Technology will be key to mobilizing the Black vote in 2018
By Roger Caldwell
Special to the Outlook
As a child growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s, I don’t understand millennials’ fixation on texting, and their spending hours on other social media platforms. I am engaged with the internet, and I spend limited time on Facebook, but I am somewhat lost when trying to understand all the other platforms and new technologies.
“The internet is the largest community in history – as big as the global population in 1960’s. It crosses every border and culture. And enough people are connected that the internet has become a planetary infrastructure for communication and collaboration,” says Dex Torricke-Barton – writer at the Medium.
It is obvious that technology brings people together, and it is helping to optimize communication through social media.
“Texting and chatting are new and allows people all over the world to interact and bond easily and freely. Messaging allows for communication where it is convenient and does not require instant back and forth like verbal communications,” says blogger Eric Miller.
In 2017, Blacks in America must utilize new, innovative forms of organizing and technology to connect with millions of Black voters to get them engaged and excited about politics. Without spending large amounts of money, the Color of Change PAC contacted more than 200,000 Black voters in Philadelphia, and helped elect civil rights attorney, Larry Krasner, as the city’s District Attorney.
“In Philadelphia, Larry Krasner was considered a long shot when he entered the race, despite having a history of defending activist from groups like Black Lives Matter, Occupy, and Color of Change PAC. Our groundbreaking peer to peer texting program enables volunteers to personally contact thousands of potential voters with ease by text messaging. And it’s getting results,” says Arisha Michelle Hatch – Color of Change PAC.
More than 100 volunteers sent out over 200,000 text messages urging Black voters in Philadelphia to show up and vote. Larry Krasner won his race, and it is phenomenal what can happen when masses of Black folks are engaged in voting when using texting technology.
These political texting campaign events are called text-a-thons, and Color of Change is hoping to use this same system in Georgia at their special election. The race is essentially tied, and many Black voters may not have information about the election, polling places, dates and times they will be open.
With only $25,000, Color of Change would be able to train, and host several text-a-thons in the Georgia Congressional district with a focus on the Black communities. If 60 percent of registered Black voters are educated with texting and show up the day of the special election, Democrats will probably win.
Political texting is not new because Bernie Sanders and other candidates used it when they were running for president in 2016. Bernie Sanders was one of the most successful candidates when he used texting to connect to 50,000 supporters in three or four hours.
“The killing app for the 2016 presidential campaign is not an app at all. It is not even new. Texting – that 1990s-vintage technology-has suddenly become a go to vehicle for presidential campaigns when they need to get a message out as widely and quickly as possible, and with confidence that it will be read,” says Nick Corasaniti of The New York Times.
All Black political organizations, Black politicians, and Black churches must be educated, and engaged in the technology of texting. Mobilizing and organizing the Black community with texting will educate and help get the community to vote. Texting is private/personal and most people will read texts on their mobile devices.
Trump has 29 million followers on his twitter feed, and it has revolutionized the way candidates communicate with their supporters. When I participated in “Get Out The Vote” (GOTV) campaign events, there were telephones. When I go to GOTV campaign events today, there are laptops and smart phones.
Digital data and technology are changing campaigns and political movements, and moving political analysis to political action. Tweets and texting are changing the landscape of campaigning, and revolutionizing political communication.