Other Group

State Wide Indivisible Michigan (SWIM)

Website:

www.statewideindivisiblemi.com/

Type:

Advocacy Coalition

Founded:

2019 [26]

State Wide Indivisible Michigan (SWIM) is a coalition of roughly 26 local affiliates of the left-of-center organizing and activism Indivisible Project network. [1] [2] It works to elect Democratic Party candidates and advance Democratic policy priorities in Michigan and across the country.

Leadership and Organizational Structure

State Wide Indivisible Michigan was founded in 2019 by Democratic activists Paula Martinos-Mantay [3] and Michelle Pallas. [4] [5] It has no legal organizational structure. “We are not c3s or c4s, we’re community organizers, we are grassroots activists at the core,” Martinos-Mantay claimed in a February 2021 interview. [6]

SWIM is a Michigan-based statewide coalition of local left-of-center groups, some of which were formed by local left-of-center activists, and others that were created with the support of the Michigan Democratic Party. [7] “We’re Democrats, but we just want a better world,” said Lisa DiRado, co-founder of Indivisible Northville and president of the local Democratic Club. [8]

“We work closely with our local, county and state Democratic Party, and our Michigan House caucus leadership as well,” said Martinos-Mantay, adding “We’re not the Democratic Party, and that’s part of the appeal to our members but at the same time we are working alongside our Democratic party in the state.” [9]

Policy Positions and Advocacy

In the spring of 2020, SWIM supported the COVID-19 lockdown policies of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), which were among the most restrictive in the country at the time. [10] [11] Later that year, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that Whitmer had violated the state constitution when she used emergency powers to implement those restrictions. [12]

A number of SWIM activists were reportedly active in Voters Not Politicians, a nominally nonpartisan redistricting effort in Michigan that was supported and funded by left-leaning groups such as the Action Now Initiative; SEIU UHW-West, a California-based local of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); and the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which is part of the Arabella Advisors “dark money” network.  [13] The redistricting eliminated two Republican-leaning Congressional seats in the Michigan delegation and added one “highly competitive” seat in an overall benefit to the Democratic Party, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis. [14]

SWIM supports Proposal 3 of 2022, a ballot initiative in Michigan that would create a “constitutional right to reproductive freedom” in the state. [15] Critics of the ballot measure say its scope and wording go beyond abortion to include potentially allowing minors to receive abortions, birth control, or “gender affirmation” surgeries without parental consent. [16]

At the national level, SWIM has called for “getting around” the filibuster to advance legislation in the U.S. Senate, [17] for the District of Columbia to become a state, [18] and other Democratic Party legislative priorities. In 2017, SWIM and the Michigan Democratic Party held events around Michigan to drive opposition to health care reforms proposed by President Donald Trump’s administration. [19]

SWIM also supported the “For the People Act,” federal legislation that included measures that would increase regulation of online speech, force groups to identify their supporters publicly, and make personal donor information readily available in a government database. The legislation was opposed on First Amendment grounds by a broad coalition of organizations from across the political spectrum, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Americans for Prosperity, Heritage Action for America and Americans for Tax Reform. [20] [21]

Legislative Elections

In 2020, SWIM’s leadership “decided the best use of our resources would be to flip our Michigan State House in 2020 and then our Senate in 2022,” according to co-founder Paula Martinos-Mantay [22] The group’s advocacy included the use of mapping software from Tides Advocacy-funded Democracy Labs, and coordinated with labor unions such as the Communications Workers of America. [23]

The Democratic Party did not take control of the Michigan House of Representatives in the 2020 elections. [24] While Democratic candidates flipped two seats formerly held by term-limited Republican legislators, two Democratic incumbents lost to Republican challengers to maintain a 58-52 Republican majority in the chamber. [25]

