Investing to Win in 2024
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Priorities USA
DATE: September 27, 2023
RE: Investing to win in 2024
Democrats must do three things to ensure President Biden and Vice President Harris are re-elected: 1) maintain our winning coalition, 2) contrast the President’s impact and vision with the GOP’s extreme agenda, and 3) reach voters where they are through innovative and effective online content. Priorities will invest $75m to support this effort.
Pursuing Multiple Paths to 270
Joe Biden’s presidential re-election runs through the same states that delivered him 306 electoral votes and drove a historically successful midterm in 2022 – all states that Priorities has a track record of investing and winning in. Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are the most likely tipping point states, with Michigan containing the 270th electoral vote in our Q3 forecast.
Priorities is focused on maintaining the Biden coalition within these states. Republicans and Independents, voters of color, and low-turnout Democrats showed up in record numbers to remove Donald Trump, and elect Joe Biden. Meanwhile, Black, Latino, white college educated, and non-college white voters all form substantial portions of our audience. It is imperative that they all show up for President Biden again.
There’s both opportunity and challenge in this task. Our early testing shows that Republicans who do not identify as MAGA are as movable as traditional independents. However, Black, Latino, AAPI, and young voters, who are disproportionately online, are not feeling or hearing enough of what President Biden has delivered for them. These voters are not just a mobilization audience; we need to show these voters that Joe Biden has been a president for all Americans, and will continue to deliver for them.
Reinforcing Joe Biden’s Strengths by Contrasting with the Alternative
We see three key areas where we can tell the story of the successes of the administration while reminding voters what’s at stake in 2024. They include:
Closing the knowledge gap between voters’ policy preferences and Biden’s accomplishments. Voters already believe that Biden is a steady leader who stands up for what is right. His policies remind voters of the values of unity, honesty, and opportunity that drew them to him in 2020 – when they learn about the policies with specificity. His vision to invest in America is further strengthened by contrasting it with the GOP’s extreme agenda that strips Americans of their rights and prioritizes the wealthy few.
Disqualifying the alternative, no matter who emerges from the GOP primary. Thanks to President Biden, voters no longer feel the chaos of a MAGA president, but they can be viscerally reminded that Trump’s threat has only heightened since he lost in 2020. While Trump has negatives that our audiences need only be reminded of, we must show voters that all of the potential nominees are extreme. Voters see this most clearly with regard to abortion. The GOP fixation on abortion is not just out of step with voters’ priorities, it’s actively harmful. We need to make the connection for voters that this stance represents a broader, dangerous agenda.
Centering the voter. Voters already believe President Biden cares about them and is invested in all Americans’ success. We need to make sure his message is delivered in relatable terms and meet voters where they are to effectively center their needs. This includes using the language they use to search for information on Google and placing ads that look native to the platforms they scroll through. Meanwhile, Priorities has consistently built a team that reflects the audiences we are prioritizing so we can speak authentically to Black, Latino and AAPI voters, including in languages beyond English and Spanish.
Breaking Through Online
Every week, new social media platforms and streaming services pop up. Our target audience is twice as likely to only watch TV through streaming services than traditional broadcast television, and half of them do not watch any live TV with commercials. At the same time, digital platforms like Facebook and YouTube change their political advertising policies each cycle. Despite these uncertainties, we have the proven expertise to navigate this ever changing digital landscape. Our in-house capacity means we are nimble and can adjust our digital communication strategy quickly to meet voters wherever they are. Our 100% commitment to digital is underlined by several tactical principles:
- Connected TV buys are run by our in-house team of media buyers who are trained to navigate the crowded, complicated, and changing landscape of long-form video content.
- YouTube has the broadest reach online and yet has the strictest targeting regulations, eliminating voter file targeting entirely. To effectively reach persuadable voters on YouTube, our in-house analysts develop and test custom targeting approaches.
- Content creators gain followers based on their ability to authentically connect with their audiences. Our goal is to work with creators who don’t traditionally talk about politics as a way to reach incremental audiences on platforms like TikTok where direct advertising is prohibited.
- Paid social platforms like Facebook and Reddit allow us to efficiently promote and define news events in feeds where voters already expect to consume articles.
- Paid search tells us what information voters are already looking for, and provides an opportunity to talk about policies in the language voters use, rather than just the language we use in polls.
Well Timed Investments Leading up to November 2024
We’re using 2023 to build, innovate and refine our approach. Staying ahead of changing consumption patterns requires constant testing. Our earliest investments will allow us to run key experiments and answer important questions to shape our program – and partners’ programs – when heavy investments come through in the fall. A few of our early investments are evaluating digital out-of-home placements to localize accomplishments, contextual targeting to reach Black and Brown audiences, and social platforms to boost positive news, especially to voters who are otherwise tuning out of politics.
Defining our opponent as soon as they become clear. In 2020, Priorities ensured that Trump did not have a one-sided argument with voters before we nominated Joe Biden. This cycle, we will define the Republican nominee when they are financially and politically weakest with general election audiences. We know new information is the most persuasive, so it’s imperative that voters are introduced to our opponent on our terms. Our earliest work will concentrate on constituencies like Black and Brown voters who will need a combination of persuasion and mobilization to keep them with us.
Persuasion starts after the GOP Convention, not Labor Day. The timeline of voting has shifted. That means voters are casting their ballots earlier than ever and our efforts must reflect this new timeline. Priorities holds the data necessary to make sure we’re reaching every voter before they make their minds up. We will use conquest targeting based on what advertising each voter and household has already seen to fill in gaps left by TV buys, competitive spending insights to outspend Republicans, and close relationships with and convening of allies to ensure our investments are reaching as many voters as possible. Each of these tactics is essential, and only Priorities has the experience, sophistication, and tools to layer so many sources of intel and targeting options to efficiently and effectively guarantee every voter is reached.
Break turnout records (again). There is no false choice between persuasion and mobilization – we must do it all to win. We need to sustain high motivation and mobilize key groups to capitalize on our persuasion. Voting is as complicated as ever, and intervention is needed to ensure that voters translate their motivation into ballots, and overcome the intimidation and suppression we know Republicans plan for our constituencies. Priorities has perfected our mobilization playbook to deploy it ahead of 2024.
Leveraging our Digital Expertise to Benefit our Allies
Over the last few cycles, we’ve kept our eye on building capacity to meet the moment and tools that not only service our program, but also provide essential support to the entire Biden coalition. In 2022, over half of our investments were run in partnership with other progressive groups, ranging from national-issue and constituency groups to in-state advocates. Now, we’re doubling down to reduce duplicative efforts and make investments go further through in-house ad buying and improved technology. Party committees, digital consulting firms, and PACs alike subscribe to our digital ad spending tracker, AdHawk. Additionally, our briefings, tables, and relationships serve as an anchor for digital advertising strategy and tactics on the left.
To win, the Biden coalition needs to work together. Every outside group has its own set of individual priorities and goals, yet we’ve demonstrated that our big tent can flourish if we work in collaboration. Priorities promises to continue its tradition of bringing people to the table to learn, grow, share, and win.