A Working People’s Narrative: Building a Winning Coalition Across Race and Place

A Working People’s Narrative: Building a Winning Coalition Across Race and Place

Session Type(s): Panel, Streamed Session

Starts: Thursday, Jul. 13 10:30 AM (Central)

Ends: Thursday, Jul. 13 11:30 AM (Central)

Room: Continental B

Between 2012 and 2020, support for Democrats dropped by approximately 20 points with non-college voters across race and geography. This group makes up 63% of voters nationwide and a whopping 70% in rural areas. Trump won in 2016 by accelerating this trend and was only narrowly defeated in 2020. In order to more consistently win governing majorities at the state and federal levels, we must invest in connecting deeply with working people across race and place. This session will explore voter trends, delve deeper into the economic mindsets of working people across the country, share examples of proven-effective messaging strategies (particularly around the economy and culture wars) and share impactful approaches to engaging these voters.



J.D. Scholten

J.D. Scholten was the 2018 Democratic nominee against Rep. Steve King in Iowa’s 4th District. He received nationwide attention for his strong grassroots campaign, falling just 3 points short in a district that Donald Trump won by 27 points in 2016. He grew up in Sioux City. He attended college and played baseball at Morningside College and the University of Nebraska. After college, he played baseball in 7 different countries. He then went on to work as a paralegal before he launched his congressional campaign.

Kristin Wheeler

Kristin Wheeler (she/her/hers) brings over a dozen years of experience in the nonprofit and government sector to her role as Chief Strategy Officer. Kristin combines her campaigning, research, and communication skills to support the development and implementation of Galvanize USA and Galvanize Action’s long-term strategy to ensure we advance progress for all. Whether leading corporate negotiations to halt Tar Sands expansion, drafting strategic plans, or leading non-violent direct actions to advance LGBTQIA rights, Kristin believes we all do better when we all do better and she’s committed to leveraging her skills and privilege to make this true. Previously Kristin has held roles with the National Park Service and Greenpeace USA, and has clocked over ten thousand hours of facilitation and public speaking. Kristin resides in the rural woods of Washington state with her wife, two cats, and dog.

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Terrance Woodbury


Terrance Woodbury is a founding partner and chief executive officer of HIT Strategies.

Terrance’s research focuses on people of color and millennials who have become the driving force of rapidly evolving consumer and electoral trends in both the United States and abroad. Prior to starting HIT Strat, Terrance was the Research Director at the public opinion research firm Brilliant Corners Research & Strategies where he conducted polling and focus groups for candidates in local, state, national, and international elections and for companies like Uber and Google. Before Brilliant Corners, Terrance worked at the Brookings Institution, where he researched and studied economic and demographic trends shaping the fast-growing urban communities.

Before deciding to become a data scientist, political work consumed Terrance professional life. He worked numerous campaigns at the local, state, national, and international level, holding every position on a campaign except the candidate.  Terrance has been featured in a variety of publications and media outlets including CNN, The Hill, and Bloomberg News for his expertise on the attitudes of young, diverse voters and the best messages to mobilize them.

Other sessions: First They Came for CRT ... Why Saving Democracy Means Defending Racial Justice, Combating Political Cynicism in Black Communities

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