There are 85 days before the November elections. Just 85 days. We can’t afford to wish that time away in the hopes that we will dump Trump, so at least part of this nightmare will end. Or spiral with fear or anxiety at the thought that he might actually win, no matter how hard we work or how incomprehensible a win for Trump would be after all we have been through.
We have 85 days of hard work ahead, and so many things have changed since February that the title Playing to Win doesn’t seem to fit anymore.
Here, in this thread? I’d like to focus on what we can do.
There is so much that is outside our control that it can get to be overwhelming. Not to mention anxiety-producing. Especially when Trump shits out democracy-destroying actions multiple times a day. That’s his real operation warp speed.
I’ll start with a list of 15 things that we can do. Just so you know, I’m gonna pick some obvious ones and count on all of you to supply 70 more by the end of today. But first, a bit of levity.
Here’s What We Can Do.
- When you read or read something or hear Trump has done that enrages you or makes you feel sick, find one thing on this list and do it.
- Request an absentee ballot (or similar) for yourself.
- Talk to everyone you know about requesting an absentee ballot (or similar).
- Sign up to Adopt a State at Vote Save America.
- Donate directly to candidates and organizations that are organizing in targeted areas, such as Texas.
- Write postcards.
- Make calls to voters.
- Get involved in a texting campaign for your preferred candidate.
- Get involved in “literature drops” where you drop off literature, but don’t knock on doors.
- Donate to one of DougJ’s fundraisers – they are all listed in the sidebar under Political Fundraising.
- Update your voter registration signature.
- Contribute to a fund for helping Florida felons pay off their fines.
- Make calls to congress.
- Take action to help save the post office.
- Contact a media outlet about their bullshit coverage.
- Contribute resource information to these threads.
- Try to enlist one friend or family member to take up the fight for the next 85 days.
- If you feel hopeless or helpless, change something up. Making just one change can help.
- Share the things you have done in one of these threads. You can add inspiring other people to your list of contributions.
- Make sure your voter registration is current. Check every week or two.
- Sign up to be a poll watcher or election judge, if you feel that would be safe for you.
- Attorneys can offer their services for election day. (Not sure what the process is for that.)
- Hold Mike Bloomberg’s feet to the fire on donations he promised. Or get him to pay Florida felon fines.
- Join efforts to help with voter education for filling out ballots by mail, so ballots don’t get invalidated.
- Research all 50 states re: voter education for filling out ballots by mail, and share the info with all of us.
- Figure out how to get more drop boxes for ballots or join efforts that are already in progress.
- Contact the campaign of your choice and ask them how you can help.
- Join your local Indivisible group.
- Write up something about an organization you are working with for spotlighting in a future What We Can Do post.
- Fill out the 2020 census! (if you haven’t already)
- Does your state have a Student Election Page program? (VA does) If so, get word out to high school civics departments/teachers.
- Research the Student Election Page program, find out which states have that, and share the info with all of us.
- Know someone who could write postcards to voters, but doesn’t have $ for stamps? Buy forever stamps for their postcards.
- Go to the Run For Something candidate directory (there are ~500 young progressive candidates running at all levels of gov’t) and find someone running nearby and see if there’s something you can do to help them out.
- Know any American citizens who live in other countries? Hook them up with votefromabroad.org to make sure they request their ballots.
- Investigate whether drop-off ballots are available in your area. Investigate for extended family, as well. Democrats only.
- Post Office: return all pre-paid envelopes, empty, so the Post Office gets the revenue.
- Post Office: reduce your mail through the post office in the run-up to the election to help reduce the need for overtime.
- Post Office: buy a batch of Forever stamps for someone on a fixed income.
- Post Office: complain to your senators and representative about prescriptions not arriving in time & late fees and bad credit scores because your bill payments are not arriving within a reasonable amount of time.
- Volunteer with SPLC Action Power Hours – the first one is August 13 from 7-8 Eastern Time.
- Donate or get involved with Democracy Docket to safeguard vote by mail.
- Donate or get involved with The Brennan Center.
- Donate or get involved with Fair Fight.
- Donate or get involved with Let America Vote.
- Donate or get involved with VoteRiders. They have state by state info on in-person and vote by mail, plus assists with voter ID if your state requires it for registration or voting.
- Donate or get involved with NDRC (Obama / Eric Holder National Democratic Redistricting).
- Donate or get involved with the ACLU.
- Donate or get involved with the Southern Poverty Law Center.
