Between the Texas freeze of 2021, a refusal to alert parents to COVID cases at their children’s schools, and the infamous response of “it could have been worse” to the Uvalde school shootings, there was a lot on the minds of Texas mothers when it comes to Greg Abbott.
What started as a one-woman protest group in 2021 became one of the largest social movements in Texas history: a coalition of parents across the political spectrum who know that Texans deserve a governor and leaders who work on behalf of them, rather than the status quo and big money interests. The group became known as Mothers Against Greg Abbott (MAGA).
In the final month leading up to the 2022 General Election, Mothers Against Greg Abbott released a series of videos directed by Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Boyhood), featuring Texas mothers, fathers, family members, and friends sharing personal stories of how Governor Greg Abbott’s policies had direct, negative impacts on their lives. While all the videos were eventually released publicly, they were first distributed directly to a select group of donors. The program was eventually titled the “Abbott Advent Calendar” – one new video per day for 31 days with the final video being delivered on Monday, November 7th 2022, the day before the General Election. These targeted videos generated nearly 700,000 media views/hits across Texas.
The Sexton Group delivered these messages via multi-media (MMS) text to donors daily. The videos ranged from :30 seconds to long-form testimonials. The MMS text messages encouraged them to forward and post to social media, increasing the number of the video views and their impact. Text recipients received on their phones, iPads or computer, where they easily post them to social media or forward them to their networks, which greatly amplified their impact. The donors received the videos as thumbnails on their device and were able to play them directly from the message without having to click a link or visit a 3rd party website. The Sexton Group was also able to implement a process that allowed for over 30 videos to be uploaded and scheduled while creating flexibility of a continual increasing target universe and changing the communication schedule as dictated by the news cycle.
While Greg Abbott ultimately retained his governorship, Democrats and pro-mother candidates saw major wins in Texas, particularly in congressional districts along the border with Mexico, as the predicted “red wave” failed to materialize. These victories can be credited through the use of grassroots community organizing, issue-based advocacy, and using brand new services like MMS texting to reach more voters than ever before. With over 40 established chapters across the state with 1,000+ members, Mothers Against Greg Abbott will be a force in Texas politics for many election cycles to come.