We Are Welcome

Welcome Stack is by The Welcome Party and WelcomePAC, affiliated organizations that strengthen our democracy by advocating for a robust center-left faction and supporting Democratic candidates who can welcome in independents and moderate Republicans.

The Welcome Party started in the lead-up to the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries to invite more independent voters to participate in the primaries in states where they are allowed to do so, increasing turnout and moderating the electorate in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

WelcomePAC launched in late 2021 and invested more than $2 million during the 2022 cycle to support moderate candidates and engage persuadable party switchers and ticket splitters in Ohio, California, and Colorado. We put democracy on offense by identifying potentially high-value candidates with an ability to differentiate from the Democratic Party’s brand and investing in districts just outside the purview of party establishment targets.

Our work and perspective on the need for smarter investments to build a big-tent Democratic Party have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN Politics, NBC News, Semafor, Slate, The Bulwark, The Atlantic, and The Hill.

Every Sunday, we reflect on various facets of our work, usually within one of these categories:

1. The future is faction.

There’s a lot to be learned from the political entrepreneurs who spun out of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign and powered the rise of the far-left faction that elected AOC and the Squad. Moderates should take a page out of the far-left playbook by organizing and building a coherent and robust center-left faction within the Democratic party that can connect with and win the middle.

2. Democrats must be a big-tent party in order to win sustainable governing majorities and save democracy.

That means reaching out to and welcoming in moderate independents and center-right Republicans. Democrats can mount serious challenges against anti-democracy MAGA Republicans in potentially winnable GOP-held seats by running brand-differentiated moderates (including former Republicans) who can win red-to-blue crossover voters.

3. Far-left candidates consistently underperform while brand-differentiated moderates overperform and win purple — and even red — seats.

The far-left has never flipped a single seat from red to blue — and far-left candidates incur a “progressive penalty” in swing seats and blue strongholds alike. Meanwhile, moderates who differentiate from their party’s toxic cable news caricature overperform (and win) in the most competitive districts in the country.

4. The far-left has peaked.

Not only has the far-left never flipped a single seat, but the “Squad” has seen its growth (which unfolded only in some of the bluest districts in the country) slow dramatically since its inception in 2018. The slowdown in momentum has also unfolded in the entrepreneurial groups that powered the far-left’s rise, with flashy and disruptive upstarts like No Excuses PAC and New Consensus appearing to have fizzled out entirely with little to show.

5. There’s no such thing as “The Democrats, Inc.”

The “Democratic Party” is little more than a loose-knit network of institutions (committees, think tanks, media outlets, organizing and advocacy groups, etc.) and individuals (politicians, activists, voters, etc.). There is no centralized decision-making apparatus to define priorities, make tradeoffs, and allocate resources. This means “The Democrats” are simply whoever within the coalition steps up and does the real work of organizing and investing.

6. Volatility, not polarization, is the defining feature of contemporary electoral politics.

The flip side of rising polarization at the partisan fringes means that volatility among the shrinking (yet still substantial) population of depolarized swing voters in the middle becomes all the more important in deciding the outcomes of today’s close elections.

7. To harness volatility and win the middle, listen to the candidates who have actually done it.

There’s no use in asking Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (who represents a district Joe Biden won with more than 73% of the vote in 2020) for her take on why Democrats win or lose in swing districts. Instead, Democrats and the media should pass the mic to the candidates who have run (and won) in those kinds of highly competitive seats for a real sense on what it takes to win the middle and save our democracy.

8. The political marketplace is predictably bonkers.

The Democratic marketplace is full of organizations and candidates acting and investing rationally at the individual level, but these actions aggregate into something irrational and inefficient at the ecosystem level. The result is an environment in which longshots in unwinnable seats are showered with millions of dollars while candidates running in far more winnable battlegrounds may go underfunded.

9. The most effective way for centrists to exert an influence on our politics is through moderate partisan factions, not third parties.

Vaguely defined anti-partisan centrist groups like No Labels and Andrew Yang’s Forward Party dilute moderates’ political power by diverting critical resources away from the center-left and center-right partisan factions where they could have a real impact and toward quixotic third-party efforts that are doomed to lose in our “first past the post” electoral system.

10. We need a new game plan to save our democracy.

Democrats responded fiercely to Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in 2016, but the energetic reaction was co-opted by the far-left and grew into a slash-and-burn approach that has not delivered reliable victories. It’s time for a more sustainable and disciplined big-tent movement to defeat Trumpism over the long haul and save our democracy.

Subscribe to WelcomeStack

Ideas & analysis from the front lines of the center-left. Win the middle, save democracy.


Liam Kerr is a co-founder of The Welcome Party, which engages independent voters and advocates for a big-tent Democratic party, and WelcomePAC, which supports centrist Democrats who can win over swing voters. Follow him @LiamKerr.
Co-Founder of The Welcome Party and WelcomePAC. Working at the intersection of moderate and partisan to grow a big-tent Democratic Party that wins. Writing @ WelcomeStack.org