Americans deeply dissatisfied with government and both parties: study

Public trust in the federal government has reached an historic low, and most Americans say they're deeply unhappy with both major political parties and their choices in 2024 presidential candidates, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center.

"People are frustrated with politics, because it does feel like we've been fighting the same political fights since at least the Reagan era, if not earlier," Kait Sweeney, a progressive political consultant, told Newsweek.

Political Roundtable: Goncalves on his run in CD1, Providence schools and taxes for non-profits

John Goncalves describes himself as the embodiment of Rhode Island’s motto of “hope.” He’s the son of immigrants, was raised by a single mom and went on to get two degrees from Brown University. Goncalves is serving his second term on the Providence City Council, representing Fox Point, Wayland Square, College Hill, the Jewelry District, and Downtown Providence. He says he sees the world through the eyes of his most vulnerable constituents and wants to make a bigger impact.

Campaigning finds a new normal as door-knocking resumes

Across much of America, the coronavirus pandemic isn’t fading away. But political campaigns are still forging ahead with in-person organizing.

“We’ve switched as much as we can to digital, and I think folks are interested in doing that as much as possible, but there is an element of this work that does require that in-person interaction,” said Alex Morgan, executive director of the Progressive Turnout Project. “We’ve found in our conversations and our research and our consultations with infectious-disease experts, this can be done in a safe and responsible way.”

The Progressive Turnout Project is getting back to door-knocking

The nation’s largest grass-roots organization devoted to voter turnout will begin in-person door-knocking this weekend — and canvassers will have to speak up to be heard through their masks.
The Progressive Turnout Project, a political action committee, announced this morning that it would begin a $52.5 million get-out-the-vote effort focused on 17 battleground states.
The campaign hopes to drive Democratic turnout in the presidential election and key Senate races, and reach voters who are likely to support Democrats but do not always vote consistently.

The November Surprise

Polls that ask respondents about their interest in the election—often a predictor of turnout—show that Republicans are matching Democrats in intensity, but the stark divide between when and how the parties’ supporters plan to vote is creating uncertainty about turnout, and the outcome. “I am really curious to see what is the real Republican enthusiasm at the end of the day,” Alex Morgan, the executive director of the Progressive Turnout Project, told me. “Is this a Joe Biden landslide, or is this a squeaker because they showed up too?”

Morgan’s group, one of the largest non-campaign organizations in the Democratic get-out-the-vote machine, leased 70 offices in 20 states in preparation for the election, but it has entirely foregone door-to-door canvassing and shifted to phone and digital campaigning. The Trump campaign has not given up door-knocking, transforming the 2020 campaign into a massive study on the relative efficacy of in-person versus virtual canvassing.

Does Door-Knocking Matter?

Bauerlein works as a canvasser for Progressive Turnout Project, a Democratic nonprofit. This summer, the operation was converted into a phone-banking effort. Bauerlein was spending his days in Gross’s basement, writing letters and making phone calls. “It’s tough,” he told me. “I’ve been called a communist, that I support baby-killers.” Bauerlein tried to focus on the advantages of the current situation: older voters were isolated, and they seemed more eager to engage in long conversations. (Research on deep canvassing shows that time is the most important factor in swaying voters.) But he missed talking to people face to face, where he could read nonverbal cues. “It’s like being a standup comic with no audience,” he told me. “I feel pretty disconnected from the world.”

For Biden, unwinding the Trump presidency could be a full-time job fraught with politics

Alex Morgan, executive director of the Progressive Turnout Project, said he hopes Biden learned his lesson from the Obama administration's effort to work with Republicans on the 2010 health care bill – an effort that was abandoned after months of negotiation. Progressives want Biden to take quick action on campaign finance reform, voting rights along with other issues, and want him to appoint Cabinet members who are left of center.
"By the time he’s sworn in, he’s got to have an answer to all these questions,” Morgan said in an interview before the election.

Latinas have the power to be a decisive force this election — if they turn out

In some less contested presidential battlegrounds in the Midwest, for example, Democratic women like Michelle De La Isla in Kansas and Christina Hale in Indiana are running to be the first Latinas in those congressional seats, representing predominantly White districts, said Stephanie Medina, the Spanish language engagement coordinator with the Progressive Turnout Project. The shift could draw out women in the Latinx community who want to see themselves represented in congressional office.

Some Out-of-Work Restaurant Workers Have Found a New Calling: Getting Out the Vote

With no clarity around when restaurants may return in full force, some of these workers have made their shift into politics permanent.
After the owners of Philadelphia’s Vernick Food & Drink announced that the restaurant would be shutting down temporarily in March, Lauren Guild, who ran the door and host stand there, thought about how much she enjoyed canvassing during the 2016 election. A few months into quarantine, she got a job as a field representative for the Progressive Turnout Project, a grassroots political action committee. These days she might be writing personalized letters to voters or calling people to collect data on how many will be voting by mail in swing states.

