The Rise of the New American Majority
The 2018 midterms ushered in the most diverse class of elected officials in our nation’s history. The incoming 116th Congress is more than 60 percent women, people of color, and LGBTQ representatives and includes the youngest women to serve in Congress, the first Native Americans to serve, and the first Muslim-American women.
For the first time ever, more women and people of color ran for Congressional seats than white men, which led to the pink/Black/brown/rainbow wave we just witnessed. Key takeaways from 2018 are that diverse candidates, and intentional efforts to engage voters of color, are transforming the political landscape all across America.
The demographic revolution underway is unlike anything Aisha Moodie-Mills has witnessed in her fifteen plus years as a political strategist and campaign operative. Moodie-Mills has been on the front lines leading and winning historic campaigns to elect diverse candidates—most recently, as the architect of 2017's historic "Year of the Trans Candidate" and elected more transgender officials across the country than ever before in her role as President & CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund. Moodie-Mills helped to usher in historic classes of Black elected officials (including then Senator Barack Obama) as Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, served as a political advisor to dozens of Members of Congress, and is a widely respected thought-leader on politics and race.
Aisha thought she had seen it all with the election of President Obama, but she is here to tell you that we are literally living political history today! Representation matters and we are moving closer and closer to a democracy that is reflective of and responsive to all the people. Yet this progress is not without intense backlash.
So, what then are we to make of identity politics? And how will the rising demographics of people of color, LGBTQ people, and progressives transform the American political landscape?
Please join Aisha Moodie-Mills for a provocative discussions on the political implications of America’s demographic shift, the role of racial/identity politics in campaigns, the power of diversity with regards to candidates, campaigns, and Congressional staff, the implications for political parties, the 2020 Presidential contest, and much more!
NOTE: Weekly topics and guests are subject to change based on the shifting schedules of our guests and the unpredictability of breaking news cycles.
Week 1: The Demographic Revolution
America’s demographics are shifting, and people of color will soon make up the majority of the population—and the electorate—for the first time in our nation’s history. Who are these voters and what do they value? What will it take for their political power to grow in proportion to their numbers? What is the future of “identity politics”? And will the demographic revolution ultimately usher in a New American Majority that reshapes our nation? This session will provide context for the study group and you’ll get to know Aisha and hear about her journey of living, loving, and laboring out loud that ultimately transformed her political career.
Week 2: The Majority Makers
Get to know the majority makers! Women, people of color, and LGBTQ people celebrated historic victories all across the country and flipped Congress. This week we’ll break down the pink, Black, brown, rainbow, and progressive waves that swept the 2018 mid-terms, and chat with a newly elected trailblazer about the role that identity played in their campaign(s) and approach to governing. How are these new leaders shaping the national discourse and shifting our consciousness?
Guest: Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA)
Week 3: Democrats' Winning Strategy
Democrats continue to vacillate between two general strategies: appeal to women and people of color or try to win back disaffected white men. The midterms suggest that the latter has lost luster given Democrats lost massively among white male voters in every state, yet still won big on election night. So, what did 2018 teach us about how to win? Are identity politics a winning strategy? Should Democrats just mobilize their base? Or ramp up efforts to persuade the estranged? And how will Democrats bridge the ‘progressives vs centrists’ divide?
Guest: Cristóbal J. Alex, President, Latino Victory Fund
Week 4: Republicans' Diversity Woes
The Republican party has become increasing male and white. There are only 13 Republican women in the current House of Representatives (down from 23), just 1 African American, and only 6 Hispanic members. And it seems this decline in diversity was by design as divisive strategies were on full display during the 2018 campaigns, from racist dog whistles and robocalls aimed at tapping into bigoted sentiments, to voter suppression and intimidation efforts to deter black and Latino voters from casting ballots. Can the party continue to win by appealing only to a monolithic base? Why do Republicans work so hard to shrink the electorate and suppress votes rather than increase political participation? Why do white supremacists feel at home in the Republican party? And does this hurt or help conservative candidates? What is the future of the Republican party as America becomes increasingly diverse?
Guest: Michael Steele, who made history as the first African American elected to statewide office when he was elected Lt. Gov of Maryland in 2003; and then again when he became the first African American chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2009.
Week 5: The Woke Vote
The Resistance to President Trump has fueled a wave of progressive political activism that reaches far beyond the political arena, and average Americans—young people in particular—who otherwise considered themselves apolitical are now hyper-engaged in political discourse for the first time. What does it mean to be “woke”? And are people actually becoming more “woke” or just doubling down on their long-held beliefs? What impact have Trump’s tweets, “fake news”, and the 24-hour news cycle had on the national consciousness? Election outcomes? We’ll talk to my wife, SiriusXM Progress host and “Warrior Princess of the Resistance”, about the importance of getting and staying woke, and what young people in particular can do to transform politics.
Guest: Danielle Moodie-Mills, Host of WokeAF on SiriusXM Progress
Week 6: A Campaign's True Colors
Despite the growing diversity of political candidates, campaign and Capitol Hill staffers are still overwhelmingly white and male. The lack of diversity on the Hill remains such a big problem that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi recently announced plans to develop a House diversity initiative to recruit and retain employees of different backgrounds. Democratic Presidential candidates are also striving to diversify their campaigns and campaign leadership, and even some rank and file Republicans are pushing for greater diversity within their caucus. Can we take any candidate seriously – especially a candidate for state-wide office or President – who’s campaign fails to reflect the full diversity of the constituents they seek to serve? Why does staff diversity even matter in this day and age of evolving demographics? And are there tangible policy and political outcomes that relate to the diversity of the team?
Guest: Bernard Coleman currently Uber’s Global Head of Diversity who was the first ever Chief Diversity and Human Resources Officer for a presidential campaign in U.S. History in his role with Hillary for America.
Week 7: From Presence to Power
We are living history, people of color, women and LGBTQ people hold more elected positions than ever before! So now what? How do they turn their presence into power and transform policy and culture to change the tides for their communities, and America generally? What is the New American Majority’s agenda? And how do we employ an inside-outside strategy to drive progress?
Guest: Rashad Robinson, President of Color of Change
Week 8: 2020 Race to the Base
Students Debate: The 2020 Presidential race is on, and it’s clear that Democrats must mobilize a broad coalition of people of color and progressive whites in order to win back the White House. How is the Democratic primary shaping up? Which of the anticipated candidates is likely to appeal most to the New American Majority (NAM)? Is America ready for another President of Color? Can the NAM candidate beat Trump? Can a white male candidate galvanize the enthusiasm of people of color and millennials in the general election? Who’s your money on for 2020?
We’ll create a dynamic political panel for the day with students channeling their inner pundit and debating the role that the New American Majority will play in the 2020 campaign and beyond.