CLEVELAND – An Ohio group specializing in promoting suburban women to progressive candidates will launch a national podcast and expand into other states – an effort to maintain the coalition that helped elect President Joe Biden and d ‘other Democrats.
Red, Wine and Blue plans to replicate its digital and social media targeting strategies in Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. All five states have important Senate races on the ballot in 2022.
Polls after the 2020 election revealed that Biden had beaten former President Donald Trump decisively among suburban women, a result feared by Republicans after losing House seats two years earlier. Red, Wine and Blue’s podcast, “The Suburban Women Problem,” takes its name from a 2018 commentary by Sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., who admitted her party was in danger of slipping even further with the bloc. crucial election. .
The question for Democrats now, said Katie Paris, the group’s founder, is how they can keep women independent and those who split from the GOP to vote for Biden and for Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock at the second round of the Senate this year in Georgia. She estimated that more than 100,000 women interact with the group’s posts and original content every day.
“We’re going to make sure they stay engaged,” said Paris, a veteran of the National Progressive media campaigns who formed the nonprofit two years ago from his home in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights. “We just want to appear fully in their life.”
Co-hosts of the podcast, which begins May 12, are Rachel Vindman, who became an activist after her husband, retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, was a key witness in Trump’s first impeachment trial; Georgia Democratic Representative Jasmine Clark, microbiologist and first black woman to take her seat; and Amanda Weinstein, Air Force veteran and associate professor of economics at Akron University.
“One of the things that 2020 has brought us is a point of no return,” said Vindman, who lives in the northern Virginia suburb of Washington. “Our eyes and ears are open. It’s our choice where we go from here. The leadership of our country will go where we nurture it. “
Republicans are aware, as Graham was in 2018, that the suburbs are a problem for them. A recent study by N2 America, a center-right nonprofit focused on the suburbs, found that among a panel of 40 suburban men and women who graduated from college, most were cautiously optimistic about a return to normal during the first 100 days of Biden administration. And while most of those polled approve of Biden’s professional performance, they have expressed a number of concerns. An Arizona woman was concerned about border security. Georgian woman worries about tax increases.
“President Biden hasn’t won a term – from state legislative races to House races, Republicans have done very well – but he’s acting like him,” said N2 America co-founder Marie Sanderson, in a statement to NBC News. “Our research shows that suburban voters are noticing this disconnect. The details of his far-left politics are of great concern to these voters.”
In Ohio, Red, Wine and Blue began by forging alliances with other local women’s organizations and developed their community largely online through Facebook and Twitter, but also through in-person meetings around a glass of wine. Paris and other members starred in videos – a mix of daring and informative – designed to go viral in social circles that frequently intersect with suburban women: PTAs, book clubs, play dates and more. neighborhood pages. The objective is to get women to talk about their values and their choices and to align them at the polls.
In a satirical video, a woman puts on a helmet and arms herself with plastic toys after watching Trump warn of crime and violence spreading from cities to suburbs, a message steeped in the racist fear that was at the heart of the campaign re-election of the former president. As she steps onto her porch, ready for the fight, the only sounds are the chirping of birds and a neighbor asking if she is okay. The text appears on screen as the woman walks inside with a puzzled look on her face: “The real scary place?” Trump’s imagination.
Statewide, Ohio opted for Trump by 8 percentage points, the same margin as in 2016, but Paris believes his efforts have helped squeeze margins in deep red suburbs like Delaware County, outside of Columbus, and Warren County, outside of Cincinnati. And in the western suburbs of Cleveland, Democrat Monique Smith, who participated in the Red, Wine and Blue lineup, toppled a state legislature seat that Republicans had held for years.
“They are making inroads and supporting real quality candidates like the state representative seats that we have traded,” former Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said of Paris. Suburban women, Pepper added, are “clearly the very high growth part of the left side of politics.”
Red, Wine and Blue began meddling in Ohio politics after the 2020 election. The group raised money for food banks when the power grid in Texas went down, with a blow to Senator Ted Cruz , R-Texas, for leaving his family’s dog at home while leaving the country during the crisis. The group also promoted the For the People Act, a federal law that was passed in the House that would expand voting rights across the country. And Clark, who represents suburban Atlanta, said the efforts of Red, Wine and Blue deserve some credit for overthrowing the two Senate seats in Georgia.
“Is that just what drove us to extremes?” Absolutely not, ”said Clark. “But was it an essential piece of the puzzle? Was it part of a movement? Absolutely.”