The passage of the tax bill was a clear lesson in the limits of trying to persuade Republicans to vote with us on major issues. But the elections in Virginia, New Jersey and Alabama are an even clearer lesson that we can organize to win back electoral power even in places that were unthinkable. The most important lesson of 2017 is that when we are organized we win elections. We all need to be making plans for doing our part to Take Back Congress.
These recent elections prove that there is energy and hope at the state and local levels. Here’s what we need to do:
- Field passionate, sane candidates at every level of government. Our top priority is to win back Congress but we also need to win back state legislatures and governorships in order to control the Congressional redistricting that will follow the 2020 Census. It is important to contest every elected office, and not just in swing districts. We are working for the long run - towards a nationwide political realignment.
- Encourage others - talented friends, colleagues, neighbors, relatives, yourself? . - to become involved in local politics: to serve on local advisory boards; volunteer to help local campaigns; or run for school board, city councils, special districts etc. Local government is powerful and it is the farm team for national politics.
- Support non-traditional candidates – people of color, naturalized citizens, women, LGBTQ folks, young adults and those with disabilities. We need our candidates to reflect everyone in our communities.
- Work in multi-racial, multi-ethnic coalitions to register all eligible voters, fight voter suppression, and get out the vote on Election Day. The field work in Alabama showed us what can happen when this kind of “boots on the ground” work is done by groups that reflect the demographics of marginalized populations.
- Register voters, fight Republican voter suppression and Get Out the Vote. This is the nitty gritty work and it requires setting aside time to volunteer, to campaign, to win.
Call To Action
Election Day 2018 is November 6, 2018
- First thing - make sure your voter registration is up to date and that you have the correct type of identification. Most communities will let you check your registration on line. If you move this year, make sure you update your information - Republican vote suppression efforts are focused on the details of registration and voter ID. Take a screen shot of your on line registration. Phone2Action is a new app which makes it easy to do this from your mobile.
- Form a posse. Find one or two or more like-minded folks and do this work together. Set a regular meeting time – once a week or once every two weeks or once a month – to plan, set goals and hold each other accountable. The MWR team meets once a week and that’s what keeps us going.
- Do your research now on which seats for which offices are open in your community and your state. Decide where you want to spend your time and energy and keep up with who is running for those seats.
- Check the dates for party primaries and/or caucuses in your state. Put those dates on your calendar now so you can have a direct voice in candidate selection.
- Block out time NOW to participate in late summer/early fall canvassing and registration and Election Day get out the vote efforts.
- Join with national groups that do this work. The organizations below can help you find local affiliates in your communities. Give them your time and/or money:
- Indivisible – They have expanded beyond support for contacting legislators to helping local affiliates get involved in elections. Indivisible played a role in helping turn the tide in Virginia, New Jersey and Alabama.
- Swing Left – Their app and web site will identify the congressional district nearest to you that is held by a vulnerable Republican.
- Flippable – Their app and web site gives Swing Left type info for state legislatures
- Vote Riders – helps folks get to the polls on Election Day
- Let America Vote – fights voter suppression efforts in states
- NAACP Civic Engagement Initiative – identifies and supports community organizations working to register voters and get out the vote in African American communities.
VotoLatino and National Council of La Raza – Voto Latino is focused on engaging young Latino voters and NCLR targets the broader Latino community’s engagement with elections
Take care of yourself and your compatriots. It’s going to be a long year. Build in time for self-care, joy and fun!