WASHINGTON – Nearly two dozen liberal groups, including MoveOn and a grassroots organization aligned with former President Barack Obama, announced plans Tuesday to organize a massive drive to turn out voters on the final weekend before the November midterm elections.
The Last Weekend, as the coalition calls its push, aims to create a volunteer force that will donate 1 million hours to help persuade voters to go to the polls between Nov. 3 and Nov. 6.
Some bold-faced Hollywood names have joined the effort. Actress Rashida Jones, known her role as "Ann Perkins" in the NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation, co-wrote, directed and starred in videos the group released Tuesday.
"Don't just vote this year. Volunteer," Jones says in one video alongside longtime activist and actress Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, stars of the Grace and Frankie series on Netflix.
“Wow, I can’t believe we’re still fighting to protect basic human rights and the planet,” Tomlin says in one sequence. “I’m exhausted.”
“You’re exhausted?” Fonda retorts. “I’ve been fighting for six decades.”
The push is part of what one of the organizers, Ethan Todras-Whitehill, called the "next step in the resistance," following marches and protests from liberal activists that have marked President Trump's first 18 months in office.
Todras-Whitehill is executive director of Swing Left, a group he helped start after the 2016 election that aims to send political donations and volunteers to swing districts in an effort to help Democrats retake the majority in the House.
“In an election this consequential, it’s just not enough to vote this year,” Todras-Whitehill said of the “last weekend” push. “For all the people who are upset about Donald Trump and what the Republicans are doing, voting is essential, it’s necessary, but it’s not sufficient.”
Organizers are asking would-be volunteers to sign up through an online tool at thelastweekend.org to commit to working on the final weekend of the campaign and find other volunteer activities in the months leading up to Nov. 6.
Groups backing the effort include Indivisible, MoveOn, Latino Victory, the Democratic Attorneys General Association and Organizing for Action, a group Obama launched as president to help advance his second-term agenda.
The election fight is high stakes for both parties. A first-term president's party typically loses seats in the midterm elections. In the House, Democrats need to flip just 23 GOP seats to seize the majority.
The Republican National Committee and other conservative groups also are readying big get-out-the-vote efforts. For instance, the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House Republican leaders, launched an ambitious voter outreach program last year with the goal of reaching 10 million voters in key districts by Election Day.
And its bank accounts keep getting larger. The Congressional Leadership Fund raised a record $51 million during the second quarter of this year, including $30 million from billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam.