The Washington Post

How Organizing For Action spent the August recess, by the numbers

President Obama, alongside former campaign manager Jim Messina, listens to an audience member at an Organizing for Action event. (YURI GRIPAS/REUTERS ) President Obama, alongside former campaign manager Jim Messina, listens to an audience member at an Organizing for Action event. (YURI GRIPAS/REUTERS)

For many, August is a time for rest and relaxation. For members of Organizing for Action, it is a time for more than 2,000 rallies.

That's according to a new memo by the group's executive director Jon Carson, which members will receive Wednesday morning. According to the missive, titled, "The Undeniable Success of 'Action August,'" the group pressed its case for issues including health care, immigration reform, climate change and gun control in a myriad of communities across the country. "We built an organization that is powered by deeply-motivated Americans changing the conversation in Washington from the ground up, and this August was not only a validation of the OFA model of organizing, but it also showed once again that Americans are eager to end the pettiness in Washington and ready to make progress together," Carson wrote in the memo, obtained by The Washington Post.

The group, a nonprofit affiliated with President Obama, held more than 500 immigration reform events this month, including ones in six districts held by Republicans who support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants: Reps. Jeff Denham (Calif.), Joe Heck (Nev.), Dave Reichert (Wash.), Aaron Schock (Ill.), Dan Webster (Fla.) and Paul Ryan (Wis.).

OFA volunteers held over 225 Obamacare events, nearly 300 rallies urging action on climate change and close to 200 events aimed at enacting stricter background checks on gun sales. On global warming, the group is targeting the 135 members of Congress who publicly question the connection between human activity and climate change, delivering "climate denier awards" to lawmakers such as Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.).

This frenzy of activity is making a mark on social media and in the press. On Aug. 21, Carson wrote, its day of action on gun violence "left the biggest footprint. OFA’s #WhatWillItTake hashtag trended nationally on twitter, and our volunteers drove national coverage from Bloomberg, and local press clips from Nashua, NH to Santa Clarita, CA."

But has it changed lawmakers' minds this month? So far none of the members of Congress the group targeted in August has changed his or her public position on immigration reform, climate change, health care or gun control. The real test, however, will come once they return to Washington next month.

Juliet Eilperin is The Washington Post's White House bureau chief, covering domestic and foreign policy as well as the culture of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
The Democrats debate Thursday. Get caught up on the race.
The big questions after New Hampshire, from The Post's Dan Balz
Can Bernie Sanders cut into Hillary Clinton's strength in the minority community and turn his challenge into a genuine threat? And can any of the Republicans consolidate anti-Trump sentiment in the party in time to stop the billionaire developer and reality-TV star, whose unorthodox, nationalistic campaign has shaken the foundations of American politics?
Clinton in New Hampshire: 2008 vs. 2015
Hillary Clinton did about as well in N.H. this year as she did in 2008, percentage-wise. In the state's main counties, Clinton performed on average only about two percentage points worse than she did eight years ago (according to vote totals as of Wednesday morning) -- and in five of the 10 counties, she did as well or better.
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.