Democracy Labs is a group that provides polling data and voter file information to liberal and progressive politicians running for office and to support left-of-center activists. Democracy Labs is a project of Tides Advocacy, a fiscal sponsorship nonprofit for lobbying organizations associated with the Tides Nexus network of liberal nonprofits.
According to its website, Democracy Labs does not develop software but rather seeks out and analyzes current software and solutions that may advance political campaigns. 1
Democracy Labs focuses its strategy towards progressive ideologies, while also using its website to promote progressive issues. Democracy Labs published the article, “How to Find an Abortion Clinic Near You With A Simple Text.” This article was written in response to bills passed in the states placing strict restrictions on abortion, commonly referred to as “heartbeat bills.” 2
Democracy Labs provides online “grassroots organizing” training for would-be activists and Democrats running for office. It publishes “story maps,” visual propaganda for use by campaigns. These campaigns cover issues ranging from opposing the Trump administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census to “environmental racism” and gun control. It is allied with voter registration and campaign service groups such as Rock the Vote and Catalist.
In addition to campaigns, Democracy Labs uses its technology to identify supposed “misinformation” on social media platforms. In 2020, Datametrex Al Limited announced that Democracy Labs monitored alleged misinformation about COVID-19 on the internet. The technology was also used to monitor what Globe News Wire called “Islamophobia” towards controversial left-wing U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). 3
Deepak Puri is the chief executive officer and a co-founder of Democracy Labs. Puri is also a board member of Democracy Labs’ parent organization, Tides Advocacy. Puri has partnered with left-leaning organizations such as Voter Participation Center, NAACP, the campaigns of U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) campaign, and Democracy Partners. Puri is also a contributing author with epolitics.com, and a reappearing guest on The Great Battlefield podcast, which opposes the Trump administration. 4 5 6
Democracy Labs’ other cofounder Shareen Punian is a Tides Advocacy board member.
Donnie Fowler is a co-founder of Democracy Labs and the son of former chair of the Democratic National Committee Donald Fowler, who held the position from 1995-1997. The elder Fowler’s background was in tech-communications and politics, into which his son Donnie would follow him. Donnie Fowler has extensive experience in the tech-political community, having served in the Clinton White House, Federal Communications Commission, and several political campaigns at various levels of government. 7
Fowler has played key roles in presidential campaigns including those of former President Bill Clinton, former U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA), political activist Jesse Jackson, former U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt, retired military officer Wesley Clark, former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In 2016, the Democratic National Committee selected Fowler to serve as a director for the Clinton 2016 presidential campaign. Fowler is quoted to have been critical of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, saying Trump had a “superb marketing department” but “not a sales team,” which Fowler asserted would cost Trump the 2016 election. 8 Fowler is also a contributor to the left-leaning Huffington Post. 9
- “Who We Are.” The Democracy Labs. Accessed July 2, 2020. https://thedemlabs.org/who-we-are/.
- Millstein, Seth. “How To Find An Abortion Clinic Near You With One Simple Text.” The Democracy Labs, June 1, 2019. https://thedemlabs.org/press/how-to-find-an-abortion-clinic-near-you-with-one-simple-text/.
- “Democracy Labs Uses Nexalogy Tech to Study Coronavirus Misinformation.” GlobeNewswire News Room. “GlobeNewswire”, March 12, 2020. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/03/12/1999351/0/en/Democracy-Labs-uses-Nexalogy-Tech-to-Study-Coronavirus-Misinformation.html.
- “Partners: Deepak Puri.” Democracy Partners. Accessed July 1, 2020. https://www.democracypartners.com/partners/deepak-puri.
- “Deepak Puri.” Epolitics.com Posts by Deepak Puri. Accessed July 1, 2020. http://www.epolitics.com/author/deepakpuri/.
- “The Great Battlefield.” How the Resistance is Mobilizing. Accessed July 1, 2020. https://www.resistancedashboard.com/the-great-battlefield.
- “Donnie Fowler.” Climate One, May 13, 2015. https://www.climateone.org/people/donnie-fowler.
- Marinucci, Carla. “DNC Taps Silicon Valley CEO to Head Clinton ‘Get Out the Vote’ Operation.” Politico PRO, September 29, 2016. https://www.politico.com/states/california/story/2016/09/dnc-taps-silicon-valley-ceo-to-head-critical-clinton-get-out-the-vote-operation-105941.
- “Donnie Fowler.” HuffPost. Accessed July 2, 2020. https://www.huffpost.com/author/donnie-fowler.