Amanda Brown Lierman ’07 cut her teeth on Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign. Now as political and organizing director of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), she’s helping her party try to take back Congress and chip away at GOP control in most states. This fall’s midterm elections are “life or death,” she says. “We’re going in the wrong direction, from healthcare to taxes to gun reform.”
No zip code is off limits, a major change for the DNC, which in the past focused almost exclusively on presidential elections. Brown Lierman says that led to erosion of Democratic influence, so the party’s current strategy supports candidates year-round across the country, using grassroots techniques and digital strategies. In many districts she’s abandoned expensive TV ads for text messaging and online videos. “TV is the least effective way to reach people we’re trying to engage with,” she says. “I’m a good example of that demographic—young black women who live in the suburbs. I don’t even have cable.” In Florida, where many races are contested, she’s scouring databases to find Puerto Ricans who moved there after Hurricane Maria.
Although she was a government and sociology major, she never expected to pursue politics. That changed when she got an internship in Senator Obama’s office. “I remember doing really important work like opening mail and giving tours,” she laughs. After graduation she worked for his campaign and “totally drank all the ‘hope and change’ Kool-Aid.” Victory led to jobs in the White House and as national political director of Rock the Vote. When offered her present job last year, Brown Lierman was pregnant with daughter Belle. She wondered what she would say to her daughter if she asked her what she did when Trump—who Brown Lierman says lacks moral leadership—became president. “I need to say I was trying to fight for a better future for her,” she says.
What might the future hold? “I’ve thought about running for office. I’ve thought about becoming a full-time mom. It’s all over the place,” she says. “For now, I can’t think past November 7.”