Radio Free Resistance is proud to publish transcripts of the “10 Questions” series by @CaptainsLog2O18
10 Questions with David Yankovich [Click here for original thread.]
CL: Welcome to tonight's exiting segment of #10Questions with #BlueWave campaign expert extraordinaire @DavidYankovich Thank you for sharing your time with us this evening David, #TheResistance is hyped for all upcoming elections & #Midterms2018 So let's begin, how's it going amigo?
DY: Hey, thanks for having me. Everything is great. I am seeing excitement in the party and, for the first time in a while, hope. I saw a lot of great questions on here; excited to answer as many as we can.
CL: We'll see how many we can fit in. First, I want to say bravo on the Doug Jones campaign! I think I speak for all #TheResistance in expressing our sincere gratitude. Can you tell us what it was like when the final votes finally came in and the celebration began?
DY: Thanks, that race taught me so much. It was such a team effort across the board and we had an absolutely inspiring candidate in Doug Jones. The final votes coming in was like watching the end of a Rocky movie. That type of adrenaline and hope. When AP called it, I got choked up. We were a few floors up and about 100 yards from the ballroom when CNN called it and the screaming was so loud, the paintings on the walls rattled. We kind of instinctively made our way down to the room, it was pure chaos and just hugging and appreciating the moment.
CL: That is awesome! Everybody celebrated that night! Before we get into strategies that helped pave the way, I just gotta ask, I love the pic you took right after the Doug Jones speech, but is that Bob Barker in between Doug and his wife? I swear it looks just like him!
DY: Haha! That was actually the last pic I took on the campaign. It wasn’t Bob Barker, though. I feel a little disappointed. I mean, when Trump won, all through that moment, I had experienced everything with #TheResistance, but that one I couldn’t comprehend how big it was outside. The last tweet, “Thank you ALABAMA!!” And then when I looked five minutes later it had over 100k retweets. I knew twitter must be going insane. I missed the celebration here.
CL: It was glorious! But let's get down to business. Can you discuss the strategies that helped the campaign? There was a ton of grassroots on the ground in Alabama, the Dems helped, but there was also a huge social media presence at work. Was this all part of a well-designed plan?
DY: I can’t get into all the strategies, but social media was most definitely a big part of the plan. We ran a social media program in ways never really done in campaigns before and truly empowered grassroots digital supporters and looped them into our messaging. As Joe Trippi talked about, there was a huge bot army against us that was pounding thousands of tweets a minute out- we had to counter that and our volunteer teams really stepped up and helped combat that, even though nobody knew it was happening. That engagement was critical. Alabama grassroots was amazing and they absolutely changed the debate and shaped the stories that were happening by engaging. Our national supporters championed Doug and pushed the message out. Everyone was looped in and on message.
CL: I recall twitter suspending thousands of fake accounts.
From @TuscaloosaDems "How do we use social media for local races like we did for Doug? Which components should we keep at a scaled down level, which are too expensive or labor intensive for those without a campaign staff?"
DY: First @TuscaloosaDems was there helping every step of the way in Alabama- Thank you! Everything we did in Alabama was cost effective and mostly free. Any candidate can use that playbook! Digital ads may need to be scaled back a bit. When speaking of local races, Facebook is important. Twitter is national, Facebook is local. The biggest key is to find your influencers and super volunteers and digitally coordinate and allow your volunteers to have freedom to create. How many memes were our supporters making? My biggest thing was to not stifle positive creativity and they didn’t let us down. From Pumpkins with Jones face, amazing gifs and memes, to tweet storms- we coordinated a lot, but there was a lot of trust. [See tweet for visuals.] To answer your question, take what we did and shrink it down. Also, utilize email lists for local races. That is huge as well. Most of all, don’t be boxed in. Be creative and be bold.
CL: That is great info, Twitter national, Facebook local, and any positive promotion is good promotion by #TheResistance, @IndivisibleTeam accounts, local Dem orgs, and all others. I remember you laughing at my Doug Jones meme. Do the TweetStorms help out with the donation aspect?
DY: I loved the creativity! TweetStorms help in a few ways. First, they ensure the analytics keep the candidate trending. Second, they help with donations, and third, they are a way for EVERYONE to be engaged and excited, no matter where they live. Near the end, we did them daily. I coordinated a ton with the tweet stormers. It’s also a great way to reach new people learning about your campaign. It may not have won us the election, but no one thing did. It was all a bunch of moving parts that added up.
CL: Understood; we all play our part and are happy/motivated to help.
DY: Find the candidate that you believe in the most, that represents your interests the most, and find 10 friends. Start a DM room, start a Facebook group, gather emails. Digitally organize to action. Pick a message of the day and help get it out. Equally as important- your candidate may not win the primary, even after believing and working hard. Don’t say “screw it, I’m staying home”! Find those backing the candidate that won and get your ass back to work and help. Dems need to put pride aside and get D’s elected or we get Trumps. Look at Randy and me. I stepped aside for him with the full expectation that those supporting me would do the right thing and they did. Dems need to be united in the face of uncertainty, we need to lock arms. We also need to understand we won’t always agree 100% of the time.
CL: Wow David So very important and I am so glad you mentioned that division after primaries is unacceptable and I truly respect your dedication to the @IronStache campaign to defeat Paul Ryan. Everybody wants to know, are you going to be helping out with his campaign directly?
