So we started local, building our organizing chops, creating deep connections in communities left behind by the political establishment. When we took those lessons and experiences national, we put them in service to a vision of a nation where people and the planet came first.
Medicare for All.
A Homes Guarantee.
Student debt cancellation.
A Green New Deal.
Over the past four years, that vision has come into direct conflict with a vicious, divisive, racist agenda personified by Donald Trump. That agenda is backed by billionaires and one of the most manipulative data operations ever put in service to a political campaign. Heading into this election cycle, we knew that if we were going to succeed, we’d have to go deep.
We started small with an experiment to find out if candid, two-way conversations with undecided voters could be effective when all the ad campaigns and voter ID blitzes of the past had failed. And it turned out that the answer was yes. “Deep canvassing” showed immense promise, especially in rural areas where progressives typically hesitated to invest organizing resources.
And it wasn’t just that the conversations were effective at getting people to vote one way or the other–deep canvassing literally changed people’s lives. Volunteers told us they were deeply thankful for the chance to connect with people, be vulnerable, and come away with a deeper understanding of another person’s perspective.
We paired this breakthrough form of organizing with cutting-edge data science, using a machine-learning-informed method that lets us improve our ability to find conflicted voters in real time. We also added a new team of distributed organizers–skilled campaigners who brought with them the commitment and savvy to draw in thousands of volunteers above and beyond those in our affiliate organizations.
Eventually, word got around about what we were up to and our program ended up in the pages of Rolling Stone, and then eventually in coverage by The Washington Post, MSNBC, and The Atlantic. Performing artists like VIC MENSA, progressive champions like Sen. Bernie Sanders, House Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Pramila Jayapal, every member of The Squad, and thought leaders like Naomi Klein started joining our kickoff livestreams to bring in volunteers and get them fired up for evenings of meaningful, impactful activism.
Thanks to this earned media, word of mouth, and the careful preparation of our team, our effort grew into an electoral powerhouse, with 17,114 volunteers making 32.5 million attempts to reach voters this cycle. We’ve had more than 210,000 deep canvass phone conversations and exchanged millions of texts with conflicted voters in battleground states.
Here’s what all this comes down to: Academic researchers tell us that by breaking this new ground in organizing, we’ve created a presidential voter persuasion program that’s 102 times more effective than the typical presidential voter persuasion campaign. Participating in one of our phone banks or text banks is literally one of the most impactful things a person can do to defeat Trump in battleground states, and that’s no exaggeration.