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Episode 8 - Fundraising & Virginia's Blue Wave

Ah, fundraising. Just the thought of asking friends and family for money can induce chest pain and deter qualified potential candidates from dropping their name in the hat. Yet fundraising is necessary to reach voters, spread the word, and get elected. This week on the Election University podcast, our hosts Jason Bennett and Reiny Cohen speak with a fundraising star from Virginia's 2017 Blue Wave, Diondra Musgrave, to demystify the daunting task of funding your campaign.

 

Diondra Musgrave was a vital contributor to the 2017 victories in Virginia, where Democrats picked up an astounding 15 seats for their House of Delegates. Working as Finance Director for now-Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, Diondra helped the campaign raise nearly $240,000 in cash donations in a little more than two months. Her aggressive fundraising plan dramatically increased donor engagement and funded Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy’s victory with 63.14% of the vote. Now Diondra offers her pragmatic advice on hesitant candidates, call time, making a fundraising plan, and the basics of effective fundraising. Her practical tips will help you get inspired, organized, funded, and elected!  

 

So listeners, what do you think? Did our chat with Diondra help put the "fun" back in fundraising? Are you ready to bust open your Rolodex and get dialing for dollars? Do you have a new tip for our listeners or a funny fundraising story? We want to hear from you! Leave a note in the comment section below or email your questions and comments to our hosts at podcast@ElectionU.com.   You can listen to the show right here on the website or by subscribing in iTunes, Apple Podcasts, GooglePlaySpotifyStitcherSoundcloudiHeartRadio, and more! If you do subscribe, please leave us a rating and review. We love the feedback! If you'd like to hear a particular topic on our podcast, please email podcast@electionu.com. As always, thanks for listening!

 

Jason Bennett
Feb, 13 2018

Episode 7 - Young Candidates Breaking the Mold & Taking Over, Part 1

It’s often said that young people are the future… and that future is now. Across the country, young candidates are breaking traditional campaign molds of what it takes to win. In this episode of the Election University Podcast, our hosts Jason Bennett and Reiny Cohen interview New York Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou. As the first Asian American to represent NY District 65 (Lower Manhattan-Chinatown, Wall Street, Battery Park City), Niou’s age wasn’t the only remarkable characteristic of her run. We’ll hear about her background as a Taiwanese immigrant, her legislative experience and mentorship, and what motivated her to take the leap to political office. Niou also shares practical advice on how to survive and win as a young candidate.

Interested in finding out more about Yuh-Line Niou and her work? You can read more about her campaign and election night festivities in Slant’d Magazine by ordering it here. You can also follow her official NY Assembly page here, or browse her campaign website here.

So listeners, are you or someone you know considering a run as a young candidate? Are you already a young politician taking over? We want to hear from you! Leave a note in the comment section below or email your questions and comments to our hosts at podcast@ElectionU.com.

You can listen to the show right here on the website or by subscribing in iTunes, Apple Podcasts, GooglePlay, Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud, iHeartRadio, and more! If you do subscribe, please leave us a rating and review. We love the feedback! If you'd like to hear a particular topic on our podcast, please email podcast@electionu.com.

Jason Bennett
Feb, 06 2018

Episode 6 - What Do You Mean Persuasion Tactics Don't Work?

In this controversial episode, hosts Jason Bennett and Reiny Cohen interview Stanford political scientist and researcher David Broockman about traditional campaign tactics and shortcomings.

 

David Broockman, currently an assistant professor of political economy at the Stanford Graduation School of Business, has authored research for nearly ten years on electoral strategy and its impacts on public opinion. His journal articles include topics ranging from the representation of polarized politicians to field studies on reducing transphobia through door-to-door canvassing. His recent journal article, “The Minimal Effects of Campaign Contact in General Elections: Evidence from 49 field experiments” was reported on by the Huffington Post, setting the world of “political elites” into a near frenzy over campaign strategy. Our hosts dive in with David to break down the study’s findings, the exceptions and assumptions, and attempt to illuminate what exactly is the best way to persuade voters and win your campaign.

 

The full journal article on “The Minimal Persuasive Effects of Campaign Contact in General Elections: Evidence from 49 Field Experiments,” its replication data, slides, and SSN brief can be accessed on David’s personal website, davidbroockman.com You can access more of David Brockman’s work on Google scholar here.

