Microtargeting on a Budget

November 3rd, 2014

There is a relatively new method in American politics for getting out the vote that’s currently all the rage in political circles.  It’s called microtargeting.

Basically, Republicans, Democrats, and their various affiliated friends create databases of voters based on known characteristics that indicate whether or not a person is inclined to ever vote and when they do which party they’re likely to support.  Then on Election Day (and in early voting states before that) both parties work like mad to get every voter humanly possible to the polls who they believe will cast a vote in their favor.

In the beginning, Republicans held the edge in microtargeting but since many young computer whizzes tend to vote Democrat (at least until they’ve made a little money, gained a little sense, or both), the Democrats are currently doing a better job of using microtargeting to their advantage.  When the press reflects on the superior ground game of Obama’s 2008 presidential bid, for example, they’re talking a lot about microtargeting.

Mostly, the aim is to get voters to the polls who aren’t likely to spend time standing in a line to vote if something better comes along.  These are people who probably haven’t been called by Gallup to poll their political preferences.  Instead, these are the voters who shock pundits and political types by turning what looked like a close race into a landslide. In political circles, they’re a highly effective secret weapon.

At Red Girls Salon, we don’t have the resources to develop such a high tech campaign.  Also, we are strictly in the business of sharing our opinions about various issues and not specifically supporting any given political candidate for office. Still, we can exercise our constitutional First Amendment right to say that we support Republican and/or conservative candidates and hope that you do, too.  Given that, we’d like to try our own extremely low budget/low tech form of microtargeting as Election Day approaches.

Remember the childhood game Post Office?

Oops . . . sorry . . . wrong game.  We meant another game from our youth involving mailing letters.

You all know it. Someone sends you a letter in the mail instructing you to copy the letter ten times and mail it out to ten of your friends and if you do this something wonderful will happen to you and if you don’t—well—let’s not go there.  Until you grew up a little and realized that whether you mailed the letters or not, exactly zero would happen one way or the other, likely you followed all the instructions and sent out the letters to ten of your friends.

Our variation of this idea is much more productive and hopefully much less annoying to your family, friends, and likeminded acquaintances.

Here’s what you do.

Make a list of at least ten friends or family members you believe likely to vote for your favorite candidates on Election Day.  To be especially effective, try to think of individuals who you know are registered but whose pattern of voting correlates roughly with a total solar eclipse. They don’t even need to live in your city or state. It would be especially great this time around if they reside in Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alaska, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Kansas, Colorado, Georgia, or Kentucky.

Next, personally contact them and remind them to vote.  If they happen to live nearby, ask them if they need a ride to the polls or if you can babysit their kids while they head out to do their civic duty.  If they live outside your area, you could just text them a reminder along with a copy of this blog post if you like so they’ll know why you’re bugging them to vote.  Then ask them to similarly contact ten of their friends and family. Even if most of them don’t follow through, some will and you know the old saying.

Every vote counts!



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