- Donate or get involved with Juanita Jean’s Help Flip Texas.
- Donate or get involved with No Democrat Left Behind (rural democrats).
- Election Day: Hand out chilled water or order pizza to be delivered for people in long lines.
- Election Day: Hand out individually packaged chips and snacks to people who are in long lines.
- Election Day: Hand out a list of the nearest bathroom and offer to hold place in line.
- Election Day: Bring portable music.
- Election Day: Bring masks and cotton gloves, hand sanitizer for folks who might not have them.
- Know this and share it: When Absentee/Mail Ballot Processing and Counting Can Begin in every state.
- Vote Save America has links to every state with voter information– registration deadlines, absentee vote requests. Check it out and share the information with every voter you know.
- Know your state. If early voting is scanned into the machines and reported along with the election day results, when polls close on election day, consider early voting if you feel it is safe. Share that information with others.
- Know what your state handles it if a mail in or absentee ballot is rejected. A surprisingly high percentage of mail ballots rejected, so it’s important to know what happens in your state. (We can collect this for states if you share info here.)
- Tell us what you know about the organization Turnout 2020. Should they be recommended, or not?
- Get informed about the candidate’s record and virtues. Then broadcast them far and wide when an attack comes, whether it’s from a relative or on social media. Again, avoid referencing the attack if you can. (Cheryl Rofer)
- Read this: How to Counter Trump’s Attempt to Manipulate the Election and the Census.
- Kamala Harris: ProgressivePunch.org rates Kamala as one of the top progressive legislators in the Senate
- Kamala Harris: 50 Criminal Justice Reforms & Accomplishments by Kamala Harris
- Read Margaret Sullivan’s very good column about how the media should respond to Kamala Harris. There are ideas there for all of us to think about in our communications.
Yes, I can count. I ended up spotting you guys 18 items, which is an extra 3.
If we all do one thing every day, even if it’s one small thing, we can win this. Let’s come up with a menu of 85 things we can do, some big, and some small, in the 85 days we have left. Surely on any given day, we can each find one thing from the list that we can do. Right?
I hope you’ll help come up with a list, and please chime in below with a comment if you’re willing to commit to doing one thing every day between now and November.
Update at 8:15 pm: we just passed the halfway point to 85. Keep the ideas coming. ~WG
If I may, I’d like to borrow heavily from it for my next Letter-to-the-Editor in our local mullet-wrapper, the Sun Herald.
@Bo: Thanks. This list belongs to everyone who contributes to it, so share away.
Yes, get a ballot and make sure your registration is current. Go to Vote.org. All you need is a printer. Takes about 3 minutes.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Thanks so much for this post, WaterGirl!
@AnotherBruce: Thanks. I’m updating the list as we go.
I loved writing postcards in 2018, and am committing to writing and mailing at least 250 on behalf of Democratic candidates. More if my arthritic fingers hold out.
ETA: And bless you for this initiative, WG!
Question for #JackalMind (especially those knowledgeable about election law): I have a great many Canadian friends who regularly end their expressions of horror with “I wish there was something I could do.”
Query: IS there, in fact, anything they can legally do to help? Obviously they cannot give money, but is any kind of volunteering on behalf of a US campaign permitted for foreigners?
@SiubhanDuinne: Not an attorney, or a specialist in election law, but I wonder if they could contribute to a group that is registering people to vote. Or to the fund for Florida felons.
I would think one could click on a link to donate, and look for whether you have to check a box saying you are a citizen on the US.
Certainly worth checking out! Thanks for the suggestion.
Excellent list, WaterGirl. Thank you. Lots of good suggestions.
Things I’m already doing
For next week.
Good job!Make that great job!!
Do you have anything to add to the list? We’re at 21, there’s a long way to go to get to 85. Hope I wasn’t too ambitious!
Small thing to help the post office…
I take every pre-paid envelope (e.g. unsolicited sales things, credit cards, etc.), seal it up empty, and put it in the mail. That generates some more bulk revenue for the post office *and* costs those companies money in processing!
I don’t do stupid shit like putting glitter in them as that is mean to the people who process them.
@SamInWa: Yeah, I’d like to flesh out the list with concrete things we can do to help the post office. That general idea was just to get us started. thanks.
What exactly is keeping Mike Bloomberg from pitching in and paying fees for voters in Florida, or anything, for that matter?
We should be holding his feet to the fire!
