You’re on Team! Congratulations! Now, you’re ready to take control over your own data and network, by volunteering on social media. In this post, we’ll outline how to make your voice heard in the most impactful ways. Specifically, we’ll cover sharing content and sending personal messages to individual friends. Both of these methods have proven to increase support for candidates and causes you care about.
Over the course of this week, we’ll be writing with advice on how to make the most of Team, your app for digital canvassing. Team gives you control over your own social media data and network, so you can personally support the issues and candidates you care about most.
Today, we’ll start at the beginning.
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Democracy depends on the free and easy movement of ideas; it depends on having a space to share thoughts and facts. In an ever-more digitized world, online communities have become an essential locus of political engagement. The public sphere today, in its truest sense, exists online. Rather than hide from this reality, we believe that it is imperative to empower volunteers to participate in this forum in ways that are meaningful for the candidates and causes they care about.
Our voter contact app, Team, allows volunteers to access their own Facebook data in order to facilitate sincere conversations about civic life between friends.
Talk of a Democratic wave in the fall midterm elections has reached a near-fever pitch.
The latest evidence of the coming tide, at least if you are to believe Republican Governor Scott Walker, was Rebecca Dallet’s election to the Wisconsin Supreme Court on April 3rd. Dallet, who had the support of the Democratic establishment, beat out a judge appointed by Governor Walker. This shrank the court’s conservative majority from 5-2 to 4-3. Walker’s response was to warn of a #bluewave “driven by anger and hatred,” which he implores Republicans to “counter with optimism and organization.”
If Democrats want to prove Scott Walker right and show him exactly what a blue wave looks like, we should take his advice and focus on organizing at scale, especially online, so we can mobilize at scale.
March 24, 2018 was witness to an explosion of youth-led activism across the nation. Hundreds of thousands of protesters took their tweets to the streets to demand gun reform and set their sights on the ballot box. Protests erupted in 390 of 435 congressional districts in the U.S. “We’re going to take this to every election, to every state and every city,” David Hogg said in his speech at the March for Our Lives protest in Washington. “When people try to suppress your vote, and there are people who stand against you because you’re too young, we say, ‘No more!’”
A diverse coalition of young voters across the country are organizing ahead of the midterm elections, dedicated to “vote them out” and bring change up and down the ballot. With midterms just around the corner, progressive groups and campaign strategists need to engage an energized base ‒ and channel their energy to the polls.
As an industry, electoral politics is unique insofar as campaigns have definitive end dates, with long expanses of time between them. Brilliant teams of technologists and strategists build everything they need to win elections, but once the votes are cast, the campaign shuts down and all that intellectual property dies. Campaigns operate in cycles; elections are won or lost, and staff move on. The wheel is then reinvented by a new batch of brilliant technologists and strategist next time ‘round.
Today’s candidates rely on party organizations like the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to maintain and pass along valuable technological IP. However, as it turns out, institutionalizing digital infrastructure across elections cycles is really hard. Once a campaign has been won, it has achieved its goal. There’s little incentive for the campaign that won yesterday to maintain its systems long enough for tomorrow’s candidates to build upon it.
President Obama’s victories were hailed as models for campaigning in the Digital Age. With that in mind, Democrats have been thought of as the front-runners in building a robust digital ecosystem that could span election cycles. And as Catherine Bracy, who ran Obama’s tech office in San Francisco puts it, integrating technology with the campaign “makes sense when you realize that the structure of our grassroots organization (relatively flat, and decentralized) very closely matches the structure of the Internet itself.” Still, institutionalizing such an ecosystem — much less innovating that ecosystem — has proven to be difficult.
That’s where Higher Ground Labs (HGL) comes in. Founded by a group of tech experts and Obama campaign alums in 2016, HGL is an accelerator working to fund companies that provide technological infrastructure for progressive campaigns up-and-down the ballot. As founder Betsy Hoover explained to Recode, the technology from campaigns “typically dies” after election season is over. Marrying innovative start-ups with campaigns, then, provides a scalable and long-lasting infrastructure that can help bridge the technological gap between election cycles.
The Tuesday Company was honored to be a part of HGL’s first cohort. We are grateful for their support, and it is with that in mind that we are thrilled to welcome HGL’s new generation of teams to the progressive political tech family.
Inspiring volunteers is no easy task. Even the most passionate supporters sometimes balk at calls to action. Though door-knockers are important and phone-bankers are valuable, Democrats will need to engage new elements of their base who aren’t willing or able to get involved in those more traditional ways – or it will all be for naught.
The reality is that in today’s digital world, with today’s digital users, we should be focusing on creating digital volunteers who are ready and willing to fulfill easy and impactful tasks from their smartphones. Continue reading “Digital Volunteers for a Digital Age”