“We need to specifically talk about race and class,” said Danny Timpona, an organizer with Down Home North Carolina. “The Democratic Party might talk about class or they might talk about race, but they’re not talking about both of these things and how they pull at each other. We’re specifically pointing it out. We’re naming that this is a weapon that is economically harming us, and that the alternative, the antidote, is multiracial solidarity.” ...“What we find with the majority of voters is they’re conflicted,” [Adam] Kruggel [from People's Action] said. “People carry all these contradictory beliefs. Often times, it’s more a matter of what is rising to the surface than a conflict in shared values. Deep canvassing helps slow people down. When you communicate, you create nonjudgmental space and lead with listening. You communicate through stories. It’s an effective way to de-polarize, to a certain extent.”
I'm always a little skeptical when social scientists and professional organizers claim to have come up with new techniques which will enable canvassers to make major inroads with otherwise antagonistic people. I understand that we'd all like to reduce how to carry on a successful persuasion campaign to a formula that could be taught. And we often give our magic bullet a very serious label like "deep canvassing" or “the “Race-Class Narrative.” Such claims probably play well with donors.
But the struggle to make door-knocking effective will always be tough. Some people who do it take to it. Training can make these naturals better, pointing them toward techniques to have more effective conversations. But scaling up to produce multitudes of canvassers who lack a preexisting sympathetic gift-for-gab is not formulaic. Campaigns keep trying.
The In These Times story is nonetheless interesting.