I went to an invigorating campaign meeting yesterday. (Having run my own successful campaign, I can say this is a rarity or at least unique.) The candidate had an energized room envisioning a better future, with all of us leading the way. What he and numerous other candidates and organizers were also saying – it’s 72 days until the mid-terms. Make calls and knock doors. Armchair activism won’t change the balance of power in Washington. It’s gonna take more than five minutes.
Liking a tweet won’t get anyone to register to vote.
Sharing an article won’t make your aunt realize that, oh yeah, Trump really is surrounded by criminals and maybe the whole Republican party is corrupt.
Even going to your weekly progressive meeting won’t make anyone vote. Because it’s basically an echo chamber (with awesome people, but still).
Knocking on doors. Sounds bad? It’s not. Worst case, someone says they’re not interested. (Or maybe awkwardly says that Hilary Clinton should be in jail and you just shrug and say, “I’m just running for school board…”) Best case, you have an in-depth conversation about people and their real thoughts and concerns for their family, city, or state. You make eye contact, a connection. You convince a voter to go to the polls.
- A t-shirt! I have lots now!
- Mad clipboard skills. Learn how to keep your turfs organized, while not dropping walk pieces, and ensuring you don’t lose your pen.
- Exercise. It’s walking!
- Companionship. Canvassing isn’t anything to do alone, especially as a woman. Grab a friend. You’ll chat, get lost, and laugh. Guaranteed.
Make those calls. Phone banking. Yet another one of the hardy standbys of campaigns. Phone calls are even easier (though less interesting) than canvassing. Wanna know why? Lots of those phone numbers are disconnected or wrong. So you’ll make a call, no one answers, you skip to the next number.
What if someone does answer? Well, neither of you have to see each other. You could even come up with a phone banking name or alter ego! You have a brief conversation about the candidate or issue, check a few boxes, and move on to the next.
No t-shirt usually, but there are snacks! Phone banking also can be done remotely so once you’re trained, you could do at home if pesky things like kids or work get in the way.
But all of that still sounds really, really crappy! If your stomach just churns at the thought of canvassing or making calls, there are almost always other things to do. Donating is quick and easy of course. If you don’t have extra cash, then consider volunteering in other ways. Write post cards. Enter data. Write blogs telling other people to do those things!
In all seriousness, this shit is real. Trump surrounded (surrounds?) himself with criminals. Republicans have time and again shown themselves to be corrupt. They also just gave a giant tax cut to the rich and are right now trying to take away food stamps from kids. KIDS!!! And those are just three of SO MANY reasons to get Democrats elected.
Find your candidate. Fill out the volunteer page. Then fill your social media with YOUR photos of making calls and knocking doors. Then get a friend to do it too.