A Democratic group is launching what it says is the largest-ever digital advertising push to register new voters – including tools designed to make it easier for active progressives to sign up their friends – ahead of November’s midterm elections.
The edgy, Donald Trump-bashing $3 million campaign is by Acronym, a progressive nonprofit launched last year by veteran digital strategist Tara McGowan to help narrow the advantage Republicans had built in digital capacity.
Dubbed “Knock the Vote,” its logo features a silhouette of the President’s head being punched.
The campaign is nationwide, targeting the 36 states that allow online voter registration, with a heavy focus on Arizona, Florida and Georgia – three swing states with large populations of unregistered but eligible voters, many of them young minorities.
It is launching Monday, a day ahead of National Voter Registration Day.
McGowan, an Obama reelection campaign veteran who directed Priorities USA’s $42 million digital effort in 2016, said the voter registration campaign is an effort to seize on the Democratic-leaning electorate’s increased enthusiasm and engagement.
“It’s going to be the thing that pays dividends for election cycles to come, if we can get more voters on the rolls,” she said.
In addition to unregistered voters, the effort targets particularly active Democrats who are often ignored in advertising pushes because campaigns assume their votes are certain, giving them a way to “multiply their vote,” McGowan said.
It includes an Acronym-developed tool to check friends’ voter registration status by entering their names, cities and states without downloading an app, and offers a free t-shirt to those who ask five unregistered friends to vote. The idea, McGowan said, is that in registering new voters, the “messenger matters a lot more than message.”
The campaign targets social media platforms like Snapchat, Facebook and YouTube. One six-second video features a fist punching the words racists, sexists and a**holes, and then Trump’s head, before directing viewers to www.knockthe.vote. Another image features Uncle Sam jabbing Trump in the eye.
Among the edgier elements of the campaign are videos in which elderly voters claim credit for Trump’s election and mock young people for failing to show up to vote.
The campaign comes two weeks after Acronym, along with the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, launched a $10 million digital effort to back 75 Democrats running for state legislative seats.