Get Out the Vote Efforts in Farm Country Are Reaching Young, Latinx, and Rural Voters

“After the caucuses, I feel like there was definitely a consensus that we need to rally together to defeat Donald Trump,” said Jeanina Messerly, a district field director for the Progressive Turnout Project, a PAC working to drive Democratic voter turnout with field offices across the U.S. “So much has happened, the caucuses kind of feel like they were five years ago, but Biden really understands the importance of reaching rural communities. He has a platform to uplift all working people. I feel like people see that and they’re excited to be voting Donald Trump out, to be quite frank.”
Biden has demonstrated a desire to “peel away” at the rural voting population that helped Trump win in 2016. Messerly, who oversees a team of 15 people who spend most of their time phone banking, also sees reaching out to Latinx voters as a key part of this strategy. To that end, she has hired a number of Spanish-speaking field reps. And when an English-speaking field rep reaches a Spanish speaker on the phone, they have a tool that allows them to patch them through to someone who can communicate in Spanish.

The Election Whisperer: Turnout

In the electoral home stretch, one question looms large for every party and candidate on the ballot: how do we get our voters to vote? Turnout is always critical, but in this highly peculiar cycle, it stands to play an even larger role than usual. Rachel Bitecofer has assembled a panel to reveal what progressives are doing in 2020 to convert supporters into voters.

- Alex Morgan, executive director of Progressive Turnout Project
- Diana Patiño, lead strategist of Sisters United Alliance
- Jaime Mercado, consultant for Sisters United Alliance

Groups grapple for young Arizona voters in new ways

To work around COVID-19 restrictions, Progressive Turnout Project focuses on phone banking, where field representatives like Shari Griswold contact inconsistent voters – often young voters – in Arizona from home. As part of the group’s new campaign, phone calls are followed up with a handwritten note.
In recent months, the Progressive Turnout Project has adopted a letter writing campaign where volunteers will hand-write messages to inconsistent Democratic voters in Arizona, asking them to vote.

Postcards become unlikely tool in effort to oust Trump

The Progressive Turnout Project, which gave half a million dollars to fund Postcards to Swing States’s operations, said the personal touch of a postcard stands out in an age of automated messaging and email overload.
"It’s unique and kind of fun to get a handwritten postcard in the mail. It’s not something you get much from campaigns, and certainly not something you get a lot of these days when so much is online,” said spokesman Will Mantell.

From Masked Door-Knockers To Virtual Chili Cookoffs, Coronavirus Is Changing How Campaigns Campaign

As the virus has shut the door — for now — on large-scale Democratic door-knocking operation, Marcos Descalzi, district director for the Progressive Turnout Project in Colorado springs says technology has opened other avenues for contact.
“In a sense that’s allowed us to kind of expand past some of the prior limitations of canvassing, in that we’re able to send letters to rural communities that otherwise [wouldn’t hear from us]. Especially with the important Colorado 3rd Congressional District race this year, that’s the best way to reach them,” he explained.

Florida Politics: seeks 200,000 inconsistent Florida voters committed to unseating Donald Trump

The Progressive Turnout Project unveiled a massive effort Monday to reach voters in battleground states, including Florida.
The group pledged a one-on-one voter contact program will place 55 million calls and mail 500,000 handwritten letters to voters.
That makes it the largest phone outreach of any progressive organization during the 2020 election cycle thus far. It’s part of a mission to help former Vice President Joe Biden defeat President Donald Trump and for Democrats to retake the Senate.

At virtual Democratic convention, Mayor Lori Lightfoot says Trump is mounting a ‘full-out assault’ on Postal Service, election and democracy

Lightfoot made her comments about Trump during a virtual online roundtable discussion along with Emily Cain, executive director of EMILY’s List; Alex Morgan, executive director of the Progressive Turnout Project political organization; and Rachana Desai Martin from the Biden campaign.
When panelists were asked what keeps them up at night on the subject of protecting people’s ability to vote, Lightfoot said it was the “chaos and uncertainty” over the integrity of mail-in balloting.

Amid Pandemic, a Return to Old-Fashioned Voter Turnout

GUEST: Alex Morgan, Executive Director of Progressive Turnout Project

BACKGROUND: The US Supreme Court in a 6-3 ruling on Thursday affirmed that former felons in Florida will not have the right to vote if they have not paid off all fines related to their incarceration. Florida residents had passed a ballot measure to allow voting in this demographic but Republican state lawmakers stopped its implementation in just one of many ways in which the conservative party has worked to block voting.

Democratic group plans to send 13 million hand-written postcards to voters in swing states

A left-leaning group announced plans Thursday to send 13 million hand-written postcards to swing-state voters around the country in an effort to boost Democratic voter turnout in the 2020 election.

The Progressive Turnout Project said in a press release that it was investing $500,000 in the initiative begun by Ramsey Ellis and Reid McCollum, co-founders of Postcards to Swing States, and have already distributed about 3.5 million hand-written postcards to volunteers for mailing.

At the Races: The election’s in the mail

Small steps: As states loosen social distancing restrictions, some candidates and organizers are starting to take steps back to the campaign trail. Progressive Turnout Project announced Thursday morning it will be “the first national progressive organization to launch in-person, door-to-door canvassing for the 2020 election.” Field programs are planned in Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin, launching Saturday.
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