Category Archives: California Politics

Opportunity: Will you host a Marshall Ganz Swing Left Academy: Live! training?

From an email by Swing Left Academy

Swing Left AcademyFrom: Saskia at Swing Left Academy <>
Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2018 5:29 PM
Subject: Will you host a Marshall Ganz Swing Left Academy: Live! training?

Host a local event with the legendary organizer and lecturer!

We’re very pleased to share the exciting news that we’ve rescheduled the Swing Left Academy: Live! event with legendary organizer and Harvard University senior lecturer Marshall Ganz for Saturday, August 18th!

Almost 50 volunteers stepped up to be local hosts for our first SLA: Live! event earlier this month and it was a huge success with almost 1,000 participants around the country. So let’s keep the momentum going and make this one even bigger!

Sign up now to host a Swing Left Academy: Live! with Marshall Ganz event for volunteers near you.

Marshall Ganz has been organizing for over five decades, including work alongside Cesar Chavez, and he helped build the innovative organizing model for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. During this powerful live event, he will cover one of the most essential organizing skills, public narrative. Then you’ll see how sharing your personal story impacts and improves every aspect of your work as an activist.

The entire day will be streamed live from Cambridge to living rooms around the country—so volunteers can come together at an event near them to watch, learn, and participate in a series of interactive exercises with fellow activists.

All you need is a comfortable space of any size, a good Internet connection, and a computer with a television or monitor to accommodate your guests. We’ll take care of the rest by providing materials and guidance for hosting a successful event.

Sign up now to host an interactive event:

What: Host a Swing Left Academy: Live! with Marshall Ganz event
When: Saturday, August 18, 12pm – 5pm ET ( 9am – 2pm PT)
Where: Your own home, office, or other suitable venue
Why:  Help local volunteers get schooled in the skills that will help take back the House in November

Part two of this experience is to put Ganz’s teachings to use—by going out and taking action in your local Swing District the next day (or the following weekend). That’s where you’ll see first-hand how sharing your personal story makes all the difference when you’re calling voters and knocking doors.

By hosting an SLA: Live! training you’ll also get to work on your own organizing skills by bringing other volunteers together to participate. Investing in these skills now is how we are going to win in November!

Help us train activists in your area by signing up to host an event now. When you take  this step, you’ll be empowering yourself and others with the critical skills it will take to win back the House.

Can’t wait to see you there!

Saskia at the Swing Left Academy Team

P.S. If you have any questions or want to know more about hosting, feel free to contact our team  at Thanks again and I really hope you can take part in this exciting weekend of action!

Washington Post: What works with reluctant voters

Repost from The Washington Post

How to mobilize reluctant voters

By Melissa Michelson, July 15, 2014
(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Americans of different ethnicities vote at very different rates. Whites and blacks tend to vote more frequently than Latinos and Asians.  Older people and wealthier people vote more frequently than the young and the poor. Increasing turnout among groups that tend to vote at lower rates can not only increase their political power, but also change the outcomes of elections. Indeed, this is a major reason that Democrats are concentrating so much on mobilizing voters who don’t vote in midterm elections.

Could this strategy work?  Is it possible to mobilize people who are otherwise uninterested in voting or reluctant to vote?   We now have good answers to these questions.  People who have not participated much before can indeed be moved to go to the polls.

What really mobilizes these voters is repeated personal contacting. In our book Mobilizing Inclusion, Lisa García Bedolla and I describe 268 get-out-the-vote field experiments conducted repeatedly across six electoral cycles from 2006 to 2008. These field experiments were focused on communities with a history of low participation and were conducted in partnership with non-partisan community-based organizations. Because these experiments randomly assign some voters to be contacted in particular ways and others not to be contacted, we can better know what actually gets people to the ballot box.

Our analysis shows that citizens who haven’t voted much in the past can be inspired by either door-to-door visits or live phone calls. Tellingly, our research shows that such contacts, especially if repeated, can produce habitual voters. Phone banks from which callers contact the same potential voters twice are especially effective in creating committed voters. Door-to-door campaigns also showed strong results, with one such effort increasing voter turnout by more than 40 percentage points. (To be sure, most get-out-the-vote campaigns produce smaller gains.)

Personal contacting works to persuade people to vote regularly even though the interactions do not increase voters’ resources and have little or no impact on their underlying attitudes about public issues. It is the social interaction itself that seems to matter. These interactions appear to change reluctant citizens’ entrenched understandings of themselves as disengaged from the polity. For most Americans – and especially for low-income citizens of color – it is very rare to be contacted for the sole purpose of being urged to vote. When such an unexpected interaction occurs, it can be very meaningful.

Personal contact to encourage voting can be enough to cause many low-income minority people to see themselves anew, as the sorts of people who regularly go to the polls on Election Day. In turn, voting even once can become habit forming, reinforcing self-identification as “a voter” long after the initial conversation with a canvasser. What is more, voter contacts have strong spillover effects within households, boosting participation by others as much as 60 percent.

These field experiments also shed light on tactics that do not work.  Perhaps most interestingly, messages designed to appeal to ethnic or racial solidarities aren’t more effective than general appeals to “civic duty” or other broad concerns.

For example, among African-American voters experiments conducted in cooperation with community organizations using “Green Jobs” or other non-racial issue-based appeals have successfully increased turnout, while another experiment that stressed racial solidarity did not. Among Asian-Americans, appeals that stress ethnic community empowerment have proven no more effective than general messages telling people how to go about voting. Among Latinos, dozens of randomized experiments have effectively mobilized Latino voters with a variety of appeals, although recent work I have done with Ali Valenzuela in California and Texas suggests that appeals to ethnic solidarity can be more effective for Latinos who are less incorporated into the broader American culture and who have stronger ties to their Latino identity.

As candidates, political parties, and interest groups gear up for the 2014 and 2016 elections, recent scholarship shows how to bring reluctant voters to the polls. Largely regardless of the message, personal contact with reluctant voters — even once, but especially repeatedly — can shape the electorate dramatically.

Melissa Michelson is a political scientist at Menlo College and a member of the Scholars Strategy Network.

The election is just 100 days away—let’s get to work!

From an email by
[See also: Swing Left / CA 10 / Josh Harder on this website.]

Date: Wed, Jul 25, 2018 at 10:44 PM
Subject: Fwd: The election is just 100 days away—let’s get to work!

Hey Progressive Democrats of Benicia,

This weekend marks 100 days until the midterm elections. What we’ve accomplished so far has been incredible—and the Big Blue Wave is gaining momentum every day—but to win this fight, we need to keep working hard.

So, if you’ve already signed up for an event in the coming weeks, thank you. If you haven’t: what are you waiting for? This weekend is jam-packed with opportunities to help campaigns in more than 50 swing districts around the country!

Sign up for the event nearest you (click the image – or here – to go to SwingLeft – scroll down to Events and enter your zip code to see nearby events).

Talking to voters is what wins elections. Whether it’s knocking on doors and meeting face-to-face, or joining a group phone bank, every hour you put into connecting with potential voters makes a huge difference. And that’s how we’re gonna flip the House this November.

When we work together, we win!

Ethan, Matt, Michelle, and the Swing Left Team