elect pro-choice Democratic women to office:
See OTYCD‘s past posts on picking House Reps and Senators to support in 2018, and on starting a 2018 fund: