Exit your Comfort Zone…for Democracy

We all need to do more than we’re comfortable with, right now, to protect our democracy.  It’s that simple, right?

In this video, I explain how my road trips project is moving me outside my comfort zone in the hopes that you will move outside your comfort zone to take action (canvass, phone bank, donate, etc.) during the midterms.

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Swing Left Academy

This past weekend I participated in an awesome training by Swing Left, an organization dedicated to swinging the House of Representatives to the Democrats in November.

The training had sooooooo much useful information for activists this election cycle.  It was also three hours long.  (Here’s a link to the full training.)  So I’ve made what you might call a TL;DR version, which hits all the key points in 19 minutes.


Here’s the full outline so you can jump to what interests you most:

0:00 – INTRODUCTION
…..0:42 – Sections Overview
1:21 – ORGANIZING
…..1:24 – The Organizing Fish
…..2:30 – Organizing Definition
…..2:39 – Organizing in Everyday Life
3:00 – VOTER CONTACT
…..3:10 – 5 Types of Voter Contact
…..3:57 – Research on What Works
4:22 – CANVASSING
…..4:36 – What to Bring
…..4:43 – Time Required
…..4:57 – Staging Location
…..5:08 – Walk List
…..5:14 – Canvassing Myths
…..5:51 – Data
…..6:51 – Script
…..7:13 – Canvass Buddies
…..8:09 – How Many Doors?
…..8:18 – How Conversations?
…..8:42 – Lit
…..9:01 – Out-of-District Canvassing
…..9:48 – 3 Types of Voters
11:13 – VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT
…..11:38 – The Hard Ask
….12:12 – Different Kinds of No’s
13:14 – TEAM-BUILDING
….13:45 – Ladder of Engagement
….16:20 – A Pyramid, Not a Column
….16:45 – Group Structure
17:35 – CALL TO ACTION
….17:43 – Get Local Alerts from SwingLeft.org
….18:03 – Canvass for TheLastWeekend.org
18:52 – END

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Something Exciting is Happening in the South

The news from yesterday’s primary in Georgia goes much deeper than Stacey Abrams’ win. It’s also about her dominance of candidates from both parties, including the more “viable” Democratic pick and the anti-immigrant candidates on the Republican right.

The final results are a very hopeful sign for the South, and for November.

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Primaries Indicate Trumpiness Will not Save Republican Candidates

The first multi-state primary happened yesterday in North Carolina, West Virginia, Indiana, and Ohio.

Each party voted for the candidate they will send to the general election in November and one pattern became clear… Republican voters do not like Republican Congressmen, even very Trumpy ones!

They still want to drain the swamp and they do not want to promote Washington insiders, even very pro-Trump ones from their own party.

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Superhero Canvassing: ID, Persuasion, and GOTV

You already know the canvassing basics.  Now you can level up to be a canvassing superhero and MVP who actually helps the canvass organizer improve their data and effectiveness.

How?  First, you need to know which of the three types of canvass you’re on.  You can ask the canvass organizer that information when you arrive at the staging location.  The three types to expect are:

  • Identity Canvass: The goal here is to get as much information as you can about voters’ positions and preferences so they can be engaged in a more personalized way later on.  This type of canvassing happens earliest.
  • Persuasion Canvass: In this type, you want to move the voter to support your candidate or your issue.  This is about convincing a voter to change her or his mind and happens after some preference information has been collected.
  • Get Out the Vote (GOTV) Canvass: This one is about getting “the base,”  your core supporters, out to the polls.  You aren’t seeking information and you aren’t changing anyone’s mind. You’re just convincing those who already agree with you to actually vote that opinion.   This type of canvassing happens last, no more than 90 days before an election.

Once you know what to expect, you’ll know when voter interactions aren’t matching up: for example, supporters on a Persuasion Canvass or opponents on a GOTV Canvass.  If you find these inconsistencies as you canvass, tell the organizer.  She or he can change the canvass list next time.

Full details for campaign data expert Jamaa Bickley-King in the video below:

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