A new strategy for persuading voters: listen carefully. And don't hurry.

In an age of mass texting, automated phone calls, emailing and 280-character social media posts, canvassing seems out of step with modern...


In an age of mass texting, automated phone calls, emailing and 280-character social media posts, canvassing seems out of step with modern politics – a kind of slow movement. food for all activists. In typical campaign work, canvassers knock on doors with the intention of making a voter speak for a minute or two. In deep canvassing, the idea is to exchange stories – in this case, experiences with the police – and to develop empathy for anyone who thinks differently.

And while many modern campaigns left and right are designed to engage people who already agree on issues, the in-depth solicitation aims to preach well outside the choir or even the congregation, to those whose they would have to change their minds to support a given policy or candidate.

Minneapolis is an important test case for those keen to bring in-depth appeal to communities across the country. Envisioning tens of thousands of people trained to speak with people who disagree with them, they aim not only to convince converts of politics, but to help restore voter confidence in democracy.

“We are in a time when a lot of people think the opposition is the bogeyman,” said Steve Deline, whose New Conversation Initiative has worked with teams to conduct in-depth investigations into climate, immigration, prison reform and other issues. “It gives people the space to share what they are feeling and experiencing, and not just to tell them they are wrong, but rather to access a shared place that is relatable and human. “

Proponents argue that in polarized times, the strategy can be used to persuade those who have yet to embrace sweeping incremental changes on issues such as immigration, transgender rights and policing. Knocks on doors often lead to conversations that can last up to half an hour and often leave both the canvasser and the voter helpless and more open.

“Progressives have superpower right now, and it’s bringing a big idea into the national conversation like never before,” said George Goehl, director of People’s Action, which forms liberal groups like Minnesota. “But we believe that in order to really cross the finish line, you have to be in conversation with people who don’t agree with you.”

The work is both laborious and expensive. Training canvassers takes hours. The vast majority of voters never even open their doors, and those who disagree most strongly are often the least likely to speak to a stranger at their doorstep. In Minneapolis, a city of 2.9 million people, about 60 volunteers and staff reached only 2,400 voters after visiting 6,900 homes and making 49,000 phone calls.

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Newsrust - US Top News: A new strategy for persuading voters: listen carefully. And don't hurry.
A new strategy for persuading voters: listen carefully. And don't hurry.
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