Contactless Campaigning becomes the new normal for elections
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - This election season is unlike anything American politics has seen before. With the pandemic still raging, politicians and their supporters are finding creative ways to spread their message, without spreading coronavirus.
Pre-pandemic, Joseph Geevarghese said it was easy to drum up energy at rallies for the progressive organization Our Revolution. Online, it’s a bit more difficult. Geevarghese says making sure people still get excited about a candidate over a Zoom call is “incredibly challenging.”
Live events on Facebook often look like PowerPoint presentations, but Geevarghese says they’re working. “Arguably, we’re probably doing more voter connection than we would’ve been able to do had we just relied on in-person rallies,” he says.
And the dollar signs are adding up. FEC filings show Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden shattered fundraising records last month, taking in $383 million, more than half of that from online donations. The Trump campaign raked in nearly $248 million.
Even celebs are behind the contactless campaigning movement. Oprah Winfrey recently called Texas voters on the phone. Jane Fonda suited up in Spandex to remind people to exercise the vote.
In Michigan, President Trump supporters rallied with a so-called “Trump train” of more than 100 vehicles. Boaters in Maryland flew their flags for the president, too.
But not everyone is adapting to socially distanced campaigning. Scott Frostman, the chair of the Republican party in Sauk County, Wisconsin, says boots on the ground are still the best way to reach voters. “People are gonna be more responsive if they’re given a personal invitation to come to an event than they are when they see a Facebook posting,” he says.
That approach might not sit well with everyone. A recent poll from Politico and Morning Consult found 63% of voters now feel apprehensive opening their door to canvassers.
One expert says just knocking on a door itself doesn’t turn out a voter, it’s having a conversation with that voter by any means that gets them to the polls.
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