Elections 2016: How CREDO is fighting for our progressive values
CREDO does not endorse candidates, but we have a rich history of engaging in elections to fight right-wing extremism and stand up for progressive values. 2016 is no different. Donald Trump’s racist, misogynistic and xenophobic candidacy has mainstreamed hatred and made this election one of the most important fights against hate and extremism any of us have ever faced.
For months, CREDO has been engaging our network of more than 4.4 million members to push back against Trump and the right-wing hate mongers he enables. As we head towards an unprecedented and historic Election Day on Nov. 8, CREDO is executing a multi-faceted strategy to combat right-wing extremism. The key elements of our campaign include directly damaging Trump’s brand, shaping the media environment through rapid-response campaigns, attacks through our highly engaged social media channels and partnering with allies to engage voters in key battleground states.
Working to defeat Trump and fight the right-wing
Damaging Trump: In close partnership with ColorOfChange, CREDO successfully pushed companies to divest themselves from Trump’s hateful nomination convention. Since the Republican convention, CREDO has built on that effort and intensified our advocacy efforts to fight back against Trump’s fascist candidacy on all fronts. Highlights of our campaigns against Trump are:
- Highlighting Trump’s dangerous connections with Russia: As concerns about Trump’s financial and political connections to Russia continued to grow, CREDO mounted an intense campaign to push for investigations into those ties to Russia, and call for the Republican Party to disavow and hold Trump accountable for his incitements to violence and spying. Some highlights include 180,000+ CREDO activists signing a petition urging Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to prevent Trump from accessing national security briefings, joining a cacophony of well-known voices who say he is unfit to lead. Additionally, 99,000+ CREDO activists called for investigations into Trump’s ties to Russia after questions arose about longstanding relationships between high-ranking Trump advisers and Russian oligarchs. We had 54,000+ activists sign a petition asking Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to withdraw their support of Donald Trump’s candidacy after his rhetoric encouraging the Russian government to spy on the U.S. and a call for violence against Sec. Hillary Clinton. We also released a Trump-Putin video in response to Trump’s encouragement of a known authoritarian like Putin to commit espionage and publicize state secrets, which was shared nearly 2,000 times on social media.
- Launching ImNotVotingForTrump.com: CREDO worked with ShareProgress to develop and deploy a special microsite that enables activists to engage in peer-to-peer social persuasion via Facebook to create and share an image displaying the top three reasons why they are not voting for Trump. CREDO deployed the tool through an extensive rollout that included targeted engagement of our email and our social media communities through the deployment of graphics and videos. A number of progressive heavyweights have already shared the tool to activate their networks including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and the AFL-CIO, among many others.
Shaping the media narrative. In addition to directly undercutting Trump’s credibility, CREDO has focused on shaping the media environment to ensure that Trump’s dangerous policies, cruel demeanor and outrageous lies receive adequate coverage, by:
- Pressuring traditional corporate media outlets to call out Trump’s lies: Leading into the first presidential debate, CREDO members signed more than 75,000 petitions demanding the Commission on Presidential debates to instruct moderators to correct candidates’ lies in real time during the debates.
- Ramping up rapid response social media attacks on Trump’s candidacy: CREDO has been engaged in relentless rapid response via our social media channels to react to and proactively shape the media narrative concerning Trump’s fascist candidacy. For example, when the traditional media engaged in unfair attacks on Sec. Clinton following her bout with pneumonia during the week of 9/11, we immediately sprung into action. We deployed rapid-response graphics that gained immediate viral traction. For example, this graphic resulted in more than 23,000 shares and 12,000 likes and reached an audience of more than 3 million people on Facebook. Similarly this graphic, which we posted the day after The New York Times published a bombshell report on Trump’s taxes resulted in over 43,000 shares and 7,500 likes, reaching an audience of more than 4 million people. Overall, since Trump received the Republican nomination, CREDO’s anti-Trump content has been shared well over 100,000 times and generated a reach of more than 20 million.
Engaging members in battleground states: CREDO is executing a plan to engage our members in key battleground states through strategic partnerships with allies. Highlights of our electoral engagement include:
- Partnering with Working America: CREDO is teaming up with Working America Coalition, AFL-CIO’s political arm, to recruit our members to participate in grassroots voter-engagement programs in key battleground states. During the last few remaining weeks leading up the election, we will be sending geo-targeted emails in key cities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Missouri urging our members to join local canvassing and phone-banking events to stop Trump.
