So, here’s one way Organizing for America (which runs the former Obama campaign supporter list) is going to use its grassroots base: pressuring Congressmembers in their districts during the August recess. From OFA’s Jon Carson:
OFA has big plans for August.
While lawmakers are home for congressional recess, thousands of supporters will be holding events in key districts across the country.
It’s all about making sure members of Congress hear directly from the people they represent, on the issues that matter to all of us.
We’re calling it Action August — and there will be plenty of ways to get involved, no matter where you live.
Carson’s email links to a landing page that contains a simple pledge, which is a good first step toward getting people involved. Of course, using the August congressional break to hit lawmakers in their home districts is nothing new; for a particularly dramatic example, just think back to 2009, when Tea Partiers unleashed their anger over health care reform at congressional town hall meetings across the country.
But unlike many nonprofits and advocacy groups, OFA has a grassroots base in every state, and they have enough members to actually get a decent showing at events in a lot of districts. And while most congressmembers aren’t going to change their minds on climate change, women’s reproductive rights, guns or immigration (the issues listed as priorities in Carson’s email), rallies or meetings to put pressure on them can get local public and media attention. And, actions like these help keep the base involved. Still, as soon as OFA decided to focus on the advocacy rather than the electoral space, at some level they became just another player on a very crowded field. We’ll see if they can make an actual difference, either in the media narrative or in the form of actual votes in Congress.