When rallies and town halls are no longer viable, what can grassroots activists do?
No political strategist for any 2020/2021 campaign planned for this. No strategists even have experience to call on, not in the United States at least. This black swan event is disrupting all walks of life and every industry. Luckily, with today’s technology, there are almost limitless ways to reach voters outside of the physical world. Let’s go over some of the creative ways we’ve seen being implemented by campaigns both large and small.
First, there are the standard ways to reach voters digitally. We won’t spend much time going over them but they should be used to their maximum advantage even during normal times. They are Instagram and Facebook ads, posts, tweeting, E-mail campaigns and texting. These invaluable strategies are great for showing up in front of voters’ eyes, both new and old.
21st Century Fireside Chats
It was the first half of the 20th century, the radio was a brand new technology and the country was in a situation eerily relevant to today. President Franklin D. Roosevelt capitalized on this new technology to deliver what became known as his fireside chats, where he spoke directly to Americans through national radio addresses.
Now times have changed, and certainly technology has too, but the premise remains the same. Using livestreaming on Facebook, Youtube or Instagram, modern-day campaigns can talk directly to their constituents, with even more flexibility than Roosevelt had. In addition, for better (or worse) their constituents can communicate to them in real-time comments during the livestream, allowing for an even more personal connection.
Virtual Town Halls
When the town square is closed, the next best bet is to go virtual. Using the same method as earlier, or by inviting your constituents to ask questions via Twitter or Facebook, you can host virtual town halls. Simply have set up a camera at an office or dining room table, sit across from a member of your staff and have them ask questions that your constituents sent in.
Quarantine season is the perfect opportunity for your campaign to start a podcast. This can be simply the candidate speaking in long-form, or a round table discussion involving the rest of the team or independent voices. People will have more time on their hands, and we are all getting tired of the 30-second segments of screaming on the news – there is an appetite for long-form discussion. (Please visit here and subscribe to be the first to ow when we release our podcast.)
Use this downtime to find out what your constituents really care about! Take this time to create surveys and polls to be blasted out across all your platforms. Get hard data on what issues are most important, what initiatives are more favorable, and where your constituents fall politically.
Last, and possibly more importantly, across all the earlier stated metrics. have solutions during the crisis. COVID-19 is truly a shock to the system, people need answers and solutions. Think the federal government is not delivering sufficiently or fast enough? Then use this opportunity to state what you would do if you were in the position you’re campaigning for right now, and offer broader solutions on what should be done at a systems level. Show that when it all hits the fan you will be thinking outside the box with real, concrete ideas for ways to remedy the problem. Even if they’re ideas that you would not be able to implement yourself, call on those who can. Show that you’re willing to speak truth to power and call for what is needed to help the American People.