Every election feels like the most important election of our lives. Or, at least they did before we experienced a truly consequential one.
Back the summer of 2018, I warned that the ’22 midterm was likely to be the fulcrum, the election that determined whether our march away from white nationalism would build into a juggernaut or fade. That assessment seems sound, though the prospects aren’t good. 2022 is probably our last, best shot to end white nationalism in our lifetimes.
If Democrats hold the House and take the Senate then the progressive revolt sparked by Trump’s election could begin transforming the country. If they fail, Republicans will be in a position to easily nullify a 2024 Election result that they dislike, launching our second Civil War.
Right now, prospects for Democratic victory in 2022 don’t look good, but that doesn’t change the stakes. What do we need to do now?
Make local connections
Even today, all politics is local. If I can’t name a member of my city council or the mayor, my political engagement is likely little more than cosplay. Winning in ’22 will hinge entirely on turnout. It will be tough to make any impact on turnout without first knowing what’s needed in your own neighborhood.
How do I make local connections?
Start by reaching out to your local Democratic Party organization. Look for opportunities to meet people and volunteer in whatever capacity fits your capabilities. Next, find the social media pages of all your local representatives and candidates, even the Republicans. Wherever possible, participate in neighborhood events (many are online) beyond politics. Know what issues matter to your neighbors. Know what events or volunteer opportunities are coming, political or not. Share them to amplify their reach and participate where you can. Forge relationships with other like-minded people who can act as amplifying nodes in a network. Those networks will be critical later in the season.
Check your voter registration
If you live in a place with Republican leadership, and that includes some Republican counties in red states, check your voter registration. Encourage others to do the same. Make sure everyone you know is registered to vote. Do what you can to help the unregistered navigate the process. If you live in one of the states being impacted by aggressive voter suppression laws, learn their byzantine new registration rules so you can inform others.
Volunteer for campaigns
The most valuable asset in any political campaign is its volunteers. For many campaigns as high as the state house or even Congress, having a few dozen volunteers ready to help with mundane tasks can be difference between winning and losing. Somebody has to answer the phone. Someone has to deliver yard signs, coordinate block walks, stuff envelopes, make calls, man a table at an event and even sweep the floor. There are opportunities available at almost every levels of engagement. If you’re not sure where you’re most needed, contact the local party.
Volunteer to be a poll worker or election judge
There are almost never enough people to staff polling places or serve as election judges. These can be extremely important roles in places where the right to vote is under attack. Serving in person during elections is very time consuming, but most of these positions are paid. Having responsible people serving as poll workers can make a huge difference in protecting the right to vote.
Vote with your money
When we think of money in politics we conjure images of the wealthy buying politicians. What we often miss is the vast power of millions of Americans influencing public attitudes with their purchase choices. Use purchase decisions and pressure to strip rightwing figures from profit, publicity and influence. Every transaction is a vote. Check here to find out if your local service providers like doctors, dry cleaners or contractors are Republican donors and if so, let them know you’ll be doing business elsewhere. Also, look for ways you can redirect spending toward minority owned businesses.
Text banking opportunities
Movement Labs offers ways to volunteer on key campaigns nationwide even if you can’t leave home. You can help with voter turnout, vaccination efforts and other campaigns to improve communities near you or nationwide. Also check out, Postcards to Voters.
We are weaker alone and more powerful together. Forge relationships with those near you. Know your neighbors. Be someone people can come to for help with questions about registration and voting. Do it now. This month. By early summer these networks need to be in place and ready to work in the fall. This was always going to be a very difficult election for Democrats, but that’s no excuse to quit.
The thing that disturbs me is how many people don’t know/don’t care about the threat the GOP now poses to representative democracy. If it fails, it will be indifference that deals the final blow- bread and circuses is an old concept of autocrats. I can remember back when politicians who displayed such blatant cowardice and hypocrisy paid a price. This isn’t some “back in my day elected officials were honest” rant, but rather a “back in my day there were lines you just didn’t cross” rant. How quaint Watergate looks now. Trump should have been persona non grata after 1/6, and you saw the GOP briefly waver in that direction, but that was their last shot at redemption and they’re past the event horizon now. It’s beyond disgusting to see TX GOPers flaunt their sucking up to Trump in the their campaign ads. Maybe at the very least it won’t help Paxton cling to power.
Still bringing a cell phone to a gun fight I see.
You may have noted what is happening in Canada, with their own death cult attacking their national capital. There are american, trump, and confederate flags, as well as swastikas painted on Canadian flags, everywhere.
You should dig up some footage from the Ottawa chief of police saying, “We don’t have nearly enough resources to handle this occupation, we need the military to step in.”
Meantime Trudeau, who would be the equivalent of Elizabeth Warner in ideology, says “Uh, nope, that is not how democracies work, military does not get involved”.
Who knew that Canada would foreshadow what would happen in the u.s? The loser party in the u.s. continues to suffer from the delusion that “everything will be all right if we get enough people in swing states to vote dem…..”
ok, that’s knot right.
you’ve made some good points in the past Dins but this is where you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about. As a Canadian let me break this down for you.
1. do not compare what is happening up here with your death cult in the US. whilst these idiots are protesting, they are a non threat for multiple reasons. they are not trying to overthrow parliament and they lack any form of institutional backing or support among the broader public.
2. there are multiple reasons for this mostly a difference in culture compared to you Americans. but 2 of them are relevant here. firstly Canada currently has one of the highest vaccination rates of any nation on earth right now. and given our size and demography that’s quite impressive. so the overwhelming majority of Canadians have no sympathy for a bunch of anti-vaxers sitting out in the freezing cold, we just point and laugh and want them to go away so we can get to work on time.
secondly, and this is probably even more crucial. there is no institutional support among either the media or government for these people. our conservatives though not good are still largely sane. there is no one in any position of power attempting to legitimize what these people are doing. hilariously its American media figures who are supporting these people not Canadian.
3. Canadian politics has a weird relationship with nationalism that i wont go into here. but suffice to say that what you talking about with the convoy is nonsense as it will have no long term effect up here these people will disperse back into communities where their influence is blunted by the relatively small numbers. they are not going to attempt an armed insurrection to overthrow the government.
There is a reason why it looks like the convoy is now trying to move south into the US. and not just because sitting outside in Canada in the middle of winter is horribly uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous. these American LARPers are finding they have no support up here, no politician is listening t or them or trying to “address their concerns”. so they are going south where they thing they will get more support and find like minded people. the only thing I can say is good riddance.
While the odds are stacked against us, and so long as Biden remains unpopular they always will be, I did take some heart in the fact that the Democratic gerrymandering of Illinois, New York, and New Jersey have made it not as in the bag for Repubs as it once was. The fact Ohio and North Carolina’s state supreme courts both struck down the GOP-tilted maps submitted there is also giving me some cautious optimism.
At the very least Dems better be campaigning like HELL among Latino voters. Equis Research found that a big contributing factor in the Clinton-Trump shift among them was Dems taking them for granted and allowing Trump and his surrogates uncontested access to their airwaves.
Still, it pisses me off that our last chance for preserving democracy is in the hands of a party that is so corrupt, inept, and complacent.
Your last sentence. It indeed may be the last opportunity with little bloodshed. On a personal level, it is challenging to associate with the Democratic Party, for the reason you state. I do appreciate Chris’s suggestions that include less partisan ways to serve. This election will require people like myself to do more than just hold my nose while I mark my ballot.
Chris, as always, thank you for the thoughtfulness of your writing.