Political Party/527

Flippable

Website:

flippable.org/

Location:

NY

Tax ID:

81-5161730

Executive Director:

Ethan Todras-Whitehill

Formation:

2017

Type:

527

Flippable is a liberal electoral advocacy group founded by former campaigners for Hillary Clinton shortly after the 2016 election victory of President Donald Trump. Its targets Republican-held seats in state legislatures. [1]

Flippable blames alleged Republican redistricting efforts for the Democratic losses;[2] its co-founder, Elizabeth Vaughan, was criticized for advocating for Democratic gerrymandering while castigating Republicans for the practice. [3]

Flippable claims credit for the 2018 and 2019 election of 95 Democratic candidates that resulted in seven state legislative chambers switching to Democratic control, [4] including New Hampshire, Minnesota, Virginia, Colorado, and Washington. [5] It seeks funding for target candidates and raised $3 million from groups including the left-of-center Democracy Alliance. [6]

Flippable merged with another liberal down-ballot electoral advocacy organization called Swing Left. [7] Swing Left received a $2 million donation from former New York Mayor and unsuccessful Democratic Presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg for the 2020 election. [8]

Background

Six former Clinton campaign staffers founded Flippable in 2017 after President Donald Trump’s election. It focuses on the local and state races as future targets for Democratic candidates. Flippable was in part created due the loss of over 1,000 Democrat state legislative members during the Obama administration; these losses meant that Democrats only controlled 31 of 99 state legislative houses in 2016. [9] According to Catherine Vaughn, state Republican leaders in dozens of states gained these seats through control of redistricting and election policy; Flippable seeks to wrest those powers for Democrats. [10]

Swing Left Merger

In 2019, Flippable and Swing Left merged their complementary capabilities. Flippable’s state  methodology and Swing Left’s donor and volunteer network will be concentrated on state elections. [11] Their combined fundraising in 2018 exceeded $13 million and their volunteers and they claim over one million total donors. [12] A main goal of the merger is to enhance 2020 campaign efforts towards securing Democratic control of state legislatures. Ethan Todras-Whitehill of Swing Left believes Democrats must be in power for the critical implementation of voter redistricting based upon the 2020 Census results. [13]

Flippability Scoring Tool  

Flippable takes an organized approach to their activism by leveraging data from six years of federal and 30 years of state election results. It created a model that weights recent races and incumbency and district demographic trends. Flippable created a “Flippability score” that rates which Republican-held state districts are most vulnerable to a Democratic pickup. A key factor in choosing a target race is determining which Republican-held districts have been sufficiently diluted by Democratic-leaning voters that a focused effort could win the seats. The model analyzes historical records’ data and blends it with contemporary data from sources like social media trending hashtags, Google search terms, approval ratings, fundraising statistics, and economic indicators. [14]

This forecasting tool and scoring methodology was put to the test in Virginia where it was used to identify the best districts and candidates, and then seek funding to support them. It met success in Virginia, where all five targeted and funded Democrats won. [15]

Super State Strategy

Flippable vies for credit with other progressive groups for eroding the Republican lead in multiple states in the 2018 elections. [16] It researched, targeted, and endorsed 100 candidates in nine states. [17] For the 2020 election, it created a “Super State” strategy targeting 12 states. They were Colorado, Maine, Arizona, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Wisconsin. [18]

North Carolina was targeted due its importance in the Presidential election. [19]

The New Hampshire Senate transitioned from Republican to Democrat in 2018. [20]

The Minnesota House was retaken by Democrats in 2018. [21]

Republicans lost the Washington state Senate in 2018, which gave Democrats power over every branch of state government on the west coast. [22] The election of Flippable’s endorsed candidate led to the passage of left-progressive policies including automatic voter registration. [23]

Democratic victories in 2018 created the largest Democratic Texas legislative caucuses in almost a decade. [24]

In 2019, all five Flippable-endorsed candidates were elected over Republican contenders. [25] This resulted in the Democratic takeover of both houses of the Virginia General Assembly. [26]

In 2018, Flippable’s three endorsed Democratic candidates all were elected which flipped the Colorado State Senate to Democratic control. [27]

In 2018, Flippable targeted a Delaware State Senate election and then raised $130,000 which led to a Democratic victory. [28] The Democrat candidate won by 18% and voter turnout was a record high. [29] The winning campaign manager gave more credit for the victory to Flippable than the Democrat National Committee and the local Delaware party apparatus. [30]

In 2020, Flippable seeks to take two seats in the Ohio state legislature to break the Republican supermajority. The group’s stated goal is to stop alleged gerrymandering, limit gun rights, and prevent regulations on abortion. [31]

Flippable sees Florida as a 2020 target. It claims that 21% of African American adults do not qualify to vote. It alleges that rising oceans and pollution in Florida will drive climate change concerns, helping turn Florida to a blue state. [32]

The Pledge

Flippable joined other groups seeking Democratic Presidential candidates to pledge to support progressive down-ballot candidates and initiatives, favor minority candidates over whites, and young candidates over more mature. The 11 major candidates for the Democrat nomination signed the pledge including former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). [33]

