What issues do veterans prioritize?
"Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says" - NY Times.
Phil Ehr (D) is a veteran and former Navy Commander. He's running to represent Florida's first congressional district against the incumbent Matt Gaetz (R). The district is home to the Eglin Airforce Base and has a high concentration of veterans. After a month went by without an official response, Phil's campaign decided to launch a petition drive to demand America stand up to Putin.
How does a campaign pick issues that matter to constituents? And contrast its stance versus its opponent? How can interest and public sentiment on an issue be gauged quickly? How can this interest be converted into engagement and votes?
Veterans want a strong American response to Russia
Google Trends is a free resource that shows which issues are important to people in particular areas. A quick search on "Russian bounties" was a topic of high interest in Walton Beach which is in Congressional District 1 in Florida.
Understanding the issues that matter to voters
Community Analyst is a software app that offers queries on over 15,000 variables. These insights offer campaigns a detailed understanding of their constituents and the issues that are most likely to matter to them. A query confirmed a high concentration of veterans in the district. Okaloosa County, for instance showed that 22.7% of the 146,879 adults were veterans. This map is interactive. Click on it to see the details for each county.
Background on Russian bounties on US soldiers
"American intelligence officials say the G.R.U. was at the center of Moscow’s covert efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. In the months before that election, American officials say, two G.R.U. cyberunits hacked into Democratic Party servers ... In part because those efforts were aimed at helping tilt the election in Mr. Trump’s favor, his handling of issues related to Russia and Mr. Putin has come under particular scrutiny." - NY Times
"At the top of our list of broken institutions is the U.S. Congress, whose Republicans have shown themselves grossly incapable or unwilling to conduct their constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities. They were once a group that military families could count on to strengthen national defense institutions. Now, they sit idly by as President Trump politicizes the military and dismantles the intelligence apparatus meant to protect the troops. Worse, some, such as Florida’s Matt Gaetz and his band of deep-state conspiracists in the House, are busy sowing public distrust in the intelligence community, just like Russia wants." - Miami Herald
How to create a petition campaign:
Phil's team decided to create an online petition drive with Movement.Digital. This let them offer constituents the opportunity to support the call for a strong response to Russia. It also let's them identify potential campaign supporters at the same time. The petition was shared on Twitter with this link: https://campaign.movement.digital/main/RussianBounties
Clicking on the link launches the user's email client with the petition in it already. All a user has to do is add their name/address and press send. The whole process of signing the petition can be done in ten seconds. The petition has already had over 230 retweets and over 600 Likes.
Takeaway: Google Trends, Community Analyst and Movement.Digital
Use resources like Google Trends and Community Analyst to identify the issues that matter to your constituents.
Online petition solutions like Movement.Digital enable you to harness the outrage to bring about change.