Leah Greenberg inspires activists at 2024 statewide convening.

Parmelee Eastman with Indivisible co-founder Leah Greenberg and Indivisible Mass Coalition chair Deb Paul.

by Parmelee Eastman

Indivisible Co-Founder Leah Greenberg was the keynote speaker at Indivisible Mass Coalition’s recent Statewide Convening. Parmelee Eastman summarizes Leah’s remarks and responses to questions.

Leah Greenberg last attended an IMC Statewide Convening at the birth of the statewide governing organization in 2018, one year into the Trump administration. “And since then,” she said at the recent convening,” we’ve flipped the House, impeached Donald Trump, [we] beat Donald Trump in an election, we flipped the Senate, we made Donald Trump leave office — which turned out to be a whole second step — then we impeached Donald Trump again.

“Then we passed the biggest climate package in American history. Then we defied political gravity in the 2022 midterms. And now we are getting ready to do it all over again in 2024”

Leah paints a picture of two worlds.

Leah drew a picture of two worlds. In one, a Democratic president and a legislative majority would ensure continued progress in ensuring democracy and justice. In the other, the Republican’s Project 2025 plan would allow the government to take away personal rights and freedoms. Polling shows that a majority of Americans do not want the MAGA vision of women, climate, or education.

She challenged activists to see that, “The task ahead of us is [how we] make sure that every voter, every potential member of our coalition, of that big tent against fascism — how do we make every single voter feel what you feel, about what is at stake.”

“I’m gonna acknowledge that…voters are in a sour mood,” Leah said. “When we speak with voters, we hear negativity and disengagement.” She also noted that activists are struggling with being determined to defeat Trump, while also being deeply disappointed with the Democratic party, and with Biden’s policies on Gaza, asylum, and immigration. When this happens, sometimes people turn on each other. She warned us not to do that; that we must be empathetic. It’s ok to share with voters that we, too, are feeling ambivalent, but that we need to keep the larger goal in mind: which of the two worlds do we want to live in?

“Our superpower is our people, not a billion dollars in advertising,” she said. “We are humans, rooted in our communities, and can be real, authentic messengers to our communities. We need to shout out Joe Bideln’s accomplishments, and he has had a lot of accomplishments — prescription drug reform, fighting to reform student loans — even as the Republican Supreme Court tried to shut him down. And he has a lot of potential in the second term.”

And noting that IMC activists are capitalizing on our strength nationally on this issue, she added, “Shoutout to the Feminist Action Team…voters don’t want abortion bans.

“The broader story we’re telling [about MAGA] is that it’s an extremist movement that wants to have control over all of us while not being bound by the laws, the norms, the expectations of our democracy — and basically everything fits into that story one way or another.”

How do we win this election?

In a question-and-answer session, Leah addressed attendees’ concerns that Trump could win in November. 

She noted that it will be a lot harder for Trump to steal the 2024 election because he doesn’t control the National Guard, the military, or the levers of government. He’s on the outside this time. The progressive movement has better infrastructure than in the past, Leah said, in terms of voter protection efforts and the various legal challenges, post-election messaging and grassroots mobilization groups’ coordination, and communication with state-level legislators. If, by chance, Trump becomes President, Indivisible will be much better prepared for post-election chaos than in previous elections.

To prevent a Trump victory, Indivisible is targeting competitive races, particularly where Indivisible groups are active on the ground. It is also working to bring Democrats together.

“Progressives and moderate democrats are putting aside their disagreements for now, Leah said, “because we’re all trying to stop fascism. Many people have negative reactions to issues like defunding the police or canceling student debt. We need to change the conversation, and re-focus on the real issues.” She suggested that we talk about student debt with younger voters rather than older voters. If older voters bring it up, we can discuss how the cost of college has skyrocketed since they went to school.

In response to young people who want to vote for Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Leah suggested that we compare Kennedy’s policies with Biden’s and point out that it’s going to be a choice between Trump and Biden in the end. Asked how we can tap into the incredible energy of the youth climate movement and engage young activists in electoral work, she urged us to think about where the priorities of younger and older activists align and work together to build trust. 

Since the mainstream media is more interested in bad news than good news, Leah said, groups like progressive journalism watchdog Media Matters must continue to mount effective campaigns that highlight the successes of the Biden Administration. She also urged Indivisibles to package stories like the recent “Bigger Than Dobbs” events for the typically understaffed local media. 

Leah urged us to stay focused on priorities and not get distracted by the Alito and Thomas corruption or efforts to re-balance the Supreme Court — which will take 20 years. 

“We need to view issues in light of trust advantages vs. trust deficits in choosing issues to discuss with voters,” she said. “We should refocus voters on issues where Dems have an advantage.” 

Parmelee Eastman is the CD-2 representative to the IMC Board, and a member of the Hopkinton Democratic Town Committee.