I’ve Texted Thousands of Voters in Swing States

What I found surprised me

Photo by Vladimir Mun on Unsplash

Let’s back up: here’s what it’s like to text for the DNC

The DNC’s text team is a well-run operation. You just sign up here and take a short webinar on how to use their texting technology (you text through a computer program, not your phone, which makes it a lot easier to respond quickly and meaningfully to voters). The campaign has scripts for common questions, so you’re not totally on your own, but you’re encouraged to be real and use your personal stories to connect with voters. There’s only one real rule: always be respectful and positive, no matter how the voter treats you.

People are better than you think

On the whole, digital canvassing has been way more rewarding than I ever imagined. This isn’t because it’s always easy—it’s not—but because I’ve discovered that I’m not as helpless as I thought. I had assumed that no one is persuadable anymore. I thought we were all just stuck in our little bubbles, and I’d either be preaching to the choir or wasting my time on someone whose mind I could never change.

It’s surprisingly easy to bring out the best in people.

Let’s get back to Barry. Again, this is how we started our conversation:

It’s also easier than you think to persuade undecided voters.

After Barry and I moved past his initial anger, we actually got into a long and friendly conversation about politics, healthcare, and taxes. Though he didn’t end firmly in the Biden column, he expressed interest in lot the information I shared and a willingness to keep the conversation open. We came a long way from where we started; he ended the conversation with “thanks for talking—have a great day!”

But there are other things that worry me

No matter how sure you are that you’re ready to vote, you really need to double-check your paperwork.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from voters who are sure they’re registered, or sure their absentee ballot request has been received, only to check and discover the opposite.

Conspiracy theories are not fringe. We need to take them seriously.

I will not repeat the insane theories that appear in my inbox every day, but I will tell you that they appear often, and fervently, and they are the main reason many voters have decided to oppose Biden. These wild theories are wreaking havoc on our political landscape; we will not move forward as a country until we address them head-on.

In short: we all need to talk to more people.

How often do you reach out to someone who doesn’t share your political beliefs? How often do you listen respectfully to someone who vehemently disagrees with you? It’s time to start doing it more.

Professional writer, parent, educator. Unusual woman.

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