WASHINGTON -- Two of the top progressive groups in politics are teaming up for what their leaders say is a historic effort to aid President Barack Obama's reelection campaign.
MoveOn.org Political Action, the 7 million-member liberal advocacy group, and Workers' Voice, the super PAC arm of the 12 million-member labor union AFL-CIO, will announce on Tuesday morning a joint get-out-the-vote venture for this and future campaigns.
"This is a major partnership," said Michael Podhorzer, executive director of Workers’ Voice. "Our goal was to make this as broad a movement as possible and go well beyond the traditional union universe. This is a major step in that direction. ... We are going to be contacting millions of people and we will see as this develops how potent this is. It hasn't been done on this scale before by independent groups."
The joint effort is yet another indication that Democratic groups are banking heavily on grassroots operations to nullify a major and expanding cash advantage enjoyed by conservatives backing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. In the past, both MoveOn.org and the AFL-CIO have been big players in the television advertising game, using member donations to create vaunted political war chests. They have flexed their political muscle on the ground as well. But the designs for the 2012 alliance are to make grassroots efforts the focal point.
"Our voice is not nearly as loud in television advertising as it once was, but we really see power in mobilizing our members," Adam Ruben, political director of MoveOn.org Political Action, said in an interview. "One of the reasons to partner with Workers' Voice is that they bring the resources of the labor movement, which includes physical infrastructure all across the country. They have labor hall staffs and organizers all across the swing states. ... They bring a lot of their own expertise in how to do labor targeting. We bring our own expertise in how to reach voters, communication and online organizing and how to mobilize our 7 million members."
The partnership between the two progressive powerhouses won't require additional staffers or the construction of a new entity. Instead, leaders of the groups insisted they will share voter contact data and store information in a shared database.
According to Eddie Vale, a spokesman for Workers' Voice, the groups already have identified 14,000 worksite and canvass coordinators. That's "the most we've ever had, and the earliest they've been ready," Vale said. The goal is to mobilize some 400,000 volunteers by Election Day. They won't just be in swing states. MoveOn and Workers' Voice said they hoped to use micro-targeting data to allow members in non-competitive states to make personalized pleas to voters in locations that carry more electoral significance. The goal is to make 1.5 million calls to recruit additional volunteers.
"It starts right now because the election is getting closer," said Ruben. "We also see the Republican convention as an opportunity to talk to swing voters. ... We feel like talking with them in sync with the GOP convention is an important strategy to minimize the bounce that they might get."
While 2012 is the immediate focus of the two groups, the larger design is to affect races beyond Obama's. Podhorzer argued that in a post-Citizens United era, where the contributions of even the large unions can be matched by the giving of a few billionaires, groups like Workers' Voice and MoveOn.org have to build a sustainable model for campaigns.
"Our ethos is to invest in activities that last beyond the 30 seconds the ad is on the TV," Podhorzer said. "And one of the goals here is to make activism a renewable resource."
READ THE FULL MEMO BELOW:
Birth Certificate -- "Born In The USA"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/27/obama-birth-certificate-r_n_854248.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(April 27, 2011) --</strong></a> The White House <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/04/27/president-obamas-long-form-birth-certificate" target="_hplink">released</a> President Barack Obama's "long form" birth certificate, adding documentation to a longstanding discussion over his ability to serve as commander in chief. "We do not have time for this kind of silliness," Obama said. "We have better stuff to do. I have got better stuff to do. We have got big problems to solve." (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Osama Bin Laden Killed -- "Tonight, Tonight"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/01/osama-bin-laden-dead-killed_n_856091.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(May 1, 2011)</strong></a> -- In a televised address to the nation, Obama announces that Osama bin Laden is dead. His death was the result of a U.S. operation launched today in Abbottabad, Pakistan, against a compound where bin Laden was believed to be hiding. "[T]oday's achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people," Obama proclaimed. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images)
Debt Ceiling Deal -- "Gold On The Ceiling"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/02/obama-debt-ceiling-deal-jobs_n_916285.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(Aug. 2, 2011) --</strong></a> After the Senate passed a bill to raise the debt limit, Obama pleaded with Congress to shift their attention to jobs. "I will urge them to immediately take some steps -- bipartisan, common-sense steps -- that will make a difference; that will create a climate where businesses can hire, where folks have more money in their pockets to spend, where people who are out of work can find good jobs," he said. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)
Don't Ask Don't Tell -- "Don't Stop Believin'"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/20/barack-obama-dont-ask-dont-tell-repeal-statement_n_971662.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(Sept. 20, 2011) --</strong></a> As the ban on gays serving in the military came to an end, Obama hailed the fresh start, celebrating the fact that "patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love." (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
Iraq War To End -- "Homeward Bound"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/21/obama-iraq-troop-withdrawal_n_1024108.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(Oct. 21, 2011) --</strong></a> Obama announced that all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by 2011, fulfilling a promise that dated back to his campaign. "As a candidate for president, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end," Obama said. "So today I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year." (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Singing Al Green's "Let's Stay Together"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/20/obama-al-green-apollo-theater_n_1218070.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(Jan. 20, 2012) --</strong></a> During a fundraiser at Harlem's historic Apollo Theater, Obama delivered a memorable musical message to his donors. With Rev. Al Green in attendance, Obama sang part of Green's hit song "Let's Stay Together," drawing strong applause from the crowd.
Singing Robert Johnson's "Sweet Home Chicago"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/21/obama-sings-sweet-home-chicago_n_1292576.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(Feb. 21, 2012) --</strong></a> Days after his Al Green rendition, Obama flexed his vocal chords again with a hometown favorite. The East Room of the White House had its blues fix filled when the president started swinging "Sweet Home Chicago."
Gay Marriage -- "Can't Fight This Feeling"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/09/obama-gay-marriage_n_1503245.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(May 9, 2012) --</strong></a> In a sit-down interview with ABC's Robin Roberts, Obama explained his evolution on the issue, affirming his support for gay marriage. "[A]t a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married," he said.
Immigration -- "With Arms Wide Open"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/15/obama-immigration-order-deportation-dream-act_n_1599658.html " target="_hplink"><strong>(June 15, 2012) --</strong></a> The Obama administration addressed America's immigration issue, announcing that it will halt deportations and grant work permits to young individuals eligible for Dream-Act benefits. "They pledge allegiance to our flag," Obama said. "They are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper."(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Health Care Reform -- "Beautiful Day"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/28/supreme-court-health-care-decision_n_1585131.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(June 28, 2012) --</strong></a> After weeks of speculation that Obama's signature piece of legislation could be overturned, the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate is constitutional. "It should be pretty clear that I didn't do this because it's good politics," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/28/obama-health-care-ruling_n_1632953.html" target="_hplink">Obama said</a>. "I did it because it's good for the country." (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)