DENVER–A short-lived press release from the Progressive Turnout Project (PTP) dated January 28 obtained by Complete Colorado outlines a “blueprint for Dems to increase turnout in 2020” that, among other things, targets what the group calls “low information” women and minority voters. PTP says it’s a “grassroots-funded organization” intended to get Democrat voters to the polls.
The press release says that PTP is targeting “16 battleground states” including Colorado. The group claims it has a $45 million investment to reach “disengaged, low information voters” including voters in Colorado to try and reverse a 2018 “infrequent Democratic voter pool” turnout it says is 28% less than the overall Democrat voter turnout of 35%.
PTP says it has developed a “Colorado profile” that includes an interactive map containing county-level data on its “target voter pool.”
“Our unique ability to target and engage low propensity, low information voters will be pivotal to unleashing the untapped potential of the Democratic Party’s largest voting blocs, including people of color, women, and young people, that have failed to come out in full force since 2008,” says PTP’s executive director Alex Morgan in the release.
Using “predictive analysis” PTP says uses voting history, demographic data and consumer data to target voters, the press release says its analysis shows a third of these “low information” infrequent voters are 60% “people of color” under the age of 35, of whom 53% are women.
The press release no longer appears on the organization’s website.
Derrick Wilburn, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Black Conservatives and former vice-chairman of the Colorado state Republican Party finds the characterization of blacks as “low information” insulting and condescending.
“They really could have saved themselves some time and ink by simply saying they need to get out and talk to people of color and explain to them that they don’t know who they should vote for, therefore they should vote for Democrats,” Wilburn told Complete Colorado Wednesday.
“There’s a trend we’re seeing in the country of white progressives bullying and telling blacks what to think or do,” Wilburn said. “If you look at the Progressive Turnout Project team, it’s an organization of nearly all white progressives who feel like they have to tell blacks what they have to do.”
Wilburn says progressives are increasingly alarmed when blacks escape the “new Democrat plantation” that he says is economic servitude rather than physical enslavement.
“We black Americans have reached the point that they believe they own us as voters,” said Wilburn. “They don’t have to propose solutions that make sense, they don’t have to propose any solutions at all. They just come around every two or four years and say, ‘Republicans are racist, Republicans hate you.’ That’s been working for 50 or 60 years.”
But according to Wilburn there is a sea-change going on, manifesting as the “Walk Away” movement that has many black Americans looking objectively at what Democrats and Republicans, especially President Trump, have to offer.
“Donald Trump’s policies are now producing real results,” Wilburn said. “We’re seeing record low unemployment. We’re seeing record high private sector investment in black communities. We’re seeing real, tangible results making a difference on the street. Coming around and saying ‘they’re all racist’ will work for a percentage of the voters, but not all. The Democrats see that slipping away so now we’re getting this condescension.”
The change in perception is forcing Democrats to earn black votes says Wilburn, “The Walk Away movement says to blacks let’s force the Democratic Party to earn our folks by coming to us with policies, plans and proposals that make sense, not just the same old racist ‘you can’t vote for them’ rhetoric. It’s putting progressives in the position of having to do that, and that’s good.”
The release says field offices will be opened in Colorado Springs, Denver and Boulder, employing 56 staff members who are tasked with contacting 657,800 potential Democrat voters from May through Election Day.
PTP hopes that this canvassing effort could “feasibly, win Sen. Corey Gardner’s seat in 2020.”
PTP, organized in 2015, is registered to a Post Office box in Chicago. In the 2015 election cycle PTP’s Federal Election Commission (FEC) end-of-year report shows the group received $356,746.75.
In the 2018 cycle, Progressive Takeover was its largest individual donor of $52,948. Total contributions amounted to $13.2 million.
Beginning 2020 with $3.7 million according to FEC records, PTP received $2.7 million in January from unknown “affiliated/other party committees,” $247,000 in itemized $200-plus contributions in 2019/2020 from 1,862 individuals and $1.01 million in un-itemized contributions from individuals other than political committees for a total of $8.1 million on hand as of January 31.
Where the other $36.9 million of its claimed $45 million “grassroots funding” is or who it comes from is unclear, as it’s not been reported on its FEC disclosures as of press time.
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