Matching Callers with Constituents?
January 23, 2017 5:33 AM   Subscribe

I have a political action idea, and I'd like to know whether it has fatal flaws, or if it already exists. It involves matching up people in these two groups: "Callers" -- Democrats who are willing to call their representatives about political issues, but who live in such solidly blue or red districts that it hardly seems worthwhile. "Constituents" -- Democrats who have more influenceable representatives, but who can't or don't call them.

I've read here and elsewhere that calling ones' representatives is a good way to take action on the issues. I've also read that calling others' representatives isn't as valuable -- though sometimes "Callers" just lie if asked for their zip code.

I was thinking that maybe there could be a group or site where Callers and Constituents could get matched up. Then, a Caller could call an influenceable representative, on behalf of a specific Constituent. (This might involve either stable, 1:1 matches or ad hoc ones that a Caller could grab a bunch of whenever relevant.)

Is this a terrible idea? I was thinking it might be if:
- Calling on behalf of someone specific doesn't make a call from outside the district any more influential. Does it?...
- ...If not, the caller would have to lie about BEING the Constituent, and that would be no better than lying about a zip code. Would it?
- The barriers for Constituents opting in would be no better than those for making the calls themselves. Would they be?
- Other fatal flaws I haven't thought of?

If it's not a terrible idea, do you know of anywhere that something like it is already being done?
posted by daisyace to Law & Government (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
What I see more commonly is callers calling constituents reminding them that X issue is going on in their state and they can voice their opinion by calling their representatives at X number. (Or get out and vote on X ballot action etc).

If the constituent can't be assed to call their rep then it's likely that the rep isn't looking for their support on Election Day.
posted by raccoon409 at 9:07 AM on January 23, 2017


I'm not sure if this already exists in a formal way, or even if this happens commonly already in an informal way, but the Obama Foundation has a nascent "share an idea" feature on their website. If you're not trying to monetize this concept or retain any kind of special ownership of it, and if you're prepared for it to potentially vanish into the ether of this as-yet untested organization, here's how the OF "share an idea" text begins:

What makes a good citizen?

Democracy is all about showing up, diving in, and staying at it. But how? Here at the Obama Foundation, we're just getting started on what good citizenship in the 21st century means.

Your thoughts and ideas will make our Foundation a better, more powerful force for good. We can't wait to hear what you're thinking.

Share your stories with us. Tell us what issues you care about. Let us know what people, organizations, and companies inspire you to be a good citizen.


The page takes you to a form with serial prompts. Maybe click through and see if you think it's a good place to present your idea (because I'm intrigued by it).
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:43 PM on January 23, 2017


Thanks! I got a response via memail that agrees with raccoon409 that the first fatal flaw I conjectured does in fact apply: a call from outside the district would still have little impact, even if calling on behalf of a specific constituent. That response also mentioned that some organizations target the same ends by calling the constituents, encouraging them to call their legislators themselves and providing a script, and if the constituent agrees, initiating a call connecting the two right on the spot. Does anyone know which organizations are doing that -- including initiating the on-the-spot calls between the constituents and the legislators?
posted by daisyace at 6:39 PM on January 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


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