But professional tech work can cost a candidate thousands of dollars, which Levin, a self-proclaimed progressive grassroots activist, did not have ahead of his Wednesday campaign launch.
Luckily for Levin, there is a trend taking hold in Silicon Valley that solved that problem. Countless people in the tech sector, many motivated by the election of President Trump, are suddenly eager to get involved in politics. These engineers, designers and data analysts want to use their skills — in both partisan and non-partisan ways — to get involved, some by modernizing antiquated government systems, others by aiding grassroots campaigns for upcoming elections.
Most of these new efforts, perhaps not surprisingly, lean toward candidates and issues to the left of Trump. Some, like the longer-established Lincoln Network, work on behalf of those that lean to the right.
Laine Carlsness, a Bay Area graphic designer with no government experience, is among those newly energized politically. After the election, she said, she desperately wanted a political outlet that was more productive than marching or calling her congressman — but she didn’t know where to start.
“As good as the Women’s March felt, it didn’t feel very practical,” she said.
A new tech-focused effort created in the Bay Area called Tech for Campaigns — which brings people with coding, social media, fundraising and data skills together with “progressive and centrist political campaigns” — connected Carlsness and a group of other volunteers around the country with Levin’s campaign. Over the past few weeks, they helped Levin build a website and donation portal and created his social media accounts ahead of his campaign launch.
While creating a website may sound trivial to some, Levin claims it gave his campaign announcement a big “leg up.”
“You don’t want to announce until you have a strong presence,” he said. Without the proper digital infrastructure, Levin said, he would have rolled out the campaign more quietly until he could raise enough funds to hire someone to help his team.
Tech for Campaigns volunteers are working on multiple campaigns around the country. One group has volunteers from Slack and Salesforce helping a congressional candidate…