On the last Saturday in July, in Vista, north of San Diego, over 200 people gathered to rally for the 2018 defeat of Republican Congressman Darrell Issa. Local members of the California Assembly spoke. A caravan of union members from Los Angeles drove down to join local neighbors, 7 Indivisible groups, 7 Democratic Clubs, the county Democratic Party, national civil rights groups, and many more organizations. After the rally, this inspired army of activists walked door-to-door to educate the neighbors on Issa’s voting record (such as his votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act) and register people to vote. The results of the door-to-door outreach came back, with data on these voter interactions entered into a database for organizers to plan future voter outreach based on the day’s progress on performance metrics. It was a successful day of organizing and canvassing, achieved through weeks of communication and coordination by this network of what is now over 100 organizations.
Contrast this shining day with the day back in January when three progressive groups, one not much more than an email list, realized they had each planned separate protests on the same day at Issa’s local Congressional Office. Also in early 2017, direct door-to-door voter outreach was going gangbusters, but it was a mess. Committed volunteers were wasting their precious time by visiting the same houses repeatedly, and there was no process to report back what they were achieving with their field work.