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You Can't A/B Test Your Response to Syria

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, September 4 2013

Senate hearing Sept 3, 2013. Department of Defense Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton.

While Congress wrestles with President Obama's unexpected request for formal legal authorization before he orders airstrikes on Syria, it's been fascinating to watch the country's big online advocacy groups try to figure out their own position on the crisis. Should the US bomb Syria in order to punish Bashar Assad for using chemical weapons on his own people, risking a wider American involvement in the conflict and potentially further destabilizing the region? Or should the US stay out of that kind of direct involvement, even if that risks emboldening Assad and could lead to more frequent uses of chemical weapons in the future? These are just some of the hard questions at stake. And what makes any decision even harder is the fast-moving and relatively unique nature of these events. Even tougher for big e-groups like MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which collectively claim about ten million list members, the Syria crisis isn't an issue that these groups were formed to address. Nor is there an obvious consensus "progressive" position to promote, beyond the one these groups were all touting in the last few weeks (along with many others, including some conservative organizations), which was the need to bring the question before Congress. Some people are strong anti-interventionists, wary of green-lighting another American incursion in the Middle East. Others worry about genocide, and don't want to look the other way when mass killings of civilians take place. Read More

MoveOn.org Endorses Silicon Valley Incumbent Mike Honda

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, August 12 2013

MoveOn Political Action announced Monday that its members have endorsed Silicon Valley's incumbent Democrat Mike Honda. Read More

How "Big Data" And Behavioral Science Powered Progressive Groups in 2012

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Saturday, November 10 2012

An October canvas in Richmond, ViA. Photo: Flickr/AFL-CIO

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The Obama campaign wasn't the only center of data-driven, technology-enabled field work on the left. Groups like MoveOn and the AFL-CIO's super PAC, Worker's Voice, also used the Internet to leverage their understanding of behavioral psychology and user-generated content into a massively scaled persuasion and get-out-the-vote effort. Read More

Was Darcy Burner's Primary Loss a Sign of a Declining Netroots?

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, August 9 2012

As Cyndi Lauper once sang: "Money changes everything."

That's something that everyone can agree on in American politics, but that's about the extent of the agreement. The question is whether the trend in self-financing wealthy candidates and Super PACs is dampening the enthusiasm of the American left this election cycle. Some look at the failure of netroots favorite Darcy Burner's recent bid for Washington State's 1st Congressional District as an example of all that is wrong in political races, and others — those who were involved — say that the circumstances in that particular race were unique, and that larger lessons about the health of the netroots organizing model can't be extracted from the experience.

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This Isn't What Political Air Time Usually Means

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, May 23 2012

MoveOn.org is asking supporters for $150,000 in donations to fly a plane above high-dollar fundraisers for Mitt Romney with "a message that reminds voters how he represents his corporate and 1% donors." MoveOn previously hired a plane to fly over Romney's Liberty University graduation speech with the message "GOP = HIGHER SCHOOL DEBT." Read More

How Online Activists Worked for Years to Change the Face of Student Debt

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, October 27 2011

A protester at a student Occupy march in Boston earlier this month. Photo: Lauren Metter / DigBoston.com Wednesday morning, when the White House announced its official response to an online petition calling on President ... Read More

OccupyWishList Launches, An Online Registry Connecting #OWS Needs and Donors

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, October 25 2011

Here's another interesting online effort that's popped up around the Occupy Wall Street movement: OccupyWishList.org, a simple platform where people who want to give direct support to occupiers in need of things like ... Read More

How to Listen to Your Online Members: Debating the MoveOn Way

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, March 26 2010

If you're a typical online political activist, you probably are on a fair number of email lists, a member of a number of advocacy organizations, and maybe send dues to a few. But how often do you get asked by any of them ... Read More

Right-roots vs Net-roots: Whose Online Donor Base is Bigger?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, March 5 2010

How big are the right-roots? And how do they stack up against the net-roots? I've been asking that question of various people lately, and also looking at some of the metrics available, as both sides of the American ... Read More

MoveOn.org Doing Real-Time Mass Dial-Test of Obama SOTU

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, January 27 2010

MoveOn.org, the five-million member e-organization of progressive activists, is doing something really interesting with its members tonight: thousands of them are going to be participating in a live online dial-test of ... Read More