With the critical midterm elections just weeks away, the Ruthless Podcast invited AFP Action Senior Advisor Emily Seidel on the show to discuss the organization’s record-breaking grassroots and political engagement this election cycle.
Seidel told Ruthless co-host Josh Holmes that AFP Action volunteers have been “laser-focused” on the swing voters who will decide many key races, like the Pennsylvania Senate race, noting that volunteers have already knocked on over 3 million doors around the country and will personally visit 3 million more households by Election Day.
“We’ve been getting in front of them for the past year or so talking about the issues that matter most to them, and then making sure that they understand the choice that they have on who to vote for . . . . It takes a lot of boots on the ground, a lot of dedication.”
Seidel also noted that AFPA’s grassroots organization is at a “bigger scale than we ever have before”:
“In 2020, we were in over 270 races and we reached nearly 60 million voters through those efforts. This year already, federal and state races, we are in about 450. So it is a huge ramp up given what’s at stake in this election: the future of our economy, the future of the country. And that’s what people are responding to. That’s why they’re coming out in droves to be able to do these door knocks, have these conversations with folks in their communities.
“There are a lot of folks doing good work, putting up their TV ads, things like that. There’s only one organization, which is ours, in the country that can reach all of the swing voters at scale. Because we’ve been on the ground in these communities for almost 20 years. And so we’ve got deep reach in the communities. We’ve got a huge dedicated base of activists that give up their nights, give up their weekends, to do this work. And it’s hard work.”
She noted that their polling makes clear that the economy, inflation, and government spending remain the top issue on the minds of swing voters:
“To talk with folks and connect the dots between failed government policies, major inflationary spending that passed and was signed into law over the past 18 months, and the pain that they’re feeling at the gas stations and the grocery store. So that they understand the ramifications of government programs in their everyday lives, and then can also make an informed decision going forward.”
Lastly, Seidel also talked about AFPA’s layered approach to targeting swing voters beyond door-knocking and phone calls because it’s harder than ever to drive a message simply through TV ads:
“We layer that strategy and we reinforce that message through digital ads and through pieces of mail to those specific targeted voters. We’re not going to blast out a bunch of messaging to people. We’re just laser focused on those swing voters because those are those folks who are going to make the difference…. it’s harder and harder to reach people through TV ads. The other thing that we know about swing voters is that they are really skeptical of what they hear in TV ads. They’re skeptical of what they hear from the candidates themselves because they’ve sort of been turned off to politics in recently years. But the people that they still trust are their neighbors.”