America’s largest LGBT organization, HRC, is setting aside $26 million to fund opposition to President Donald Trump’s agenda, the largest grassroots investment in the group’s 37-year history.
The Human Rights Campaign’s move, which leaders are set to announce Tuesday, signals the group will ramp up spending on grassroots activism even after going all-in with Hillary Clinton in 2016 and coming up short. Instead of retreating, it plans to boost its spending to help pro-LGBT candidates win at all levels of government and assist rank-and-file activists as they take action to block Trump’s plans.
“It’s not enough to resist the hateful policies and attacks coming from the Trump-Pence regime. We’ve got to accelerate the pace of progress toward full equality and secure protections for LGBTQ people in states and communities across the country. That’s why we’re going on offense with the largest grassroots expansion in HRC’s 37-year history,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said. “The power and determination of the 10 million LGBTQ voters and our allies across America will only continue to grow stronger in the face of discriminatory attacks on our rights and freedoms.”
The group plans to send staff and cash to Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—each a state with a top-tier Senate race. Republicans have a two-vote majority in the upper chamber, and strategists in both parties see Republican incumbents Jeff Flake of Arizona and Dean Heller of Nevada are potentially vulnerable. Meanwhile, Democrats are on defense in states like Florida, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Michigan and Wisconsin.
At the same time, HRC plans to target Republican House members who won in 2016 in places where Clinton also prevailed. Of those 25 members, 23 have voting records that HRC officials consider “anti-equality.”
Already, the group has two-dozen paid staffers focused on 2018, with another 20 in the interview process.
The Human Rights Campaign has a record of effectiveness, even if victories don’t always follow. While Clinton lagged Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign among most demographic groups, the former Secretary of State claimed a greater share of LGBT voters than Obama. Some 78% of LGBT voters said they supported Clinton. And in North Carolina, LGBT groups turned the Governor’s race into a referendum on an anti-transgender bathroom bill.