Win the Day: Volume 2

Make More Possible | Sept. 17, 2018

Dear friend,

We launched our new political blog called Win the Day last week. Thanks for reading and sharing it.

Every week, we’re highlighting people, stories, and ideas working to #WinTheDay. To us, winning elections isn’t the same as winning the day.  It’s the work of building the core narratives that shape the ways we make meaning together.

It starts with the values that ground us.  It sets us up to imagine a future worth fighting for.

On that note, an important report was released today called Toward a More Caring Minnesota.

Here’s what stands out: 

  • Minnesotans believe in looking out for each other. We value care and fairness, no matter our color. When a flu shot shortage swept the country in 2004, Minnesota had a massive surplus because everyone wanted to make sure the neediest folks got vaccinated first.
  • As Minnesotans, we aren’t living up to our values around care. Dog-whistle politics and corporate influence in our State Capitol, from the Freedom Club to the Center for the American Experiment, have led to massive cuts to the care we all need. 
  • Political donors and corporate interests are pulling strings in our democracy, and messing with our care.  We see their attempts to divide us by pointing fingers at new Americans.  They use fear to attack our public programs in a misguided attempt to protect their own financial interests.
  • We know universal care is possible for our children, parents, and loved ones when they need it. The report outlines key recommendations for care in Minnesota. 

We’ll remember all this next week when the Minnesota Senate holds a special Committee on Human Services Reform Finance and Policy meeting six weeks before Election Day.

And when GOP Candidate for Governor Jeff Johnson releases his response shortly after. 

To quote our favorite Aussie union, “We’re not stupid and we see what you’re doing.”

Change the Story: Winning while losing. 

Cynthia Nixon’s campaign for Governor of New York State was a lesson in winning while losing. Like Abdul El-Sayed in Michigan, she used her campaign to contest for narrative power and the Governor’s office. 

Did she win the primary? No. Did she contest for narrative power? Hell yeah. Click to read the thread she posted on Twitter right after she lost: 

If we get into office without a narrative strategy, do we really have power?

The alt-right are masters at using campaigns as a battleground for narrative power. Look at Rep. Jim Newberger. He’s running against Sen. Klobuchar. He’s predicted to lose, but in the meantime he is using his platform as a candidate to stir up Islamaphobia and point fingers at immigrants. That appears to be his political role this cycle. 

We’re tipping our hat to Cynthia Nixon and the Working Family Party that endorsed her. Her 20-second get-out-the-vote video is an inspiration for what our politics can be: joyful, multiracial, and about ‘we the people’. 


“Joy doesn’t betray but sustains activism. And when you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated and isolated, joy is a fine act of insurrection.”

― Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark

Organizing for the Win: Building Minnesota’s African Voting Bloc. 

“Many of the people we’re talking to are care workers,” said Fatu Magassouba. “Some have worked at their jobs for 10 or 15 years without a pay raise. It’s really important that we’re organizing here.”

In January, Fatu Magassouba joined TakeAction Minnesota as an organizer in Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center where member leaders are building an African immigrant voting bloc in Minnesota. The Brooklyns were the first cities in Minnesota in which there isn’t any racial majority, but instead a racial plurality.  (There are still more white residents than any other racial group, but they make up less than 50% of the population.)

Door knocking for Tim Walz & Peggy Flanagan.

We’re lifting up the organizing happening in Minnesota’s African communities because all of this is interconnected: corporate influence in care, our ability to get the care we need, and the impacts of funding cuts on care workers, who are often immigrants, refugees, and people of color. In the democracy we envision, people have the power to decide. It’s that simple. But we can’t win the day or win this change without organizing. 

Get involved in Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center. Set up a one-to-one meeting with Fatu. Everyone is welcome. Email her at fatu@takeactionminnesota.org.

Idea Worth Fighting For: A government of, by, and for the people.

We can have nice stuff.

We can create a Minnesota where everyone has health care and good schools and good jobs and multi-modal transportation and clean energy and public parks and honest government. It’s literally up to us.

Or we can have racism. But it’s becoming increasingly hard to have both.

Why do some politicians use dog-whistle politics to build their power? Because it works for them. They get to stoke fears and resentments while maintaining a veneer of plausible deniability. And some politicians have gotten sneaky good at it: both to win elections and then to shift who benefits from public policy.

How’s this work? Ask Suzanne Mettler. She was recently interviewed both on Vox and the No Jargon podcast of the Scholars Strategy Network about her new book The Government-Citizen Disconnect.

She discusses how the anti-government propagandists of the right-wing have used race to distract us from ‘submerged’ benefits, divide us from each other, and destroy our public systems, including those that work for everyone, like Medicaid.

The silver lining is that most of us don’t fall for it. And in the Trump-era, it’s crazy obvious. And gross. And eminently troll-able. But, even better, it’s the kind of thing we can preempt by just simply being for what we are for.

We can make ourselves co-owners and co-creators of government by taking seriously the whole ‘of, by, and for the people’ idea.

We can share our own stories of how public systems have improved our lives.

We can envision a ‘ both / and ‘ approach to public policy.

We can reconnect the people-to-their-government and the citizens-to-the-citizens by actively participating and bringing our friends and neighbors with us. That’s why we believe that #TogetherWeWin.

Question of the Week: What sustains your love of organizing?

None of us has the power to win on our own. And some days, the future we’re envisioning can seem years and years away.  That means we all need ways to feel connected to this work and stick with it, through thick & thin.

For me, Chris, I’m sustained by novelty. I’m engaged by the endless invention & creativity that organizing requires. For me, Kenza, I’m sustained by the pursuit of the possible and an unwavering belief that organizing & people-centered politics can change the world. 

We want to hear from you in our Question of the Week. What sustains your love of organizing and being politically active? 

That’s a wrap.

– Kenza and Chris

Kenza Hadj-Moussa is communications director at TakeAction Minnesota. Email her at kenza@takeactionminnesota.org. Follow her @KenzaHadjMoussa. 

Chris Conry is the strategic campaings director at TakeAction Minnesota. Email him at chris@takeactionminnesota.org. Follow him @ChrisConry.