References

  1. “Find Your Group,” Indivisible (The Indivisible Project), accessed October 14, 2022, https://indivisible.org/groups. ^
  2. “About,” SWIM Member Website, accessed October 14, 2022, https://www.statewideindivisiblemi.com/who-we-are. ^
  3. [1] Paula Martinos-Mantay, “Paula Martinos-Mantay’s Articles on the Forge,” The Forge, February 3, 2021, https://forgeorganizing.org/author/paula-martinos-mantay. ^
  4. “Meet Our Staff,” Liberal Leadership League (Liberal Leadership League), accessed October 14, 2022, https://www.liberalleadershipleague.org/partners. ^
  5. Micah Sifry, “Organizing in the Digital Age: Lessons from the Indivisible Movement,” Medium (Medium, February 2, 2021), https://micahsifry.medium.com/organizing-in-the-digital-age-lessons-from-the-indivisible-movement-1030fb4d4386. ^
  6. Micah Sifry, “Organizing in the Digital Age: Lessons from the Indivisible Movement,” Medium (Medium, February 2, 2021), https://micahsifry.medium.com/organizing-in-the-digital-age-lessons-from-the-indivisible-movement-1030fb4d4386. ^
  7. Joanne Maliszewski, “Indivisible Northville Resists ‘Trump Agenda’,” Observer and Eccentric Newspapers and Hometown Weeklies (Hometown Life, February 22, 2017), https://www.hometownlife.com/story/news/local/northville/2017/02/22/indivisible-northville-resists-trump-agenda/98184968/. ^
  8. Joanne Maliszewski, “Indivisible Northville Resists ‘Trump Agenda’,” Observer and Eccentric Newspapers and Hometown Weeklies (Hometown Life, February 22, 2017), https://www.hometownlife.com/story/news/local/northville/2017/02/22/indivisible-northville-resists-trump-agenda/98184968/. ^
  9. Micah Sifry, “Organizing in the Digital Age: Lessons from the Indivisible Movement,” Medium (Medium, February 2, 2021), https://micahsifry.medium.com/organizing-in-the-digital-age-lessons-from-the-indivisible-movement-1030fb4d4386. ^
  10. Beth Bowen, “Opinion: Gov. Whitmer Needs Our Help in This Crisis. That’s Common Sense.,” Bridge Michigan (The Center for Michigan, April 14, 2020), https://www.bridgemi.com/guest-commentary/opinion-gov-whitmer-needs-our-help-crisis-thats-common-sense. ^
  11. Allan Smith and Erin Einhorn, “Michigan Gov. Whitmer Faces Fierce Backlash over Strict Stay-at-Home Order,” NBCNews.com (NBCUniversal News Group, April 14, 2020), https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/michigan-gov-whitmer-faces-fierce-backlash-over-strict-stay-home-n1182711. ^
  12. Jennifer Henderson and Steve Almasy, “Michigan Supreme Court Rules against Governor Again, Ending Covid-19 Executive Orders | CNN Politics,” CNN (Cable News Network, October 13, 2020), https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/12/politics/michigan-supreme-court-whitmer-covid-emergency. ^
  13. Michigan Campaign Finance Network. “Who funded statewide ballot campaigns?”. “Voters Not Politicians”. mcfn.org. Accessed November 14, 2019.  http://mcfn.org/ballotproposals#VotersNot ^
  14. Ryan Best and Aaron Bycoffe, “What Redistricting Looks like in Every State – Michigan,” FiveThirtyEight (ABC News Internet Ventures, July 19, 2022), https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/redistricting-2022-maps/michigan/. ^
  15. “Michigan Proposal 3, Right to Reproductive Freedom Initiative (2022),” Ballotpedia, accessed October 14, 2022, https://ballotpedia.org/Michigan_Proposal_3,_Right_to_Reproductive_Freedom_Initiative_(2022). ^
  16. Jay W. Richards, “Michigan’s Radical Proposition 3 Ballot Measure Would Go Far beyond Just Codifying Roe v. Wade,” Heritage.org (The Heritage Foundation, October 6, 2022), https://www.heritage.org/life/commentary/michigans-radical-proposition-3-ballot-measure-would-go-far-beyond-just-codifying. ^
  17. “60 Organizations to Senate Democrats: Filibuster Didn’t Block Debt Limit Extension, Cannot Block Voting Rights Legislation,” Fix Our Senate, January 3, 2022, https://www.fixoursenate.org/press/60-organizations-to-senate-democrats-filibuster-didnt-block-debt-limit-extension-cannot-block-voting-rights-legislation. ^
  18. Beth LeBlanc and Melissa Nann Burke, “Insider: Groups Press Peters to Pass D.C. Statehood Bill out of His Committee,” The Detroit News (The Detroit News, November 14, 2021), https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2021/11/14/political-insider-peters-pass-d-c-statehood-bill/6386205001/. ^
  19. Mark Cavitt, “Michigan Democratic Party and Indivisible Michigan Groups Hosting 12 Health Care Town Halls,” The Oakland Press (The Oakland Press, June 17, 2021), https://www.theoaklandpress.com/2017/07/13/michigan-democratic-party-and-indivisible-michigan-groups-hosting-12-health-care-town-halls/. ^
  20. “Oppose HR1 and S1.” People United for Privacy, February 1, 2021. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://unitedforprivacy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Oppose_HR1_S1.pdf. ^
  21. “ACLU Letter Opposing H.R. 1 (for the People Act of 2019),” American Civil Liberties Union, March 6, 2019, https://www.aclu.org/aclu-letter-opposing-hr-1-people-act-2019. ^
  22. Micah Sifry, “Organizing in the Digital Age: Lessons from the Indivisible Movement,” Medium (Medium, February 2, 2021), https://micahsifry.medium.com/organizing-in-the-digital-age-lessons-from-the-indivisible-movement-1030fb4d4386. ^
  23. [1] “How Indivisible Michigan Uses Advanced Software to Coordinate Activities to Flip Swing Districts.,” thedemlabs.org (The Democracy Labs, September 14, 2019), https://thedemlabs.org/2019/09/24/how-indivisible-michigan-uses-advanced-software-to-coordinate-activities-to-flip-swing-districts/. ^
  24. Jonathan Oosting, “Republicans Flip Democratic Seats, Keep Majority in Michigan House,” Bridge Michigan (The Center for Michigan, November 4, 2020), https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-government/republicans-flip-democratic-seats-keep-majority-michigan-house. ^
  25. “Michigan House of Representatives Elections, 2020,” Ballotpedia, accessed October 14, 2022, https://ballotpedia.org/Michigan_House_of_Representatives_elections,_2020 ^
  26. Micah Sifry, “Organizing in the Digital Age: Lessons from the Indivisible Movement,” Medium (Medium, February 2, 2021), https://micahsifry.medium.com/organizing-in-the-digital-age-lessons-from-the-indivisible-movement-1030fb4d4386. ^
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