Leadership

Ethan Todras-Whitehill is the cofounder and executive director of Swing Left. [34] He claims that voting registration is the most important activity for Swing Left as “85 percent of registered voters typically vote in presidential elections.” [35] Before Swing Left, Todras-Whitehill was a teacher, a SAT test tutor, and a New York Times travel writer. [36] While at Swing Left he helped organized a voter drive called the Last Weekend. The event was held during the final weekend before the 2018 mid-term elections and two dozen left-of-center groups participated. It featured actresses Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Rashida Jones. Todras-Whitehill labeled it “the next step in the resistance.” [37]

Catherine Vaughan is the CEO and co-founder of Flippable and the chief strategy officer at Swing Left. [38] She has said that state elections will determine the future of the Democratic Party, its policies, and leadership. Vaughan has claimed that Republicans are much better at fundraising in state elections while Democrats are superior in federal. [39]

Partners

Flippable is collaborating with other Democratic-aligned organizations focusing on down-ballot races which include Code Blue, Sister District, and Resurgent Left. Their cooperation includes web linking, resource sharing, and activity coordination. Flippable leverages Sister District for activating campaign volunteers for jobs like fundraising, phone calling, or knocking on doors. [40]

Donors

Flippable is supported by the Democracy Alliance, a coalition of Democratic and liberal megadonors and institutions that has close links to the “dark money” consulting network Arabella Advisors. [41]

It also receives funding support from the Advocacy Fund[42] tied to the “dark money” Tides Nexus. [43]

The left-of-center Civic Participation Action Fund has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Flippable. [44]