WaterGirl, thanks for this list! I tried 6 for a few days, but disliked phone banking, so have 5, Postcards to Voters, open on my browser. As a one-time Florida resident, I’ve donated to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, 9, and probably will again. I’ve got a huge mental to-do list, and this list will help me get going.
BTW, because I adopted Florida, I’m on the https://votesaveamerica.com/ email list; they’ve moved on from FL and this weekend they’re phone-banking and texting voters in Texas.
Never would have thought of that, but what a swell idea! And, because I am a clutterer, I have LOTS of these envelopes kicking around. This is great motivation to clear away some of the paper stacks AND do a good deed on behalf of the USPS. Thanks!
P.S. In my note about writing postcards again this year, one of the side benefits, of course, is purchasing a shitload of stamps. More revenue for the Post Office!
I donate to Let America Vote, VoteRiders, Obama and Eric Holder’s redistricting organization the NDRC, and the ACLU. They are all working to keep voting fair, open, and safe for all Americans.
I have volunteered and started writing letters to low propensity voters through Vote Forward, which I found out through Indivisible.
Indivisible’s mission statement is:
They have a “take action” section for all kinds of volunteering.
I had a thought while in a Twitter thread: if your county does not have drop boxes, maybe get an initiative going at the county level to enact a drop box system. Or request more drop boxes for absentee/mail-in votes to be deposited since it doesn’t look like the situation at the Post Office is going to get better. If we can’t get DeJoy to reverse course (fun fact: we won’t) then let’s see if we can get alternatives going.
The next day after the announcement of the pandemic I decided to devote my morning hours until noon to give the correct information with citation to where the truth did not exist. Certainly the current change into the addition of the election began to be inserted with the pandemic more recently. Although it has become more difficult to work with, I am not giving up what I started doing originally. Although I never told it during the primary, I was for Joe Biden on the first day he walked across the stage as a candidate.
I am an introvert with an appetite for physical engagement with a face to face community. A year ago I spent most of my time with immigration justice. This year, nothing. A year ago I sang in the choir once or twice per week. This year, nothing. Electronic interchange does not engage me to be useful in the cause. I despair of finding a useful activity that fits my personality. Maybe carry a sign when I walk around the block in my urban neighborhood? Help!
A woman from anywhere (formerly Mohagan)
@SamInWa: Great idea! Thanks – I’ll start doing this too.
I’m doing text banking, and of course donating what I can. Another thing that was raised in our local Democratic meeting was that lots of people are going to be voting absentee/by mail this year who have never done it before, and it’s not as simple as voting in person. We need to figure out/join efforts to help people with that, so ballots don’t get invalidated.
Also, I was pleased to learn that the state electoral board here in Virginia has said that local electoral boards can establish drop boxes for ballots. I was assuming we’d need a change in the law to have that.
I must be on the right track – I had just signed up at Postcards to Voters before coming to check out this post. I have been sending out contributions and sharing info on vote by mail in Michigan to friends/family. Urging local campaigns to participate in postcard campaigns as well as phonebanking.
I REALLY like Yutsano’s idea about getting more election ballot drop boxes in the area, since USPS is undergoing attack by the maladministration; will be contacting the powers that be here in my city to see about having more drop boxes. Right now Grand Rapids only has 1 box to drop off for the entire city: not enough!
And I will check out Vote Forward too!
One of the last things I did before the pandemic really got going was canvass for Elizabeth Warren (I’m an introvert but enjoy canvassing once I get going). Once canvassing wasn’t possible, I had a hard time imagining political engagement over the ‘net. Phone banking resulted in me talking to a total of three actual humans; the rest of the time it was like Groundhog Day, wading through all the repetitions of “Hi! I’m not here–leave a message!” Anyway, as someone who shares your sentiments, my next stop will be Postcards to Voters.
I just texted an M.J. Eggar campaign representative to ask how I can help. Although I’m not keen on going door-to-door in a pandemic in the Texas heat.
@sheldon vogt: My guess is he’s waiting to be sure that Elizabeth Warren isn’t VP. Wild ass guess.
I added your Mike Bloomberg item, thanks.
@Reboot: Good for you doing that stuff, I hope you keep going. Are they done with Florida completely or they are doing Texas just for this weekend?
@Mary G: I will get all those links added to the resource page for what was Playing to Win and is now What We Can Do, unless any of you guys can figure out a better/catchier name than that.
Timeframe for adding the resources: sometime this weekend.
@randy: Well, until we come up with a better suggestion for you…
You could find links for anything people mention but don’t provide a link to. And supply names and links for any good voting-related, organizing-related, election related organizations.