 

Special thanks to David Broockman for speaking to us this week on the Election University Podcast. Listeners, we want to hear from you! Tell us what you think about David Broockman’s study. Are you ready to invest in groundbreaking campaign research? What are your creative ideas for reaching voters? Leave a note in the comment section below or email your questions and comments to our hosts at podcast@ElectionU.com.

You can listen to the show right on the website here or by subscribing in iTunes, Apple Podcasts, GooglePlaySpotifyStitcherSoundcloud, iHeartRadio, and more! If you do subscribe, please leave us a rating and review. We love the feedback! If you'd like to hear a particular topic on our podcast, please email podcast@electionu.com.

Jason Bennett
Jan, 30 2018

Episode 5 - Voter Integrity & Voter Protection

We know that maintaining strong cybersecurity is important to keeping your life, finances, and campaign safe. But what does it mean on the macro level? How does security and hackers’ ability to tamper with our electoral systems impact how we see our democracy? In this follow up episode to Locking Down Your Campaign, our host Jason Bennett talks with Ally Coll Steele, an expert in voter protection. Ally was the Deputy Director of the National Voter Protection department for Hillary for America 2016, where she witnessed firsthand the national repercussions of exposed campaign security.

As part of the Voter Protection department, Ally fought voter suppression efforts in key battleground states to increase access to the ballot for all. In this episode, Ally shares what she learned form this experience and best practices to keep your campaign locked down. We learn how to navigate the trade-off between technology’s efficiency and security, how to resist voter suppression, encourage turnout, and secure your campaign win.

Today, Ally works as an Associate at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP in DC. Before law school, Ally worked on several political campaigns including the Obama field team in 2008 and the re-election efforts of Senators Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell, and Tim Kaine. Her work includes organizing recount response efforts, advising campaign response to voter suppression efforts, and levying litigation against state voter repression laws.

Special thanks to Ally Coll Stelle for her insight this week on the Election University podcast. Listeners, we want to hear from you! Tell us what you think about cybersecurity and its impact on our electoral systems! What tactics will you do differently to lock down your campaign? How do you think we should expand access to the ballot and maintain voter integrity? Leave a note in the comment section below or email your questions and comments to our hosts at podcast@ElectionU.com.

You can listen to the show right on the website here or by subscribing in iTunes, Apple Podcasts, GooglePlaySpotifyStitcherSoundcloud, and more! If you do subscribe, please leave us a rating and review. We love the feedback! If you'd like to hear a particular topic on our podcast, please email podcast@electionu.com.

Jason Bennett
Jan, 16 2018

Episode 4 - Political Spouses

It’s no secret that political campaigns are all-consuming. From the financial strain of fundraising to the grind-it-out of doorbelling, a candidate must have an “all-in” attitude just to endure. To stay sane, a candidate also needs a strong system of personal support. But what about the family members and spouses of those candidates? How do these loved ones— who are often less-enthusiastically dragged along for the ride—survive the toils of the campaign and the challenges of elected office? Election University podcast host Jason Bennett interviews political spouses to get the insider’s survival guide to politics. This episode features Charlyn Daugherty, wife of Republican Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, whose campaign ad went viral and narrowly won them the election (and an Emmy!).

Jason also interviews Steve Williamson, labor advocate and husband to Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington’s 7th Congressional District. If you haven’t yet seen Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty’s viral re-election video, the ad’s secret sauce is Gerald’s wife, Charlyn. Charming and effective, the ad illustrates the real impact that political spouses can have on their partner’s career. Though a once-reluctant participant in her husband’s political aspirations, Charlyn has played a significant role in his re-election. Now she shares her advice on navigating the intersection of personal and political. Steve Williamson, a longtime labor organizer and advocate, was not a political newcomer before Congresswoman Jayapal ran for office. The couple had parallel interests in community organizing and advocacy, and Steve was an early and eager supporter of his wife’s political aspirations. Just after 9/11, Pramila founded Hate Free Zone (later OneAmerica) to combat the anti-immigrant sentiment sweeping the nation. She ran for Washington State Senate and later was elected to Congress to represent Washington’s 7th District. A state legislative and a Congressional race later, Steve debriefs with Jason to share his practical advice on remaining a team, setting roles and responsibilities, and keeping it all in perspective.

Many thanks to both Charlyn and Steve for talking with us this week on the Election University podcast. Listeners, we want to hear from you! Are you a political spouse? Tell us about your experience. What advice do you have for the politicians and the people who love them? If you are a future candidate or spouse, what are your biggest concerns with the campaign?

