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A voter in Landsdowne, Pennsylvania opens her door to a canvasser during the 2020 election campaign. (Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images)

New Deep Canvassing Campaign for 2022 Aims to Bolster Progressive Power in Congress

"Democrats backed themselves into a corner a long time ago when they began sacrificing bold action for marginal wins," said People's Action. "Our 2022 strategy will finally kick this habit."

Julia Conley

Pledging to connect deeply with voters and push 2022 congressional candidates to embrace bold policies, the national grassroots organization People's Action on Tuesday launched a new campaign aimed at boosting progressive power in next year's U.S. midterm elections.

Rise Up 2022 is modeled on the campaign People's Action led during the 2020 election in which the group, partnering with its member organizations across the country, employed "deep canvassing" to engage with voters—a method, as Common Dreams reported last year, that's been proven to be more than 100 times effective in persuading undecided voters than typical door-knocking campaigns.

"Deep canvassing is one of the most proven and durable forms of persuasion and is far more effective than other forms of persuasion employed by traditional political campaigns," People's Action said. "Deep canvasses are candid, two-way conversations where canvassers ask voters to share their relevant, emotionally significant experiences and reflect on them aloud." 

In swing districts across Arizona, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and other states, People's Action campaigners plan to hold listening sessions in which candidates will open the floor to constituents and hear their experiences and concerns, deep canvassing campaigns focused on specific issues and endorsed candidates, and other events and forums. 

"The strategy aims to elect progressives in Democratic primaries and then win general elections in swing districts by using progressive policies to engage voters who are typically shut out of politics and ignored by the Democratic establishment," the group said.

People's Action will begin announcing its endorsed candidates in the fall. 

The group plans to recruit and engage candidates in races including:

  • Pennsylvania's Senate race, in which progressives including state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman have launched campaigns for the seat now held by Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican;
  • North Carolina's Senate election, in which former state Sen. Erica Smith, a Medicare for All and Green New Deal advocate, has entered the race pledging to "use policy to combat income inequality, racial injustice, the climate crisis and so much more"; and
  • New York's 11th congressional district race, in which progressive veteran and organizer Brittany Ramos DeBarros, who calls for "jobs and housing for all," has declared her candidacy.

"Democrats backed themselves into a corner a long time ago when they began sacrificing bold action for marginal wins," said Brooke Adams, movement politics director for People's Action. "Our 2022 strategy will finally kick this habit."

"Using our innovative deep canvassing program, we'll turn out our folks, persuade people not yet with us to support us, and help elect progressive champions by driving issue-oriented campaigns in competitive races," she added. "We're not afraid to roll up our sleeves because to win next year, we need to organize everywhere and everyone."

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