With more than 10 million fans across the internet, the Occupy Democrats Facebook page is the hub of the largest grassroots Democratic digital movement in our nation’s history.
In 2020, the New York Times profiled its twin founders, Omar and Rafael Rivero, the two Mexican-American immigrants whose page was beating Donald Trump for reach on Facebook with the page they founded in 2012. They called our group “a rare bright spot for a party and political wing that once was proud ‘the party of tech’ but has since ceded nearly every digital stronghold to the right.”
That’s why Omar Rivero decided to found the Occupy Democrats Election Fund in the summer of 2020 to focus his efforts on flipping the Senate, which was crucial to supporting the Democratic agenda. So, he launched the Election Fund as a SuperPAC and worked independently to pursue his vision of what needed to be done to ensure that if Joe Biden won his election, he wouldn’t be facing an unbreakable wall of Republican “no” votes from day one. Meanwhile, his brother Rafael left for the Biden campaign, where he helped support other creators making the bumper stickers of our day: memes.
Unlike other SuperPACs, the group disclosed every single donor to the FEC down to the last dollar or penny and still does to this day.
After the 2020 election ended, Rafael Rivero joined the Occupy Democrats Election Fund, and together they ran a high-intensity campaign in Georgia during the crucial special election for Democratic Senators Raphael Warnock and John Ossoff, which ultimately determined control of the upper chamber when they both won their respective races. He brought with him the group he named the “Rebel Alliance,” a group of the biggest left-leaning Facebook influencers in America who he had cultivated to work with the Biden campaign. Two of the most prominent alliance members are The Other 98%, with its 6.8 million follower community, and CALL TO ACTIVISM.
The typical model of political action committees is to take donations, hire political consultants and creative workers and spend money to place each ad with direction down to each word. Instead, the Occupy Democrats Election Fund has empowered creators to create without the top-down direction and with the promise their best messages would be amplified across the Facebook page that beat Trump.
Like an instant focus group, content posted to social networks gives its creators feedback. ODEF uses that feedback to place high-yield, low-cost native ads on the Facebook social network. That’s why a significant amount of funding from ODEF donors goes into boosting the most viral pro-Democratic political content on Facebook, whether it’s a meme or a video, because that’s where it can make the most difference by reaching targeted voters outside the social network’s native distribution. By promoting top posts on alliance pages, we reach more voters using fewer dollars.
In mid-2021, Omar stepped aside from most of the Election Fund’s operations but remained as treasurer, while Rafael became the executive director. That is when he converted the Occupy Democrats Election fund into a Hybrid-PAC.
By changing structures, it allowed the election fund to engage with campaigns and leverage the Election Fund’s mailing list to begin joint email fundraising efforts with a number of Democratic candidates and groups using the ActBlue platform to instantly share funds, resulting in an overall 5-figure fundraising haul for both the candidates and the group.
At the same time, the Occupy Democrats Election Fund engaged in multiple state campaigns in late 2021 to back Democratic gubernatorial nominees from coast to coast in “off-year elections” and recall races.
Just before the start of the 2022 general election season, Rafael Rivero stepped away from his duties at ODEF, handing off the Rebel Alliance and the fund to his brother, Omar, who started his second term as Executive Director in August 2022 and continues to operate the fund during the crucial first Biden mid-term election.
The Occupy Democrats Election Fund targets key races across America in the 2022 elections in key Senate races and House districts, as well as targeted gubernatorial elections.