You can listen to the show right on the website here or by subscribing in iTunes, Apple Podcasts, GooglePlaySpotifyStitcherSoundcloud, and more! If you do subscribe, please leave us a rating and review. We love the feedback! If you'd like to hear a particular topic on our podcast, please email podcast@electionu.com.

Jason Bennett
Jan, 12 2018

Episode 3 - Locking Down Your Campaign Security

The 2016 Election Cycle revealed just how vulnerable many campaigns are to hacking and other cyber threats. But even as they have become more aware of the importance of cybersecurity, many small businesses and campaigns continue to put their data at risk. Election University host Jason Bennett speaks with industry professional Benjamin Caudill to learn about security tools you can implement today to make your personal and campaign information three-to-four times more secure. Benjamin works as a security penetration tester and CEO of Rhino Security Labs. He specializes in locating and resolving security vulnerabilities of companies large and small. In today’s episode, we will talk with Benjamin about critical new trends in hacking, and how this puts everyone—even small campaigns or individuals—at risk.

Later, we’ll discuss common mistakes you could be making with your own security and review tools like Two-Factor Authentication, disk encryption, VPNs, and other simple steps you can take to increase your safety online. This episode is critical to your personal and campaign security—don’t miss it!

Tools discussed in this podcast: WordPress is a tool to create a free website or blog. It is commonly used among political campaigns but it can be vulnerable to cyber threats. One plugin that can help keep your data safe is WordFence. WordFence will mitigate a lot of the low-level vulnerabilities on your site. WordFence is a free plugin that blocks attacks with a Firewall, scans your system, and alerts you to security issues.

Two-Factor Authentication is used to prove that you are who you say you are when you log on. It is an additional step beyond username and password, often a code that is texted to your phone that you have to type into the login screen. If your password and username are stolen, the hacker still cannot access your account without the code sent to your phone.

Password Managers:

Password managers with encrypted database can increase your password and cyber security. Because you use only one password to access the manager, you can choose stronger, more complicated passwords without risk of forgetting. This keeps you from using the same password over and over or having very simple, easy-to-guess passwords.

Dashlane: a password manager with encrypted databases with free and paid versions.

LastPass: A password manager with free and paid options. It has an encrypted database and auto-fill across devices.

Full-disk encryption:

If someone stole your un-encrypted laptop, they could remove the hard drive and read the data locally stored on the machine without even logging on. To combat this, you can download a free product that encrypts the data stored locally on your hard drive. This technology is very well tested from a security standpoint. One such product is VeraCrypt, a free disk encryption software by IDRIX.

Messaging Security on Cell Phones: Signal v. WhatsApp v. Native texting:

Apps like Signal encrypt the data on your phone itself, rather than sending it to storage in the cloud. Signal works at its best if it is being used by both sides of a text conversation. Signal is free and can be downloaded onto Android, iPhone, or your Desktop

WhatsApp: Better than native text messaging, but not as secure as Signal. It an be downloaded onto iPhone, android, or desktop. WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption, so not even WhatsApp is able to read them.

You can learn more about Benjamin and his work Rhino Security Labs at RhinoSecurityLabs.com.

You can listen to the show right on the website here or by subscribing in iTunes, Apple Podcasts, GooglePlaySpotifyStitcherSoundcloud, and more! If you do subscribe, please leave us a rating and review. We love the feedback! If you'd like to hear a particular topic on our podcast, please email podcast@electionu.com.

 

Jason Bennett
Jan, 04 2018

Episode 1 - Our Inaugural Episode

In the Inaugural episode of the Election University podcast, hosts Jason Bennett and Reiny Cohen introduce Election University and discuss their inspiration and goals for the podcast. Upcoming topics include: How To Get a Job in Politics, Political Spouses, and Locking Down Your Campaign. Election University is the go-to guide to winning your election. To sign up for our campaign school and to learn more about Election University, visit www.electionu.com. You can listen to the show right on the website here or by subscribing in iTunes, Apple Podcasts, GooglePlaySpotifyStitcherSoundcloud, and more! If you do subscribe, please leave us a rating and review. We love the feedback! If you'd like to hear a particular topic on our podcast, please email podcast@electionu.com

Jason Bennett
Jan, 01 2018