As the Relational Organizing Director of the Tennessee Coordinated Campaign in 2018, Nicholas Maines is well-aware of the power of meeting voters where they are, online:
We are definitely missing a huge part of the electorate when we are sticking to the tried-and-true methods. We have to figure out a way to reach out to these individuals, whether it be through their friends or through digital means. We have to find a way to them, instead of trying to bring them to us. Who are you going to trust more? Are you going to trust your best friend, or are you going to trust some random person who shows up at your door?
When I first heard about Team, my heart actually jumped a little bit. Now, we have the ability to go into a volunteer’s phone and see which person on their phone is on our target list. We have definitely seen the people that we have reached out to through Team have a higher level of commitment to not only electing Democrats but to the Democrats that we need them to elect.
We have candidates who have really embraced this operation and have been able to reach people in more rural areas of the state where we don’t have a field office. We’ve had that kind of opportunity to grow our footprint outside of the major arteries of Tennessee because local candidates are embracing this technology and their volunteers are expanding upon it.
Team and digital organizing is the way that we need to go. Volunteers have become an agent, another part of the campaign that can not only reach one person, but hundreds of people. You can have a meaningful conversation that is able to flip a voter or get someone who wasn’t going to vote to actually cast that ballot.