President Tim Phillips, Senate, President Trump discussed on The Takeaway
Something I've been paying close attention to how much campaigning has changed since the beginning of this pandemic. Wasn't that long ago that we were making our way through the Democratic primary packed into town halls, followed campaign buses across his and highways and watched candidates, meet-and-greet voters in restaurants and state fairs. While some of these events can seem a little superficial. They also serve as a way to demonstrate momentum and excitement. Zoom rallies just don't have that same feel. Today we're just two and a half months away from election, and it doesn't feel like there's going to be a way for campaigns and candidates to returned business as usual. That's especially true when it comes to the time honored tradition of door-to-door campaigning. Campaigns rely on these efforts to hear directly from voters. The covid nineteen seems to have made that impossible. Well, not for everyone. Americans for prosperity, a conservative organization founded by David Coke is knocking on doors and swing states in support of Republicans running in Senate and congressional races. I spoke with AF P., President Tim Phillips about their efforts, dozens of groups out there doing TV ads, digital ads, radio ADS. There's almost no grassroots involvement person to person so Americans for Prosperity Action. That's what we focus on door to door individualized texting efforts as well. Telephone efforts from local people not some foam bank in in eight hundred center of thousand miles away. But local folks, and our goal is to reach swing voters. The folks who we believe based on our data analysis are genuinely up for grabs in this election on these individual Senate candidates that we're supporting or at the house level. The congressional level you know you think at a moment where we're in a pandemic where person to person contact now can be seen as so dangerous. You're saying that your volunteers are being that people are opening their doors and not saying, Hey, this is too dangerous. I. Don't feel comfortable doing. We wondered what the response would be. We began carefully testing back in early June. And now we're at full all in with both activists and staff at the doors I've probably knocked on I bet over the last nine weeks probably thirty, four, thirty, five, hundred doors I'm guessing swing voters I may have had I don't know maybe three to five or six refusals based on filling uncomfortable. We follow all social distancing guidelines. Frankly that's very easy to do on door to door. It's easier than almost any other easier than going to Walmart because it's easy to ring the doorbell step back six to eight feet onto the sidewalk and we train our people that so. When someone comes and looks through the peephole or through the glass, you know the see us standing back. Sometimes, it depends on the state. Sometimes, we have a mask on sometimes we have at our hand in case they would rather if accountable with that and as you also mentioned, you're one of the rare groups that's out there doing this. I, was just reading something from. Reuters. About a liberal group called Progressive Turnout Project that suspended its came at saying effort citing a rise in corona virus cases and that there were also complaints from their field staffers saying they felt unsafe. So. Talk to us a little bit about the people that you employ to go door to door and concerns about safety. We ask them up front if they have any concerns or issues, and we offer for them to be able to do telephones because we have you know from home or from field office, they can choose where they want to make the call. So we give them options to still be able to make a difference because people typically. Are In our line of work because they want to make a difference and so we offer them the ability to make calls So they can they can help or to ride out individualized postcards to swing voters with notes that are handwritten notes about why we're supporting our particular candidate and I can tell you at the doors the vast majority I mean, literally ninety nine percent do feel comfortable I think Americans are looking for practical safe ways. To do what is the number one issue when people ask me you've been a of doors what's number one issue politically this year. It's this, how do I get my normal life back but still being safe and defeating this pandemic while also realize that shutdowns having enormous consequences with the increases in deaths of despair that every state is showing at this point from suicide drug overdoses. Recognizing their frankly tough consequences as well to shutdowns. Do you think other groups that are like yours political groups who are out there trying to get their message out to voters are making a mistake by doing it virtually by just doing this through text and phone and zoom? I think every group should do what they think is best. So I would never fill the ability give someone else advice I I know what's wrong right? There's something clearly that you see as you could be doing this right now through text zoom and all, but you but you all choose to go door to door. So. There must be something even before the pandemic. Our polling and focus groups showed us. That Americans were feeling more isolated, and now that we're independent deep into those, those numbers are higher. and. So I do think there is significant benefit. To being able having conversations. That are ya bit more intimate while still being socially distance obviously, we do see value in that. Are Voters. Now, do they want to talk more than they did say in two, thousand, eighteen, twenty sixteen like engage longer in conversations. We do find elevated levels of what we call completions, people who opened the door, and actually you know talk through the questions and answer the questions and have a conversation. Here's what's happening that at least from what I'm seeing these swing voters. They feel profoundly impacted in a deeply personal way by the pandemic. The resultant economic crisis and also by the racial justice and because civil upheaval that we're seeing across the country people in the middle or different, they are not viewing those three happenings through an ideological lens. Now, although they've got to find out way on my kids going to school next week or not a can I go visit my my elderly mom who is living in assisted care center in amy they're more fluid than I've ever seen him. On who they could vote for yes. Yes. There's a view out there that this is a base election at everybody has an opinion of trump or the Republicans or the Democrats, and by the way I think that's true I think almost everyone does have an opinion. But now more than I have seen it in my career. These folks these voters in the middle there fluid that they fill profoundly impacted by all that's happening. They're paying more attention for a sustained period of time more than they ever have at least in my lifetime. And? They do not yet know. How we're doing, they haven't decided yet who's doing a good job who's doing a bad job through this are things looking better. They haven't decided that yet, and so for that reason, they're fluid because the issue in this election I believe is not any one issue. Instead, it's a broader macro level question and it's how do I get my normal life back and which of these candidates out there whether it's for president or down ballot gives me the best chance to get my normal life back. Well, Tim Phillips I really appreciate you taking the time out of. Knocking to come and chat with me. Absolutely. Hope you'll come with amy I. Hope you'll come to see this at some point for yourself. Tim Phillips is the president of Americans for prosperity..