PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Super PACs are spending tens of millions of dollars on political advertising in Pennsylvania. But a new PAC– is taking a different approach.
Shoe leather…a little face time…and a handshake…
That is their weapon in this years’ election because for “For Our Future” the war for votes isn’t on the airwaves, it’s in the streets.
“We are not running TV ads up on air, but we are actually about talking to voters, trying to start a conversation,” says Rebecca McNichol, state organizer, “For Pa Future.”
The group is a state affiliate of For Our Future, a progressive political action committee. Founded in 2016, the PAC is funded by unions and an NextGen Climate Change– and they’re focus is the ground game .
For Our Future has set up shops throughout Pennsylvania, including three offices in Philadelphia. The issued-focused group has pumped millions into the Commonwealth to pay for trained organizers to target hard to reach voters like millennials, women, African Americans and Latinos– all who swing liberal and can push a progressive agenda. They also teamed up with several community groups, like Unity in the Community, to reach voters.
“The knocking on doors- the voter engagement– that used to be the work done by political parties,” says William Rosenberg, a political science professor at Drexel University.
He says PACs have been paying for phone banking and canvassing for years, but notes the ground game has expanded. Rosenberg credits the US Supreme Court decision in Citizens United for the recent shift.
“The role of political parties has diminished and the roles of PACs has increased,” he says, “it’s all about the money in politics– even more so now. And with PACs stepping up- candidates can be more independent of the party.”
Rosenberg says Democratic leaning groups typically have better organized efforts on the ground, so he wasn’t surprised to hear of work being done by For Our Future. Conservative groups, he says, focus more on political advertising. Rosenberg says that could be a mistake in this Election.
“I think if a campaign is going to depend on airwaves alone they are probably not going to be successful,” he says, noting the Trump campaign appears to be more ad focused.
But For Our Future representatives say– the money they’re spending in Pennsylvania will pay off in the future.
“The difference between us and other SuperPACs is that we plan on staying here in Philadelphia and throughout in Pennsylvania after the election,” says McNichol, “we want to get good representatives elected and then hold them accountable after Election Day.