Top photo: Obama field team in 2008
With Democrats deep in their presidential nominating process, Donald Trump can push his messages in battleground states with little answer from candidates focused on opponents from their own party. We’ve covered the targeted digital advertising campaigns some groups on the Left have launched to fill the gap before Dems have national campaign in the past, and since then, Mike Bloomberg has joined their attacks on Trump and Trumpism on TV and online. We’re now learning about a coalition of Democratic groups are jumping in to create what amounts to a presidential-level field campaign six months early:
Some of the Democratic Party’s most powerful factions are joining forces behind a massive organizing program in six battleground states — an effort aimed at minimizing the damage from a potentially protracted primary and giving the party’s eventual nominee a fighting chance against Donald Trump’s political machine.
Dubbed Organizing Together 2020, the effort was assembled by one of Barack Obama’s battleground gurus, Paul Tewes, and is hiring hundreds of staffers in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona. The party’s biggest union supporters and top progressive groups, as well as several governors, are powering the initiative, which has not been previously reported.
Experienced organizers know that field work rewards an early start: voter and volunteer contacts are functionally cumulative, so starting now will help build the networks of people who’ll canvass and make calls for the rest of the year. Plus, a door you knock on today yields data crucial to turnout work in the fall. Note that the article describes an effort tailored to each state, for instance with a digital emphasis in Wisconsin because of a perceived need there.
Though this network is intended to fold into the eventual nominee’s field program in a few months, this kind of long-term engagement also fits into what I’ve argued should be central to Democrats’ plans to build support in Trump country for election cycles to come. Combine persistent field outreach with activist self-organizing and targeted digital ads, and the Left can create a machine that might crack the Fox/Limbaugh bubble. The stakes couldn’t be higher: if we can’t change at least a few minds outside of urban/surburban America, Dems will struggle in state legislatures and Senate races across the country. So kudos to Organizing Together 2020, and I hope it’s just the start of a much longer campaign for the hearts and minds of America.