Other Group

Democracy Defense Coalition

Type:

Coalition of left-leaning advocacy organizations

Parent Organization:

Move On Civic Action

The Democracy Defense Coalition was a coalition of several left-leaning advocacy organizations that was formed during the 2020 election to support left-leaning election administration policies. The organization’s work centered around speculation leading up to the 2020 election that President Donald Trump would refuse to concede the race to now-President Joe Biden. The organization was formed out of a similar coalition called Fight Back Table, which is connected to the Democracy Alliance, a left-leaning funding collective. Many of the activists and political operatives who took part in the coalition were connected to organizing groups in the Black Lives Matter movement. Groups that were members of the Democracy Defense Coalition included Color of Change, MoveOn, People’s Action, and the Working Families Party. [1]

The coalition mobilized in the aftermath of the 2020 election as part of a collection of left-leaning groups to push back on legal challenges to vote tallies in key states launched by the Trump campaign. Following the inauguration of President Joe Biden, the coalition disbanded, although the groups affiliated with it continue to work on promoting left-leaning election administration policies. [2]

Background

The Democracy Defense Coalition was founded in 2020 by a similar coalition called the Fight Back Table, which itself was formed out of speculation that there would be a contested presidential election. Those in the coalition pointed to statements made by President Trump casting doubt on the security of mail-in ballots and other aspects of the upcoming election. The organization pulled in former elected officials to explore potential emergency powers that President Trump could potentially use to challenge vote totals in certain states. [3]

While the Democracy Defense Coalition mostly remained an informal coalition of dozens of left-leaning groups, it was spearheaded in part due to the advocacy efforts of Mike Podhorzer, an employee at the left-leaning American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), who began efforts early in 2020 to plan for a contested election. Diedre Schifeling, a former strategist for Planned Parenthood, took on a leading role in coordinating the coalition. [4] Angela Peoples, a left-leaning organizer, also worked as the director of the coalition. [5]

Activity

The work of the Democracy Defense Coalition focused on opposing legal challenges by President Trump’s campaign to vote totals in key states. Before the election, the group hired Washington D.C. law firm Arnold and Porter to compile a 137-page report that analyzed potential avenues for both legal challenges to voting laws and potential pressure exerted on Republican elected officials. The report referenced the potential for President Trump to appeal directly to Republican legislators in Pennsylvania and Michigan and to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R). The organization also prepared for physical threats and protests during ballot counting by hosting de-escalation trainings. [6]

Following the election, the coalition had originally planned to mobilize thousands of activists to take to the streets to protest the election, but held off, instead mobilizing smaller counter-protests at voting locations where supporters of President Trump had assembled. [7]

Members

The Democracy Defense Coalition was associated with a number of labor union affiliates and Black Lives Matter organization. Listed coalition members include the Black to the Future Action Fund, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Color of Change, Community Change Action, Demos Action, Indivisible, MoveOn, People’s Action, Care in Action, and the Working Families Party. [8]

References

  1. “Our Work.” Democracy Defense Coalition. Accessed February 12, 2021.  https://www.democracydefensecoalition.com/ourwork ^
  2. Ball, Molly. “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election.” Time. February 4, 2021. Accessed February 12, 2021.  https://time.com/magazine/us/?fbclid=IwAR02kTXwD7PnzUdGPlzf8KOF_LUCextXSsYkK9k-N-iLyMs3T3z6LX6hBVEpage%2F2page%2F6page%2F7page%2F3page%2F3page%2F2page%2F2page%2F2page%2F3page%2F5page%2F4page%2F485 ^
  3. Ball, Molly. “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election.” Time. February 4, 2021. Accessed February 12, 2021.  https://time.com/magazine/us/?fbclid=IwAR02kTXwD7PnzUdGPlzf8KOF_LUCextXSsYkK9k-N-iLyMs3T3z6LX6hBVEpage%2F2page%2F6page%2F7page%2F3page%2F3page%2F2page%2F2page%2F2page%2F3page%2F5page%2F4page%2F485 ^
  4. Burns, Alexander. “How Democrats Planned for Doomsday.” The New York Times. January 24, 2021. Accessed February 12, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/24/us/politics/democrats-trump-election-plan.html ^
  5. Ball, Molly. “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election.” Time. February 4, 2021. Accessed February 12, 2021.  https://time.com/magazine/us/?fbclid=IwAR02kTXwD7PnzUdGPlzf8KOF_LUCextXSsYkK9k-N-iLyMs3T3z6LX6hBVEpage%2F2page%2F6page%2F7page%2F3page%2F3page%2F2page%2F2page%2F2page%2F3page%2F5page%2F4page%2F485 ^
  6. Burns, Alexander. “How Democrats Planned for Doomsday.” The New York Times. January 24, 2021. Accessed February 12, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/24/us/politics/democrats-trump-election-plan.html ^
  7. Burns, Alexander. “How Democrats Planned for Doomsday.” The New York Times. January 24, 2021. Accessed February 12, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/24/us/politics/democrats-trump-election-plan.html ^
  8. “Our Work.” Democracy Defense Coalition. Accessed February 12, 2021.  https://www.democracydefensecoalition.com/ourwork ^
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