Democrats are throwing the digital kitchen sink at their drop-off voters in the final part of the 2018 campaign.
Despite all the talk of a Democratic wave and “surging” interest in the midterms, there are still millions of registered voters who say they won’t vote in November.
The DCCC is hoping that an app developed to aid campaigns with relational organizing will help reduce the numbers of drop-off voters this cycle.
On Tuesday, the DCCC announced a partnership with The Tuesday Company’s Team app, a platform that received funding and support from Higher Ground Labs during its 2017 round of investment in progressive startups.
In reality, the partnership has been in place for some time, with some campaigns more engaged than others on the app, according to Jordan Birnholtz, chief product officer at Tuesday Company. Now, their goal is to cultivate 65,000 digital volunteers to support the DCCC’s 100-plus targeted campaigns.
Birnholtz said his product, for which Tuesday Company bills campaigns at a flat rate, can help boost turnout among the kind of voters who aren’t typically engaged during a midterm—young people, voters of color, low-income voters.
“The Analyst Institute has done really interesting research around relational organizing where they found that relational organizing had, depending on the population, as much as 8 times the turnout impact that a cold message did,” Birnholtz told C&E.
The Team app, he said, “is a way to reach people who are harder to reach at doors, but can be reached through their friends digitally.”
The app works like this: volunteers download Team and give it permission to access their contacts. The volunteer is then told if one of her or his contacts matches a profile in the campaign’s voter file (the campaign isn’t given access to the volunteer’s contacts). The volunteer is then given a message to share with that person directly.
Other firms on the left have touted relational organizing this cycle. In fact, ACRONYM, a millennial-outreach focused shop, noted in a Medium post in June: “Relational organizing isn’t a silver bullet, and the tools that facilitate relational organizing programs are not winning strategies by themselves. … [B]y investing in and running relational organizing programs this cycle, we can register more voters, persuade more undecideds, recruit more volunteers, and turn out more Democrats. That is how we win.”
Overall, this appears to have been a winning cycle for startups, at least on the left. Back in August, several poli-tech entrepreneurs working on the left told C&E that they’d seen the industry become more welcoming to startups since President Trump’s victory in 2016.