Pushing Hillary to the left

Pushing Hillary to the left

Anna Galland is on the front lines of the progressive battle to move the Democratic Party — and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats try to turn now into November The Memo: Unhappy voters could deliver political shocks beyond Trump On The Trail: Trump, coronavirus fuel unprecedented voter enthusiasm MORE — to the left ahead of 2016. 

As executive director of the progressive powerhouse MoveOn.org Civic Action, she helps oversee the strategy for activating the more than 8 million members in the MoveOn.org network.

While MoveOn.org first gained prominence for its opposition to the Iraq War during the George W. Bush administration, Galland has since helped transform the group into one of the major liberal organizations shaping progressive policy.


Hot on its to-do list is blocking President Obama’s trade policy, which liberals say would put U.S. workers in competition with low-wage workers overseas and benefit large corporations.

The administration vehemently refutes Galland’s allegations, insisting that Obama’s effort to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will help boost economic growth by creating a 12-nation economic agreement.

“This is going to be our signature fight for this year,” Galland said in an interview with The Hill. “Our members strongly oppose TPP and they’re horrified by the way it empowers giant corporations.”

Galland said that her members are “concerned about corporate power and democracy.”

“This seems like a direct expansion of that,” she said. “This is a battle we can win.  It’s going to come down to Democrats listening to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. We need to convince them that we’re the future of the party.”

Galland’s brand of progressive politics is similar to that of Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden chips away at Trump's fundraising advantage Warnock raises almost M in Georgia Senate race in second quarter The Hill's Morning Report - Trump lays low as approval hits 18-month low MORE (D-Mass.). Both frequently chastise Wall Street and big business, insisting that the financial system is tilted against  the interests of average Americans.


Despite Warren’s insistence that she will not challenge Clinton in a 2016 Democratic primary, Galland is still helping to orchestrate a million dollar campaign dubbed “Run Warren Run” to draft her.

“We’re calling for a genuinely contested primary,” she said. “It’s clear to any observer that the energy and the passion in the Democratic Party right now is highest in the progressive flank.”

She said that Warren’s entering the race would “ensure we have the real contest we need.”

“We 100 percent take Sen. Warren at her word that she’s not planning to run,” Galland said. “Our work in the campaign is to convey to her the intensity and the breadth of support for her message.”

Galland insists that her draft effort is already having an effect in shaping the 2016 presidential cycle. 

While she said members were “excited” to see Clinton jump into the race, she said the group would  “listen to our members as we go through the [2016] process to see where they are” should Clinton become the nominee.

“It’s very early in the process,” she said. “Right now we’re most focused on our draft effort.”

Galland and her team have also helped reverberate Warren’s message to the progressive grassroots community. 

While MoveOn.org first arrived on the political landscape taking on dominant issues such as the Iraq War, it has since also targeted some of Washington’s inner workings.

For example, MoveOn.org was instrumental in helping derail investment banker Antonio Weiss’s nomination in January as Obama’s No. 3 official at the Treasury Department — a nomination Warren vehemently opposed.

Galland is based out of Ann Arbor, Mich., where she lives with her husband, University of Michigan political science lecturer Chris Skeaff, and her twin preschoolers. But she travels to D.C. regularly. “It’s always been an important aspect of our identity to be grounded in communities around the country,” she said.

“We don’t have a physical central office,” she said. “We’re in something like a dozen different offices. It’s important that we as an organization don’t limit ourselves to the conventional wisdom in Washington.”

Galland joined MoveOn.org in 2007 and ascended to her position in 2012. She credits her “liberal minded family” for her passion for progressive politics. 

Her grandmother Marion Galland was elected to the Virginia Legislature, canvassing voters and fighting for school integration. Her father, George F. Galland Jr., is a civil rights lawyer in Chicago.

“I ended up getting involved in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks,” she said.