I don’t know if that appeals to you, but that would help me with the resources page! Send email to my nym at balloon-juice.com if you’re interested in working with me on the resources page.
Join your local Indivisible group. Mine in OH 12 has written thousands of postcards and registered at last count 30,000 new D voters. Because of that Balderson may go down.
@Redshift: Added. We only need 61 more items to reach the goal! :-)
@randy: Maybe the suggestion in comment at #33 would work for you?
@SuzieC: I add join your local Indivisible group. I also added this, which was prompted by your mention of Indivisible.
Write up something about an organization you are working with for spotlighting in a future What We Can Do post.
Maybe you can do that for Indivisible?
@Mary G: would you be interested in doing that for any of the organizations you are working with, including Indivisible?
May I suggest adding one more item? Filling out the Census;
I did that today for my household.
@RobertDSC-Mac Mini: Added! Now we’re up to a list of 30.
edit: by the way, if you suggested something and you don’t see it on the list when you refresh, it’s because I missed it not because I didn’t think it was a good idea.
If you see that I have missed a suggestion, please call it to my attention, thanks!
Thank you, Watergirl. I needed this right now. Live in an all vote by mail & ballot dropbox state, so needed the kick to get moving. The latest news had me feeling impotent, but now I am taking action & feeling more optimistic.
Buy a large batch of forever stamps to help the Post Office and use them to mail letters, cards, jokes or similar small items to friends and relatives you can’t see in person because of the pandemic.
I’m writing postcards through my local Huddle group, trying to educate myself on election law, and plan to do some text banking starting later this month.
@BeautifulPlumage: That’s great! After I put the post up earlier, I went in and added a new snark category – Anxiety Antidote.
Sounds like I wasn’t too far off the mark!
Sign up to be a poll worker (if you’re able) and volunteer to go to a high need site. Check to see if your state has a Student Election Page program (VA does) and get word out to high school civics departments/teachers.
@BAM: I added:
Here in StL County MO we can do in-person absentee voting for Nov. 3 starting 6 weeks prior to the election which means Sept 22. That is also the first day to make an absentee ballot request. Due to the post-office shenanigans, the requirement of notarizing your ballot (in MO), and issues around signature matching & just needing to get all the i’s dotted & t’s crossed to ensure your ballot is counted I have been urging everyone I know to go the in-person absentee route as early as possible. We voted on July 16th for our August 4 primary, it took all of 5-6 minutes, and there were literally only 2 other people voting so it actually felt safer than my weekly grocery trip.
In terms of organizations to follow/support, I’ve been amazed by the work that RunForSomething is doing. I’ve been giving them a small monthly recurring donation since January 2019. From their 2020 strategic plan:
Read the whole thing.
Go to their candidate directory (there are ~500 young progressive candidates running at all levels of gov’t) and find someone running nearby in your state or next door and see if there’s something you can do to help them out.
I’m doing a number of things on the list but the simple advice I give my friends is just find one or two small things you can do every day/week. Then persist in those actions. A lot of folks feel like they need to do something big & then find themselves intimidated in following through. A recurring $3 or $5 donation to a campaign or group adds up over time. Writing 3 or 5 postcards a day adds up over time.
My heartfelt thanks to every BJer who is helping in whatever way to help the good folks over the finish line this year. Don’t forget to reward yourself for your efforts either!
Edited to add: when you are working to get friends, family, and co-workers to vote have them make a plan to vote (including when, where, transportation, etc…) and have them tell it to you. Have them write it down. Having someone make a plan to vote increases their likelihood of voting (especially for folks who aren’t super voters) quite a bit.
@Marcopolo: Would you like to write something up on Run for Something that we could feature here?
If various people would do that for organizations they are working with, it would be a great way to promote those organizations.
@WaterGirl: I can do that!
@SuzieC: Great! Write something up and send it to me by email, please! and thank you!
@WaterGirl: I will try to get you something. The other groups I support include VoteRiders, Fair Fight 2020 (which is Stacey Abrams group), and Moms Demand Action. As I said in my prior post just a tiny monthly donation to any of these groups adds up over the course of a year or two, and although I may not be doing a lot physically right now cause I am locked down for the pandemic, the folks who staff these organizations are out there working every day.
@Marcopolo: re: early voting in MO & sending postcards
Are postcards on behalf of candidates or initiatives only? I could see a use for them to send the info on early in-person voting using your first paragraph. And now that I’e asked I’ll go to the postcard website and find out for myself!
