I am excited to tell you about a new and remarkably effective initiative that could make all the difference in the coming Georgia Senate run-off races. The name of this initiative is Block Power.
We all know that if McConnell continues as the Senate leader, we will have continued gridlock and many of the programs and policy hopes of the Biden/Harris administration will never even get a vote. The House has worked hard to develop and pass some 400 pieces of legislation to help the American people. Almost all of these bills have gone nowhere. They are languishing in the graveyard that is McConnell’s office. Mitch just loves being called the “grim reaper”. He is already being his usual obstructionist self by supporting Trump’s bonkers, unrealistic claim that he not Biden won the presidential election. Hoping Mitch will turn over a new leaf is a fool’s errand. But getting Mitch out of power is possible.
In the upcoming Georgia run-off election, Republicans will argue to Georgia voters that a Republican-led Senate is a much needed check on the Biden administration. Many conservatives fear Biden will be influenced by “crazy” left-wing ideas even though Biden is a centrist and a pragmatist who would never go full lefty antifa or anything close to that. Nonetheless, this argument resonates with Republicans who do not want to spend any money on what they call “entitlements”, a Green New Deal, affordable health care for everyone or “defunding the police” etc. This thinking is the reason our center right country elected Biden but down ballot Republicans did so well. It is next to impossible to counter this thinking with FACTS, and REASON especially in two short months. Most people do not change their minds easily. In fact, most people never ever change their minds at all.
So how can the Democrats win these two Senate seats?
The answer? Turn out!
Whichever side turns out the most voters will win it all and lead in the Senate. It’s that simple.
We can win in Georgia if we turn out more likely Democratic voters. Statewide close to 900,000 eligible black voters didn’t vote in 2016; Trump’s margin of victory statewide in 2016 was 200,000+. In Atlanta alone, 500,000 black voters didn’t show up, just over twice Trump’s statewide margin of victory. Studies have shown that 90% of black men and women vote Democratic when they vote.
So here is the real question: How do Democrats exponentially increase Dem voter turn-out?
Currently, money is pouring into the “usual suspects”: Ossoff and Warnock’s campaigns are getting money and other previously known strategies such as mailing postcards and making calls to encourage voters to register and to vote are being rapidly funded. All of these are helpful, but …
…there is another very smart, researched, and cost-effective group that is underfunded but worth supporting and could be even more effective. Why? Because it is grassroots instead of coming from the “coastal elites” pouring outside money into Georgia.
People really don’t like to be told what to do by outsiders. It can get their backs up and make them LESS inclined to vote the way you hope they will. This is why Block Power is effective.
I first heard about Block Power from Stacey Abrams. She was running for governor in Georgia and I interviewed her for my blog, The Markin Report. Stacey told me that there was a program in the works that would incentivize black people to reach out to low propensity voters in their own neighborhoods who were friends of theirs to mobilize them to register and get out to vote. I didn’t really understand how that would happen when she talked about it with me back then. But now I do. And this project is really cool!
And it works!
Here’s how it works– Block Power trains people living in mainly black neighborhoods to become recruiters of low propensity voters who are friends and neighbors in their “block”. There is no party affiliation. But black voters vote for Democrats in far greater numbers.
Each recruit is shown a big list of low propensity voters living in their community and they search through the list until they find 3 friends. They agree to act as a recruiter to get these 3 friends to register and to vote. There is NO PARTY AFFILIATION. The voter is not told or urged to vote for a specific candidate. These recruiters are trained and paid to do this outreach which incentivizes them to follow through.
These recruiters become what are called “Vote Triplers” because the 3 people they recruit can also earn money by becoming recruiters themselves and getting 3 more friends to register and to vote etc. “Vote Tripling” results in vote ambassadors quickly scaling up the number of voters to overcome their low propensity to vote due to cynicism that their vote matters. Cynicism is rampant in the black community thanks to years of extensive voter suppression. Block Power overcomes that cynicism by getting friends to recruit friends in their communities, mobilizing a powerful movement for change in the process. You get explosive growth of an electorate that is inclined to vote for Dems this way.
Using this system in concert with Stacey Abrams’ New Georgia Project, 500,000 newly minted members of the electorate voted in 2020 that had not voted before. We need to do this again in Georgia for the run-off election on January 5th and scale up even more.
Here is a piece written by the founder of Block Power that appeared in the New York Times in February 2020. It describes how the initiative works and why it works. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/opinion/black-voters-2020-election.html
Here is another description of how it works from my politically super smart friend, Keven Wilder:
Block Power is a powerful scalable relational organizing tool developed by a Karthik Balasubramanian, an IT Howard Professor (self-described data nerd and former Obama digital analyst), to dramatically increase black voter turnout. Block Power’s secret sauce is that the organization recruits ‘voting ambassadors’ to contact 3 friends in the voter rolls to encourage them to vote (vote tripling). These ‘triplees’ in turn recruit three more friends each so that the effort can quickly scale to drive increased minority turnout. Voting ambassadors are paid a nominal amount for recruiting friends to vote and they in turn each recruit more voting ambassadors. Vote tripling has been extensively validated through randomized control trials and has been found to be effective. Block Power is also testing their results to confirm efficacy. Block Power works hand in hand with Stacey Abrams’ New Georgia Project.
We need the largest possible number of voters to come out for Jon Ossoff and Rev.Warnock on January 5th. Block Power is one of the best vehicles I have heard of to get that to happen.
But we can’t wait. Block Power needs our support right now. Time is of the essence.
Voter Registration starts soon and January 5th will be here in no time flat.
Please help the Biden/Harris administration have maximum impact to move our country in the right direction!
Let’s finish what we started with the Biden/Harris win!
A working Senate will make all the difference in how effective the Biden/Harris administration can be as we face down a pandemic, economic devastation, a racial reckoning and climate change!