A November 12, 2019, Edgewater|My People Vote© poll has the LA gubernatorial runoff at a statistical tie with only 2% undecided between Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards and his Republican challenger Eddie Rispone. The election will come down to the Edwards campaign’s ground game. Grassroots mobilization is going to be the key for Gov. John Bel Edwards’ re-election. Rispone’s support doesn’t require the “touches” that the Edwards’ campaign will require to mobilize its favorable voters. Edwards’ team will be relying on a network of granular connections to mobilize their voters on election day. Edwards campaign did an extraordinary job in turning out favorable demographic groups in the runoff early voting period. There were significant increases in minority and Democratic Party registered voter turnout over early voting primary performances.
President Trump will be in Shreveport on Thursday, November 14th stumping for Rispone. He will be flaming the impeachment flames of Washington DC, knowing that the matter is unpopular among Bayou State voters, with intentions that Edwards will be punished for it. Edwards has no such white knight to stump on his behalf. National Democratic Party heavy hitters are not well-liked in Louisiana and would certainly hurt his chances of re-election. Edwards will have to win this race on the street level with grassroots mobilization.
We hear the term grassroots campaigning frequently, but what does that mean? It means identifying who the favorable voters are for your campaign over the course of the campaign, and long before the campaign begins. Incumbents do have an advantage. They know (or at least should know) their districts and voters more intimately than anyone else. They have fielded the calls, emails, text messages, in-person concerns, complaints, and requests over their tenure. They know who they have satisfied and who they have not.
Campaigns cannot identify who their favorable voters are by direct mail, print ads, tv, radio, billboards, and robocalls. They must have some type of response from individual voters to begin identifying them as favorable. This was once only accomplished through canvassing (face-to-face interactions) and phone banking when we would ask voters if they would vote for our candidates. In addition to those methods, we can now text, IM, email, and “canvass” social media for voters who are favorable to our campaigns.
The aggregation of favorable voters is accomplished by individual campaign workers collecting this information and submitting it to the campaign’s data management team. This is a laborious process that has been historically conducted by pen and paper, where all of that data must to be entered into a computer database.
Savvy campaigns have begun to work smarter with mobile canvassing apps like the non-partisan My People Vote© app, available in iOS and Android. Instead of dealing with piles of phone bank spreadsheets and canvassing walk lists that feel like homework, a campaign’s volunteers become personally connected to the campaign and can begin contributing to the database of the campaigns favorable voters by calling, texting, and emailing contacts in their own phones and checking the database of voters right in the campaign app.
Political parties provide rudimentary canvassing technology for their candidates’ ground games, but many campaigns and candidates are rejecting those programs because campaign data is shared with others within the party who may be their political opponents.
Grassroots mobilization is key for any campaign and no program does it better than My People Vote©.
Tony Licciardi received his Master of Public Administration focused on Election Administration from the University of New Orleans. He will graduate from UNO in May 2020 with a Ph.D. in political science. His dissertation examines the theoretical mobilization and convenience effects of early voting in Louisiana. Licciardi has taught Louisiana Politics, State and Local Government, and American Politics and Government at UNO. He also worked as the graduate assistant at UNO’s Survey Research Center under Dr. Edward Chervenak. Licciardi is the designer and developer of the My People Vote© campaign app and the My People 123© constituent services app. www.MyPeople123.com)