Deep Organizing’s Moment in the Sun

Democrats didn’t win Georgia in November and again in January by accident. Those narrow victories followed years of political organizing by groups led by Stacey Abrams and others, including organizations focused on specific communities and narrow slices of the electorate. This long-term approach has come to be called “deep organizing” to differentiate it from the last-minute GOTV mobilization common to political campaigns, and it helped power recent Democratic wins in Arizona and Michigan as well as the Peach State.

Now, other Democrats hope to apply the model in places like my home state of Texas. Republicans are getting into the game as well, planning to open field offices in Black communities in 2022 battleground states. How does deep organizing work? Check out my latest Campaigns & Elections article for an overview, including some aspects of deep organizing that might not be obvious at first glance.

For instance, effective long-term organizing doesn’t just involve political campaigns and political parties — or involve them at all. Effective organizing campaigns often rely on people from a community speaking with folks in that community, since we’re usually more likely to connect with someone who speaks our language, literally or metaphorically. Deep organization also lends itself to persuasion, since it encourages the long-term conversations and relationships that can move voters’ minds. [For more on that approach, also check out my 2019 piece, “Democrats Need a Long-Term Persuasion Machine. Here’s How to Build It.”]

Political campaigns naturally focus on the here and now, since their goal is to win on Election Day. But if we want to change the electorate in ways that benefit our party or our issues, deep organizing offers the chance to bring new people to the process and reach others who haven’t given us a chance before. Read the C&E piece for more.

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