- Working with NextGen Climate to recruit volunteers: CREDO is working closely with NextGen Climate’s organizers to help them recruit volunteers to phone-bank by sending emails to tens of thousands of our members in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa and North Carolina.
- Campaigning to beat Sheriff Joe Arpaio #bAZtaArpaio: Immigration activists in Arizona have been gearing up to defeat Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is nationally notorious for his bigotry against Latino immigrants and his role as one of the leading figures of the extreme right-wing’s racist birther movement. Polls show that Arpaio may be vulnerable this November. Beating him at the ballot box will make a major national statement against the right-wing’s racist immigrant bashing. That is why CREDO is working with the #bAZtaArpaio campaign, which will combine GOTV, protest and community organizing to defeat Arpaio. CREDO made a $15,000 contribution to the campaign and is also mobilizing our Arizona members to engage in canvassing, phone-banking and organizing events.
- Campaigning for ballot initiatives to stop the NRA: CREDO is working closely with our allies at Everytown to engage our members in helping pass important gun control initiatives. Both measures close important loopholes in each state’s background checks process in order to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous felons, domestic abusers and people whose mental illness puts themselves or others in danger. The NRA is pushing back hard in each state. Victories will not only make Maine and Nevada safer, but also show that the NRA is not an unstoppable political force and help chip away at their chokehold on state legislatures and Congress.
Boosting voter engagement and fighting back against voter suppression
We are also engaging our members to boost voter engagement and to stop voter suppression. We would be remiss not to mention the special role of our customers. CREDO Mobile and CREDO Long Distance customers have stepped up, via CREDO’s donations program, to directly support cutting-edge and effective organizations dedicated to boosting voter turnout and also fighting back against right-wing efforts to engage in voter suppression. Our efforts have included:
- Supporting organizations dedicated to voter engagement: In 2016, CREDO customers have stepped up to support key organizations dedicated to voter engagement and protecting voting rights. Our customers have already donated more than $240,000 to Project Vote, the Voter Participation Center, the Brennan Center for Justice and Wellstone Action Fund. CREDO customers will also donate tens of thousands of dollars in early November to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. These organizations have deployed crucial programs to ramp up voter registration targeting communities of color and are fighting back against voter suppression and intimidation efforts.
- Educating the public about voter suppression: In late September, CREDO collaborated with the Brennan Center for Justice to produce a short video about right-wing attacks on voting rights and what people and courts are doing to fight back. The short video, which is narrated by Brennan Center President Michael Waldman, reached more than 116,000 people within four days of its release.
- Making it easy for CREDO members to register and check their registration: CREDO partnered with Fight for the Future to send our members to Hello! Vote, a simple tool that makes it easy for people to register to vote, check their registration or help their friends register via text message.
- Fighting to stop voter suppression and intimidation: CREDO has run several advocacy campaigns to fight back against voter suppression and voter intimidation efforts. In the spring, more than 110,000 CREDO members signed our petition calling on the Election Assistance Commission not to allow Kansas, Alabama and Georgia to require proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. The EAC didn’t heed our call, but its decision was subsequently slapped down by a federal appeals court. In August, the Trump campaign began laying the groundwork for a massive voter intimidation campaign by rolling out an effort to recruit “Trump Election Observers” to “Stop Crooked Hillary From Rigging This Election.” More than 75,000 CREDO members elevated media scrutiny of Trump’s voter intimidation effort and pressured the DOJ to intervene by signing a petition calling for an investigation.
To sum it up: CREDO is working against a political environment that contributes to not only Trump’s campaign, but also the growing epidemic of conservative racism, Islamophobia, sexism and more. We are highlighting Trump’s extreme rhetoric and dangerous conflicts of interest and forcing everyone from other Republicans to major corporations to take a stand for or against it. Our ImNotVotingForTrump.com site attacks both Trump and the hateful ideology of Trumpism. We are providing a necessary counterweight to the legions of angry, conservative voices that dominate conversations online and attempt to silence media organizations that expose Trump’s words and callous lies. Our work in battleground states supports the amazing work of strong allies building for the long-term while mobilizing progressives in an election year. By fighting voter suppression, we recognize that this is both a tactic Republicans will rely on this year and one of the ways powerful elites have sought to undermine democracy in America.