Mark Cardenas is a former Democratic member of the Arizona House of Representatives who has run field operations for many campaigns and sat in on a February VetsForward training. "I like that they're actually listening to people," he said. "Canvassing usually is like, 'I'm talking at you, here's my candidate, here's why they're great. Here's Election Day, I'll be back. Do you like him? Yes or no.' And then I'll be back after your ballot hits your mailbox to make sure that you've dropped that ballot in the mailbox. And that's it."
“The way I think about it," Broockman said of deep canvassing, "is it’s really worth trying, because we don’t know of anything else that works.”
VetsForward, headed by Aaron Marquez, is a project of Forward Majority, a Democratic super PAC launched in 2017 that focuses on flipping state legislatures in a few key states, including Arizona. It has an even more precise focus: recruiting veterans and using them as messengers for left-of-center causes, a counter to the conservative veterans given large platforms by right-wing outlets like Fox News. Sometimes this means made-to-go-viral video testimonials. On the ground in Arizona, it means going door-to-door and trying to connect with voters who don't normally support Democrats. In this, vets have a major advantage over other canvassers: even an arch-conservative isn't likely to slam the door in the face of a progressive in a Marine Corps hat.
When deep canvassing works, it doesn't just improve a campaign's vote total, but exposes someone to a different perspective.