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BUILDING A PROGRESSIVE JUGGERNAUT IN 2020

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

2020 has been an electoral season of exponential growth for People's Action's Movement Politics work, during which we activated 23,000 volunteers and made 47.3 million attempts to contact voters in battleground states.

Through a combination of a national distributed volunteer program and powerful grassroots organizing in battleground states, People's Action has set up a major progressive electoral upheaval this cycle.

Back Our Work

23,000 volunteers

38 million texts sent

9.4 million calls made

280,202 deep canvass phone conversations

48-percent movement rate

DEEP CANVASSING: THE BACKBONE OF OUR WORK

Making Human Connections

Deep canvassing is one of the most proven and durable forms of persuasion and is far more effective than other forms of persuasion employed by traditional political campaigns. Deep canvasses are candid, two-way conversations where canvassers ask voters to share their relevant, emotionally significant experiences and reflect on them aloud.

Deep canvasses typically involve:

  • Non-judgmentally soliciting voters’ views and asking follow-up questions about voters’ experiences.
  • Sharing narratives about personal experiences with the issue that reinforce values relevant to the issue.

Caitlin Homrich-Kneilen relates the story of her first deep canvass conversation in the second episode of To See Each Other, a new People's Action podcast hosted by George Goehl.

Data + People = Power

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. 

EVENTS TO DRIVE REAL CHANGE

Once election season pivoted to the general election, People’s Action went all-in to defeat Trump. One of the major features of the effort was a spirited virtual town hall series, including a Rise Up 2020 town hall featuring Bernie Sanders, a United Against Trump town hall with Senator Sanders and U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, held during the DNC as a reminder of the progressive agenda and to convey a message of unity heading into the general election; the Fighting for Rural America town hall with Senator Sanders which disrupted narratives about rural communities and discussed what rural and small-town America needs this election season and beyond.  Several deep canvass town halls that aimed to turn out volunteers for specific, immediate voter contact activities. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Women’s March Co-President Rinku Sen, and a variety of other progressive leaders participated.

"Hey y'all. Just had a great conversation about health care with a voter. She was not going to vote but now she is voting for Biden. I helped her find her voting place and get registered!"

–Sean, volunteer

"It's true–the skills are transformative! I'm so proud of this work, and the outstanding contribution People's Action is making to cultivate essential dialogue skills among people across the country!!

"Hooray for solidarity and long, broad impact beyond the election!!"

–Gayle, volunteer

"I've tried some text banking with other organizations this week and none are nearly as responsive, helpful, or organized as People's Action. Thank you moderators and volunteers!"

–Clara, volunteer

"This is definitely the most responsive, positive, and spirited campaign I've ever seen! So much good vibes."

–Shelley, volunteer

LOCAL ADS, LOCAL VOICES

People’s Action supplemented its deep canvass work with a powerful advertising series featuring residents of rural battleground areas, telling in their own words why we must defeat Donald Trump this year. People’s Action worked with Local Voices, an advertising firm specializing in creating authentic political ads featuring people who live in the communities where the ads will run, and award-winning documentary filmmaker Lee Hirsch. The organization aired these advertisements on television, radio, on billboards, and in digital format in rural battleground areas where our organizers were having deep canvass conversations.

MOVEMENT POLITICS, MOVEMENT CANDIDATES

In addition to endorsing Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, People’s Action endorsed more than 70 down-ballot candidates this election cycle in states across the country, including progressive champions like Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Jamaal Bowman.

"2020’s Most In-Depth, People-Powered Forum Just Happened in Iowa"

–The Nation, Sept. 29, 2019

BUILDING A STRONG FOUNDATION

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Building on 2018

The explosive growth in People’s Action’s electoral organizing has its foundation in careful, intentional work done over the last two election cycles. In 2018, People’s Action and its member organizations assisted winning campaigns in 23 House districts, seven Senate races, 10 gubernatorial races, 115 down-ballot races and 10 ballot initiatives. The organization entered the 2020 cycle with an intention to escalate, and, informed by its long-term agenda, it published a People’s Platform for 2020 to guide its electoral efforts.

People's Presidential Forum Series

At every step along the way, People’s Action focused on building an organizing strategy with staying power while building up candidates who would govern alongside the progressive movement while in office. Its two-year endorsement process for the 2020 Democratic primary culminated in a People’s Presidential Forum series, which included an Iowa forum hailed by The Nation as the “most in-depth, people-powered forum” of the 2020 cycle.

By December, People’s Action had endorsed Bernie Sanders for President, who included People’s Action’s Homes Guarantee in his housing plan. 

GET INVOLVED

The groundbreaking organizing work featured in To See Each Other is reaching millions of voters and reshaping politics in communities across the country–and we need you to join us.

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