Why Political Campaign Texts are Annoying

November 11, 2022

“Marketers ruin everything.” - Gary Vaynerchuk

Yesterday morning I made a donation to Rev. Raphael Warnock’s campaign for U.S. Senate. Later that I day I received, not one, not two, but three text messages from the campaign asking me to donate. The sad part is these text asks were minuscule relative to the amount I donated in the morning. I know why campaigns are spammy and wasting our time, but I still think they should stop.

Why It Matters

The volume of unsolicited texts, emails, and other communications from campaigns is disrespectful to voters. Despite the centralized VAN and deeply integrated data program run by the Democratic National Committee individual campaign arms turn people off. Finally the volume of unsolicited messages means folks are increasingly less likely to pay attention to any particular message. It’s a denial of service attack.

Spammy Messages Work

In campaigns that are metrics driven, the reality is that sending lots of spammy messages works. Whenever one of these goes out, a non-zero number of people will donate. The fact it costs little to no money to send them means it is almost always worth sending a message, even if it is of low quality. The result is a clogged inbox and dinging texts that never seem to end.

Three Ways to Fix This

  • The FEC should ban selling and sharing emails between political organizations.
  • The DNC and RNC should take a longer term eye to its relationship with voters and use its soft power to stop campaign committees from burning through their lists.
  • The FCC should be given the power to ban campaigns that receive lots of complaints from sending texts and email altogether.

Go Deeper

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This work by Matt Zagaja is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.