References

  1. Thompson, A. (2017, March 04). This grassroots resistance group – not the DNC – propelled Democrats to their first big election win under Trump. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/evae7n/this-grassroots-resistance-group-not-the-dnc-propelled-democrats-to-their-first-big-election-win-under-trump ^
  2. Abbruzzese, J. (2016, December 05). These former Clinton staffers are looking to disrupt local politics with their new startup. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://mashable.com/2016/12/05/flippable-clinton-staff-startup/ ^
  3. Leach, D. (2018, November 3). Obama’s Election Day victories over Trump are just the beginning. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.stridentconservative.com/obamas-election-day-victories-over-trump-are-just-the-beginning/ ^
  4. Flippable Washington. November 7, 2017. Archived from the original August 6, 2019. Accessed May 11, 2020 https://web.archive.org/web/20171025125927/https://www.flippable.org/washington/ ^
  5. Goodman, A. (2019, August 23). The Blue State Blueprint. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/the-blue-state-blueprint ^
  6. Goodman, A. (2019, August 23). The Blue State Blueprint. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/the-blue-state-blueprint ^
  7. Montellaro, Z. (2019, May 23). Club for Growth woos Walker to primary Tillis. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.politico.com/newsletters/morning-score/2019/05/23/club-for-growth-woos-walker-to-primary-tillis-631052 ^
  8. Perry, T. (2020, March 17). Bloomberg gives $2 million to grassroots organization Swing Left. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/bloomberg-gives-dollar2-million-to-grassroots-organization-swing-left/ar-BB11jQSc ^
  9. Thompson, A. (2017, March 04). This grassroots resistance group – not the DNC – propelled Democrats to their first big election win under Trump. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/evae7n/this-grassroots-resistance-group-not-the-dnc-propelled-democrats-to-their-first-big-election-win-under-trump ^
  10. Abbruzzese, J. (2016, December 05). These former Clinton staffers are looking to disrupt local politics with their new startup. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://mashable.com/2016/12/05/flippable-clinton-staff-startup/ ^
  11. Resnick, G. (2019, May 22). Two Groups That Helped Dems Win Back the House Are Joining Forces for 2020. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.thedailybeast.com/two-progressive-groups-swing-left-and-flippable-are-joining-forces-ahead-of-2020 ^
  12. Resnick, G. (2019, May 22). Two Groups That Helped Dems Win Back the House Are Joining Forces for 2020. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.thedailybeast.com/two-progressive-groups-swing-left-and-flippable-are-joining-forces-ahead-of-2020 ^
  13. Heffner, A. (2019, August 13). Super State Strategy. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.thirteen.org/openmind/public-affairs/super-state-strategy/6185/ ^
  14. Thompson, A. (2017, March 04). This grassroots resistance group – not the DNC – propelled Democrats to their first big election win under Trump. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/evae7n/this-grassroots-resistance-group-not-the-dnc-propelled-democrats-to-their-first-big-election-win-under-trump ^
  15. Lapowsky, I. (2017, June 03). Anger Isn’t Enough, So the #Resistance Is Weaponizing Data. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.wired.com/2017/04/anger-isnt-enough-resistance-weaponizing-data/ ^
  16. Goodman, A. (2019, August 23). The Blue State Blueprint. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/the-blue-state-blueprint ^
  17. Walsh, J. (2018, March 22). The 7,383-Seat Strategy. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/the-7383-seat-strategy/ ^
  18. Perry, T. (2020, March 17). Bloomberg gives $2 million to grassroots organization Swing Left. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/bloomberg-gives-dollar2-million-to-grassroots-organization-swing-left/ar-BB11jQSc ^
  19. Heffner, A. (2019, August 13). Super State Strategy. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.thirteen.org/openmind/public-affairs/super-state-strategy/6185/ ^
  20. Goodman, A. (2019, August 23). The Blue State Blueprint. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/the-blue-state-blueprint ^
  21. Goodman, A. (2019, August 23). The Blue State Blueprint. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/the-blue-state-blueprint ^
  22. Goodman, A. (2019, August 23). The Blue State Blueprint. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/the-blue-state-blueprint ^
  23. Flippable Washington. November 7, 2017. Archived from the original August 6, 2019. Accessed May 11, 2020 https://web.archive.org/web/20171025125927/https://www.flippable.org/washington/ ^
  24. Goodman, A. (2019, August 23). The Blue State Blueprint. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/the-blue-state-blueprint ^
  25. Walsh, J. (2017, November 08). Here’s Why Democrats Won Big in Virginia. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/heres-why-democrats-won-big-in-virginia/ ^
  26. Flippable Washington. November 7, 2017. Archived from the original August 6, 2019. Accessed May 11, 2020 https://web.archive.org/web/20171025125927/https://www.flippable.org/washington/ ^
  27. Flippable Washington. November 7, 2017. Archived from the original August 6, 2019.Accessed May 11, 2020 https://web.archive.org/web/20171025125927/https://www.flippable.org/washington/ ^
  28. Lapowsky, I. (2017, June 03). Anger Isn’t Enough, So the #Resistance Is Weaponizing Data. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.wired.com/2017/04/anger-isnt-enough-resistance-weaponizing-data/ ^
  29. Thompson, A. (2017, March 04). This grassroots resistance group – not the DNC – propelled Democrats to their first big election win under Trump. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/evae7n/this-grassroots-resistance-group-not-the-dnc-propelled-democrats-to-their-first-big-election-win-under-trump ^
  30. Thompson, A. (2017, March 04). This grassroots resistance group – not the DNC – propelled Democrats to their first big election win under Trump. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/evae7n/this-grassroots-resistance-group-not-the-dnc-propelled-democrats-to-their-first-big-election-win-under-trump ^
  31. Team, F. (2020, May 09). 10 Ohio Candidates to Watch. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://blog.flippable.org/10-ohio-candidates-to-watch-7d6cae2ba0c4 ^
  32. Flippable Washington. September 26, 2017. Archived from the original October 25, 2017. Accessed May 11, 2020 https://web.archive.org/web/20171025125742/https://www.flippable.org/florida/ ^
  33. Montellaro, Z., & Shepard, S. (2019, August 05). Senate race elbows in at Fancy Farm. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.politico.com/newsletters/morning-score/2019/08/05/senate-race-elbows-in-at-fancy-farm-705985 ^
  34. Heffner, A. (2019, August 13). Super State Strategy. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.thirteen.org/openmind/public-affairs/super-state-strategy/6185/ ^
  35. Heffner, A. (2019, August 13). Super State Strategy. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.thirteen.org/openmind/public-affairs/super-state-strategy/6185/ ^
  36. Thread by @The_War_Economy: “Swing Left is an organisation founded in the wake of Trump’s election victory by Ethan Todras-Whitehill, Joshua Krafchin and Miriam Stone. s […]”. (2018). Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1025063148276121600.html ^
  37. USA Today. (2018, July 17). Rashida Jones, Jane Fonda prod liberals to join ‘last weekend’ voter drive for midterms. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.wpxi.com/news/national-news/rashida-jones-jane-fonda-prod-liberals-to-join-aposlast-weekendapos-voter-drive-for-midterms/791697167/ ^
  38. Flippable-From Strategic Insight to Operational Effectiveness. (n.d.). Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.bridgespan.org/stories-of-impact/flippable ^
  39. Thompson, A. (2017, March 04). This grassroots resistance group – not the DNC – propelled Democrats to their first big election win under Trump. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/evae7n/this-grassroots-resistance-group-not-the-dnc-propelled-democrats-to-their-first-big-election-win-under-trump ^
  40. Sister District Project. (n.d.). Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://ballotpedia.org/Sister_District_Project ^
  41. Goodman, A. (2019, August 23). The Blue State Blueprint. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/the-blue-state-blueprint ^
  42. Flippable: Top Contributors, 2018 Cycle. (n.d.). Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.opensecrets.org/527s/527cmtedetail_contribs.php?ein=815161730 ^
  43. Ludwig, H. (2018, March 02). Why Does the Advocacy Fund Hide Its Tides Funding? Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://capitalresearch.org/article/why-does-the-advocacy-fund-hide-its-tides-funding/ ^
  44. “Advancing Democracy Through Civic Engagement Among People of Color.” Civic Participation Action Fund. Accessed May 12, 2020. https://cpafc4.org/. ^
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