Third Way Launches Major New Project to Win the Suburbs
WASHINGTON — Third Way announced today the launch of a new project focused on understanding the complexity of the suburbs and how to build on recent progressive gains to create a new suburban majority. The Third Way Suburbs Project will be focused on where 21st century electoral majorities are made or lost. To win in most states and districts, campaigns and candidates must understand the forces shaping these communities. Suburban demographics are surprising, with more people of color now voting in suburbs than in cities. And suburban politics are changing, with key suburban areas swinging five points toward Democrats in 2018.
With this project, Third Way will become a key resource for polling, research, and analysis on how to win in the American suburbs, and how winning there can make Trump a one-term president.
“The new suburban majority is demographically, economically, and politically different than in previous decades, making these communities fertile ground for progressive gains,” said Lanae Erickson, SVP for the Social Policy and Politics Program at Third Way. “In the year ahead, we must not lose sight of what’s most important, and that is expelling the current occupant of the White House and getting back to the work of the American people,” she continued. “It’s now clear that the only way to do that is by electing long-lasting majorities with a progressive coalition big enough to govern—and that path to victory runs through the suburbs.”
An array of influential political leaders and experts applauded the new Third Way project:
“In 2018, we left no stone unturned and talked to voters in every corner of our district with our message of working together to deliver real results for North Texas,” said Congressman Colin Allred (TX-32). “Folks I met across the 32nd District cared about the same things most Americans care about, like lowering the price of health care and prescription drugs and investing in our infrastructure to reduce congestion and create jobs. He continued, “as an Honorary Co-Chair of Third Way, I am pleased they are launching this extensive research project to further understand the issues that matter most to voters in suburban areas across the country, and what they expect from their elected officials.”
“The suburbs were our path to victory in 2018, and they are where we're going to pick up the votes that win the White House and majorities in statehouses and Congress in 2020,” said Lavora Barnes, Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. “That’s why the Michigan Democratic Party is laser-focused on reaching into the suburbs in this key battleground state, and we could use all the help we can get.” She continued, “We absolutely need to turn out our base in cities and engage rural voters, but we have to win the suburbs, which are much more diverse than you might think. I am thrilled to see organizations like Third Way focusing on helping us do exactly that.”
“Winning the suburbs was critical to taking back the House in 2018,” said Dan Sena, co-founder of Sena Kozar Strategies. “Democrats won battleground suburban counties with 51 percent of the vote and flipped suburban seats in key swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, and Florida,” he continued. “These places will be core to our success in 2020 and beyond, and we need to ensure we have the deepest understanding possible about how to solidify our appeals to voters in the suburbs as the cycle continues. I am glad Third Way is taking this on, and I look forward to working with them to cement and expand these gains for years to come.”
“Since Donald Trump’s election, Democrats have flipped 10 chambers across the country from Washington state to Virginia and more than 430 state legislative seats have flipped from red to blue, said Jessica Post, President of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. “Key to these historic wins has been our strategy of running the table in decisive suburbs – and they will remain integral in the path to victory for Democrats up and down the ballot in 2020 and beyond,” she continued. “The timing for a project to better understand who lives in the suburbs and what they want from Democrats could not be better, as we all need to help arm candidates to appeal to suburban voters in pivotal races this cycle.”
“It may seem cliché, but 2020 is arguably the most important election of our lifetime, said Jim Messina, CEO of the Messina Group. “Between an existential threat in the White House, balance of power in Congress, and determining districts for the next decade, Democrats have to win,” he continued. “But it will also be one of the closest. That is why we must fight for every vote and a huge opportunity lies in the new suburban battleground. These areas are rapidly changing both politically and demographically which is why it is so important for Third Way to dive deep and understand how we bring these voters into our coalition.”