DY: That was an easy decision. Randy stepped into the race with an amazing and dynamic video. I ran against Ryan because I knew SOMEONE had to do something to beat him. Randy WILL beat him. I am committed to helping him in any way that he needs, at any time. This division I see everywhere is so destructive. When Randy and I had dinner the night before I left the race, I talked about that and we decided to be united. I told him to call on me in any capacity and I’ll be there. I also told him we should have taco trucks.
CL: That's what I'm talking about! And it leads me to my next question: What advice do you have for current #BlueWave candidates trying to get their names out there? Websites are great, but they need the volunteers and signed petitions to get them on the ballot and they need crucial donations.
DY: First advice is what Doug Jones said to me in my first meeting with him. He gave me his purpose for running. Know why you are there. Know what you bring to the table. Know who you are representing. Know your purpose beyond “I want to get elected”. Now that you know your purpose, you need your “kitchen cabinet”. These are friends that will back you up no matter what and have your best interest in mind. This should be 3-4 people who will be your real advisers, the ones who aren’t impressed when you’re on tv and don’t want money. To get your name out there, you need to have things to say in ways that aren’t regurgitated talking points. What message do you want to send? Craft it in a way that relates to real people and in ways that haven’t been said 1000 times before. Be original and people will listen. The last thing is to find local influencers and volunteers who will help you grow your network. Start creating content that people will want to share. If you know your purpose, have a trusted team, original messaging, and you begin building a network, it will grow quickly.
CL: Well said. Many members of #TheResistance already have Democratic Members of Congress representing them but they are still phone banking, donating, doing the #PostcardsToVoters to help voter turnout. How important are these missions to #BlueWave candidates in Red districts?
DY: I don’t want to discount any activities that bring attention to candidates. Red districts need support like we did for Jones. We can’t invade these areas with outsiders and expect to make an impact. We need to support those inside the districts and listen to their needs. I don’t have any reliable statistics for postcards to voters, but I like them, especially when they are handcrafted and thoughtful. Sometimes phone banking can be problematic if voters in the district feel like outsiders are invading. Check with the Campaign first. Obviously donating helps a ton; that helps the campaign organize and get the message out. The #BlueWave is a real thing. Jones proved any district, any place is possible. All these things are huge to blue dots in red spaces, but vocally support them and push on social media. These missions are the difference between winning and losing for Dems running in red districts. All of them. There aren’t any sure-fire things that win. Everything matters. Give everything you can. Donate, spread awareness, volunteer, help push the message in any way you can.
CL: You are dropping some major knowledge but I'd be remiss if I didn't squeeze a few more questions in from one of your biggest fans/supporters @morethanmySLE "What are the most effective ways to advocate for healthcare and protect the ACA/Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security?"
DY: First, love @morethanmySLE and I can’t possibly give better advice than he could on this topic. He spends a lot of his time in hospitals and at doctor’s offices and spends the rest advocating for people sicker than he is. Definitely inspirational. #TheResistance has done a terrific job of digitally organizing and jamming phone lines to fight for healthcare. Someone needs to step up with an IE or PAC based on digital organizing to collect emails and coordinate with everyone so we can be more effective. I see a gap there. Last, share your stories. Share them via video, tweets, messages, emails. It matters. It makes you less of a number, it makes you human, and it helps us all come together. Share your stories and force them to look in the eyes of those they are hurting.
CL: Wise words David, I love me some @morethanmySLE too.
DY: A lot of friendly faces, @Robyn_Resists is pretty amazing as well. I can’t say what I am up to next yet, but it’s big, and it’s going to involve everyone in #TheResistance to really engage for 2018. I will tell you I’m not running, so don’t start that up. Lol. I want to put another caution up. 2018 is the line of no return. If the GOP keeps control, we are really in trouble. We have to dig deep, get past divisiveness, and really be together that the GOP needs to be stopped. Your candidate may not be your favorite, but fight for them.
CL: My sentiments exactly David. I want to again thank you for your time and everything you've shared tonight. Appreciate you. This has been a great honor to interview you. If there's anything you'd like to say to our readers before we end, this is your opportunity to speak freely
DY: Thanks, @CaptainsLog2O18 for the chance to share some of what I’ve picked up. Where do I start? Again, unity not purity. Nobody is perfect, but we need to take the House, the Senate, and some governors races. We aren’t far from a GOP constitutional convention. Get to work. We have some amazing and exciting candidates out there like @IronStache @MikeLevinCA @AmyMcGrathKY @AllisonforMD @JanzforCongress and about 200 more. We need to start really paying attention now. Create rooms to share info and support them. Create Facebook groups. Start organizing. Men, you’re slacking big time. Women are making 86% of phone calls to congress and donations to candidates. This is their time for sure and we should be supporting them in a much stronger way than we are now. Silence and inaction is an insult to what they are doing. Last and most important as final words- we may win in 2018, we may win again in 2020 but we can never be inactive again. We need to stay this active for our entire lives, we can’t slack, we can’t rest, this world is ours to create and shape it, this is our moment. Thank you all.
CL: I hope everybody has enjoyed this segment as much as I have. Thank you to everybody choosing to making a difference. I am humbled & enthusiastic by the words @DavidYankovich dropped tonight! Please check out http://DavidYankovich.com and support his efforts. Much love y’all. Kirk out
Follow Captain Kirk on twitter @CaptainsLog2O18