This month Laura Moser, founder of Daily Action, announced that after using digital messaging to give hundreds of thousands of Americans daily activism tasks in the wake of Donald Trump's election win, she's now taking on a major new task of her own: run for a seat in the U.S. Congress, to represent her home district (the 7th) of Texas in Washington, D.C.
Her campaign website includes this: "Laura's activism led her to the realization that the problem isn't us, the people. It's the politicians."
We interviewed Laura just before her decision to run for Congress.
What inspired you to start Daily Action?
Like so many, I was completely appalled by the results of the November election. For a few weeks, I was paralyzed, groping for ways to get more involved in my community. I was also inundated by nonstop "calls to action" on Facebook—phone numbers to call and petitions to sign and stores to boycott.
I kept longing for some really simple, plug-and-play activism solution, but the more days passed, the more confusing the calls to action became.
So one night I was chatting with the CEO of Revolution Messaging, where my husband is a partner, and I said, "Someone needs to invent an app with just *one* action a day, so that people can get involved without feeling as if they have to quit their jobs to get involved." He said why invent an app when we already have a great calling tool, and he suggested I be the one to run it.
Though initially it hadn't occurred to me that I would be the one to take charge of this endeavor, I'm a writer and have a background in journalism, so I figured I'd be as good a candidate as any. I just created the tool that I wanted to use (with a lot of technical assistance!).
What's a typical day at Daily Action?
On a good day, I have done all my research and settled on the next day's action the night before, and then I get up a few hours before my kids to record that day's message, put up the Facebook posts, and tweet the action.
On the less good days, I rush home from dropping my kids off, finish the script, record the message, and struggle to send out all the text messages before people start noticing how late I am. Once the messages are out, I spend a few hours on correspondence, and then I immediately launch into researching the next day's action with my close friend/brain trust John, who lives on the other side of the country and works different hours.
There is always some additional task to manage -- like today, we are launching the Daily Action Book Club, so there's been a lot of back and forth about that press release. And then at 3:15 I get on my bike and go pick up my kids at school, and I live to fight another day.
What surprised you building this movement?
How nice everyone has been! I've published enough articles to fear online comment boards. On even the most bland, uncontroversial features I've written, commenters have found a way to call me stupid, petty, delusional—you name it.
My experience with Daily Action has been totally different. The vast majority of our subscribers have been generous and forgiving, even when they disagree with an action I've chosen or are annoyed that they received a text message too early.
I have this strong sense that we're all in it together, and the support from the community has been both surprising and heartening. We racked up a huge phone bill in January and I was hesitant to ask people for money, but more experienced people than me told me that I had no choice—and again, the donations poured in with words of support.
Favorite resources that have been most helpful for you as you've built Daily Action?
In the beginning, it was really hard for me to accept the offers of help that came pouring in from all directions. Dabney, who connected me to you, is just one example -- this top-notch publicist contacted me on the Daily Action FB page offering me her services pro bono, and I suspected it would be dumb of me to turn her down. Best decision I've ever made!
I've been slower asking for support in other areas—getting people to look up phone numbers and write sample scripts and whatnot. But bit by bit, I have come to realize that if I continue trying to do it on my own, I will collapse.
What's next for you and Daily Action?
We are trying to keep this movement going through the midterms, so that we can win back the House and put a stop to some of the craziness going down at the highest levels of government right now.
We sent a text last week and raised enough money to keep going for a few months and to hire me an assistant (I am still doing this completely unpaid), but we would like some guarantee that we can shed that constant anxiety about running out of cash.
As of this week, in addition to announcing our book club, we are going to start introducing once-a-week targeted actions in places like DC (where I live, and where we don't, obviously, have voting members of Congress to call), Texas (where we have a huge number of subscribers worried about the nonstop travesties going down in Austin), and then possibly New York and California. We would love Daily Action to serve subscribers both on the local and the federal level.