People For the American Way

Celebrating Big Wins in 2023 

News and Analysis
Celebrating Big Wins in 2023 
People For's Markus Batchelor and Josh San Miguel pose with School Board Member-Elect Randy Riffle.

It’s been quite the year for progressive values! From school board elections to voting rights and more, we’ve scored some big wins. In the fight for democracy and fundamental freedoms, it’s important to celebrate our victories. And, while we couldn’t possibly include all our success stories in a single article, we wanted to take a look at a few of our wins from the last year as we plan ahead for the fights still to come in 2024.  

Recent Election Victories in Virginia 

This year, People For endorsed a slate of candidates in more than two dozen Virginia races, and we’re thrilled at the results. In addition to keeping control of the Virginia State Senate, Democrats regained control of the House of Delegates – creating a solid bulwark against the agenda of far-right Governor Glenn Youngkin.  

People For President Svante Myrick summed the night up perfectly saying, “Virginia sent a strong message that the MAGA Republican agenda to ban abortion, ban and censor books, and attack voting rights and civil rights is not the agenda that voters want.” And People For National Political Director Markus Batchelor added, “Virginia voters told MAGA Governor Glenn Youngkin, loud and clear, that they’re not buying his plan to take the Commonwealth backward.” 

Throughout the state and up and down the ballot, progressives won decisive victories. Here are the candidates we endorsed who won their races: 

  • Commonwealth’s Attorneys Steve Descano and Parisa Dehghani-Tafti 
  • State Senators Lashrecse Aird, Schuyler VanValkenburg, Russet Perry, and Danica Roem 
  • House of Delegates members Joshua Thomas, Joshua Cole, Michael Feggans, and Debra Gardner 
  • School board members Tracy Blake, Lisa Zargarpur, Loree Williams, Madison Irving. Alicia Atkins, Karl Frisch, Mateo Dunne, Marcia St. John-Cunning, April Chandler, and Randy Riffle 

All the wins in Virginia paint a promising picture going into 2024, and they’re in good company with other victories we’ve seen around the country this year.  

Defending Democracy in Minnesota 

Back in May, we chalked up wins in Minnesota when the North Star state passed the Democracy for the People Act and Governor Tim Walz joined the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact after the state legislature approved the measure. Those victories are part of a larger effort to protect the right to vote nationwide. 

The Democracy for the People Act accomplishes several goals long sought by voting rights advocates. Among other things, the bill expands voting access for people with past felony convictions, allows 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote, and establishes automatic voter registration to make it easier for everyone in Minnesota to get out and vote.  

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is an agreement among many states to award their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote in the state. So far, the Compact has been enacted by 16 states and the District of Columbia.  

“Our democracy is founded on the principle of one person, one vote, and the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact reforms our electoral college system to bring us much closer to this ideal,” said Svante Myrick. “People For the American Way is proud to have supported this campaign in Minnesota. We continue to work hard with our partners across the country to ensure enough states adopt the NPV Compact to make it take effect and guarantee that the winner of the popular vote gets elected president.”  

Supporting Small-Donor Financing in New York 

Back in 2019, a New York state commission approved a statewide public campaign financing program in which the state provides a few dollars for every dollar candidates raise on eligible donations between $5 and $250. The small-donor matching program eases the fundraising burden on candidates and reduces the need to pursue deep-pocketed donors. 

The program was supposed to take full effect for legislative offices in the 2024 election cycle and for statewide offices in 2026. Then, it faced the risk of being halted or delayed by insufficient funding. 

In a well-timed op-ed in the New York Daily News which helped drive attention to the program, Svante Myrick called the program, “…a great idea and one of the few real win-wins in politics. Candidates win, because they don’t have to spend countless hours appealing to wealthy people and corporations who might expect something in return. They also win because the system opens the doors for many more people who don’t have wealth but genuinely want to serve. More young people, women, working people and people of color run in systems like these; New York City has one, and it is a boon to candidate diversity. And constituents win, because they get representation that better reflects their interests, including more people who understand what real life is like in the communities they serve.” 

Thankfully, in a huge victory for democracy and campaign financing, the program was saved, and candidates in New York can benefit from improved financial parity in the 2023-2024 election cycle.  

Help Us Defend Democracy in 2024 

These are just a few of the many wins we’ve gained for progressive causes in the last year, and we’re looking forward to many more in 2024. You can help us score more victories by donating and becoming a member of People For the American Way. Together we can make 2024 another outstanding year for progress.


campaign finance, Minnesota, National Popular Vote, New York, Virginia, Voting