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Deep Canvassing Helped Elect Democrat Max Rose in Staten Island

A progressive group tried something new when it came to knocking on doors and canvassing for the midterm elections.

Most campaigns hurry from door to door, urging committed party voters to the polls. But “deep canvassers” cultivate longer conversations, hoping to persuade swing voters.

“There’s a confirmation bias out there within the world of politics that persuasion is not worth it, but I think the vast majority of people are decent human beings and care about other human beings,” explained Changing The Conversation Together director Adam Barbanel-Fried. “And I feel like if we can’t figure out how to build a commonality around that, how are we ever going to build a better political future for ourselves?”

Changing the Conversation Together targeted Staten Island, which is the most conservative part of New York City’s only swing district. 10 days before the midterm, the GOP candidate was leading the polls. But the group was training volunteers to turn that around.

“If you’re in the world of facts, opinions, or arguments, it’s probably not gonna work. And you’ve derailed the whole project,” Barbanel-Fried explained to volunteers. “So we’re gonna work really hard today on learning how do we stay in this relational space.”