@Marcopolo: That sounds good.
I am looking for write-ups for groups where you guys know more than someone can get in a 5- minute google. Say you’re really excited about how the Stacey Abrams group was able to make a difference in x primary or they are active in 8 states, or whatever.
Save time and add details for folks who might be interested in getting involved with some group, and this could help them choose. Does that make sense?
@BeautifulPlumage: There are a ton of folks doing postcard writing. At least three (and probably more like all) of the local state house/senate campaigns I am up-to-date with are doing postcards. But my Indivisible group just did postcards for our Aug. 4 primary & there are also orgs like Postcards to Voters. If you want to write postcards, wherever you are I am pretty sure there is someone for whom you’ll be able to write them.
@WaterGirl: I am off to do dinner but I am pretty sure that I am nowhere near as good talking about RunForSomething as Amanda Litman. Just following her twitter feed is pretty astounding in terms of the stuff I learn. However, as I said, I will try to come up with something.
@WaterGirl: I don’t know, but when I was phone banking, my contact said they were winding down Florida (she was being sent to Wisconsin).
@Marcopolo: We won’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. :-)
I’m sure your writeup will be great, and it will be 1000x better than nothing.
@Reboot: Hmm. That makes me wonder if they think we have Florida in the bag, or we don’t have a shot.
Thank you for this useful list. Donate to ACLU, CREW, Southern Poverty Law Center.
@bluefish: I think most of us are probably familiar with the ACLU, and Southern Poverty Law Center. Do you want to tell us about CREW?
“Doctors and medical students across the US push to register patients to vote ” [!!]
A variety of efforts across the country have come together this month for Civic Health Month. They were motivated in part by doctors seeing how health policy has left many of their patients in worlds of hurt, and wanting to help “treat the whole patient.” Projects include encouraging voter registration by wearing tokens on ID badges and promoting voting among medical and other students on campuses and getting out information for hospital patients needing emergency ballots.
I’ve been compiling a list of volunteer orgs I thought looked interesting. Haven’t settled on one yet, but here’s the list:
Hope this is useful, sorry if any duplications, haven’t (to be honest) read the post thoroughly yet.
@prostratedragon: Really! wow
@Omnes Omnibus: Hey Omnes, would you want to look into the grassroots law organization listed in the comment just above yours and write up a little something about them for us?
@dimmsdale: Super useful, thanks!
Do you know any American citizens who live in other countries? Hook them up with votefromabroad.org
to make sure they request their ballots. (I know about this through a friend who lives in Mexico).
@WaterGirl: I just sent you an email.
Is there a way to check that your census questionnaire is in the system?
@frosty: If you did it it online, I believe the system prevents your address from being used a second time. You can go online and try. If it won’t let you, you know you’ve been counted.
@Omnes Omnibus: ok, thanks, I’ll try it.
There go two miscreants
Just forwarded the votefromabroad link to a friend who’s an expat in Qatar. Also popped over and donated to Gideon and Greenfield.
This is a great idea! Thanks for putting the ideas up. I don’t have one to add at this time but I certainly will use them.
Y’all better come up with a couple more: it’s actually 87 days until the election.
@Gary K: oops! next time I shouldn’t include a number from memory. :-)
But we’re still more than halfway to 89!
@There go two miscreants: Your mention of donations to Gideon and Greenfield made me realize that DougJ’s Political Fundraising link should be in there, so I added that in the top 10.
Someone wise once said, “All politics is local.”
I’d suggest finding a local blog or virtual group, like Indivisible mentioned above, but look beyond that as well. I visually check in with BlueVirginia.US (VA) every day. I also watch Eclectablog.com (MI). I’m sure there are others out there, even in these days of FaceBorg. I’m not a hands-on political person (maybe after I retire, maybe), but I like to lend my voice and my dollars when I can.
One thing that the RWNJs are very good about is building a kind of community among their people. People like us are often too busy living and thinking about how to make things better for our kids (if we have them) and keeping our heads above water. But we decide how to do collective action via politics and we need to let others who think like us know that we’re here too.
@Another Scott: So you’re suggesting conversation, electronic or otherwise, with folks close to your home? Long term that’s smart for sure.
I’m wondering how you think that will help us in this election. Or perhaps it helps indirectly because we’re less likely to succumb to feelings of anxiety or hopelessness that are the result of deliberate efforts on the part of Rs?