We won. Congratulations to everybody involved in the victories. It was so exciting to see new progressive tools emerge to actively try to help organize and get our voters to the polls. In addition, for the first time in a long time, the DNC personally deployed new tools in a non-Presidential year: we worked to activate people’s social relationships through Voter Circle, we had software engage with people to get them to vote or to volunteer through Resistbot and Grove AI, we measured voter sentiment through Qriously, and numerous other iterations and smaller deployments in the field.
However, the DNC Tech team wants to take a step back. We need to make sure that we, as a movement, are taking a measured approach of testing out new hypotheses and actively monitoring our new tools and tactics. We want to figure out what works and what doesn’t, add value to campaigns and widely distribute our learnings. As a unified movement, we need to be able to collectively measure, analyze, and iterate. Imagine if we used that knowledge to work together to ensure our campaigns, all the way down to school board, have the best tools to win.
We were excited to actively vet tools, then coordinate to get them into the hands of state parties and campaigns this election. Everybody is strapped for time, so we wanted to save time for the campaigns by doing this work up front. To help with requirements gathering, we invited the developers of some of the best tools (both new faces and veterans) to a “pitch-a-thon” at the last DNC meeting — in doing so, we were able to connect these tools with the progressive ecosphere that would be using them. In turn, we were able to ensure the builders of the tools were receiving real-time feedback from the veterans in the field on what will work or what more we need to learn.
When in the field, it is essential that we take a scientific and engineering-centric approach to tool deployment; we need to be always measuring the efficacy of everything that we are doing. We want to ensure we are always promoting and deploying the tools and services that give us the biggest “bang for our buck,” because we want our campaigns and candidates to spend their time and money wisely. To do that, we need to set ourselves up for purposeful learning in the field.
But, we’re mindful that learning in the field isn’t free. We know that campaigns are always going to be resource-limited, and may not have the bandwidth to facilitate these learnings themselves. The DNC Tech team wants to make sure that new tools are tested without burdening campaigns. To that end, we were excited to fill gaps, with our own people and resources, so as to not suck oxygen away from the campaign but still be able to learn as much as we can. We feel learning is so important that we are driving and investing in these tests with our own resources behind it.
All that said, we’re anxiously awaiting the data that we need to analyze what we learned from this week — both good and bad — because every bit of information is essential to our success as a party in future elections. When we finish that analysis, we’re going to be sharing it far and wide with the progressive ecosphere.
And then, finally, when we have clear recommendations for tools, we want to deploy them to “upgrade” campaigns. As part of deployment, in some cases, we want to lend our position at the DNC to bring surrogates to the table to drive and amplify the reach of these tools. Through Twitter alone, we were able to get the tools mentioned above in front of millions of people.
We know it’s natural to have anxiety about moving away from the tactics we have used in elections in years past. But we are at a crossroads: we need to be developing and testing out new tactics based on the world we live in today. And there is so much new technology at our disposal. We’re proud to be at the forefront of building out the progressive tech ecosystem and we look forward to continuing our work to deploy technology to connect with, engage, and persuade voters to win elections from the school board to the Oval Office — in 2017, 2018, 2020, and onward.
We want your help in 2018 races. If you are part of the progressive tech ecosystem, and you want to get into 2017 and 2018 races, please reach out! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to to talk with you.
We need everyone to pitch in; we’ve got elections to win.