What are you doing to help defeat Trump? Actually looking for ideas
September 14, 2020 8:26 AM   Subscribe

What it says on the tin. Open to any and all ideas as my circumstances are sort of fluid. One thing: I'm in NYC, which is close to Philly, and Philly actually matters.
posted by schadenfrau to Human Relations (20 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
We're here in does-not-really-matter Illinois, so are doing GOTV letters to Democratic-leaning but infrequent voters through Vote Forward.
posted by DrGail at 8:38 AM on September 14 [8 favorites]

Are there any projects that send you postcards to send out, like Tom Steyer did a year or two ago?
posted by wenestvedt at 9:03 AM on September 14

Register voters. Go through your contacts. Call or text EVERYONE. Make sure they are registered, and know their polling place (and if there have been vote suppressive activities in your state they need to confirm this!), or are getting a mail-in ballot. MAKE SURE EVERYONE YOU SPEAK TO IS DOING THE SAME THING YOU ARE DOING. If you live in a safely blue state, look for phone bank efforts in other (red or purple) states to register voters or drive GOTV efforts in red states or purple states.

One thing you should know: getting a person to register CRUSHES DESPAIR.

Remember: the sacred fire of liberty is lit with a single, tiny spark.


posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 9:38 AM on September 14 [10 favorites]

Texting via Resistance Labs, writing postcards to re-enfranchised folks via Lift Every Vote , and seconding Vote Forward.

There's also a roundup of resources here.
posted by Threeve at 9:59 AM on September 14 [4 favorites]

I am donating to close-race, local-level, state-level and House of Representatives candidates directly on their websites. (ActBlue Express is amazing.) These are folks that don't need a ton of cash to win - $5, $10 or $20 to people running across the country in local and state elections can make a huge difference. For example, I donated to a bunch of folks running for statehouse seats who have a good chance of flipping their district blue - people like Akilah Bacy running in suburban Houston, Cole Fine in the western suburbs of Kansas City, Kansas and Betsy Dirksen Londrigan in central Illinois.

I'll be honest and say that this seems counter-intuitive at first, especially if you're trying to maximize your dollar's effectiveness - why wouldn't you give to the most important races? But I am doing this after being convinced to do so by Maciej Cegłowski's excellent, very readable piece from earlier this month called "Effective Political Giving" here.

This kind of donation is probably the most effective donation you can make: he argues that enthusiasm for candidates in small districts drives turnout because it is actually possible to meet and know the candidate, and since folks don't really split tickets much these days, downballot-driven enthusiasm will help Biden and Democratic representatives and senators win too.

Some local races really do turn on $50,000 or less, and having an engaged local candidate that has the funds to drive Democratic turnout in places the national candidates do not focus on is crucial. I'll quote one excerpt that really stuck with me, with my bolding:

"Let me illustrate with an example. Sara Huddleston is a state house candidate running in Storm Lake, a small town in northwest Iowa. She can expect about 12,000 people to vote in her election, and her path to victory lies in turning out Latino voters at local meat packing plants, a constituency she has been organizing for many years.

As you can imagine, these immigrant workers, disproportionately sickened by the pandemic, are not big fans of Trump or the Republican Party. But they are also not listed as likely voters in any database. As Sara explained to me in a conversation a few weeks back, getting them to vote in past years meant convincing tired, hungry people to go back out in the dark and cold after a long shift, to participate in an abstruse process that few were familiar with.

There's not enough of these voters to interest Biden (who even during the caucuses never visited western Iowa) or Theresa Greenfield, the Democratic candidate for Senate. But these voters are Huddleston's base! She can't afford to ignore them. If you give her campaign money, she will spend the money on getting those people to vote. And this year, she has over a month in which to do it.

Because people don't split tickets much anymore, it's likely that whatever votes she can get will also go to the house candidate in her race (J.D. Scholten), the Senate candidate in Iowa (Greenfield), all the way up to Biden himself."

In Philadelphia or its suburbs, I bet there's absolutely a vulnerable Democrat or a very-possible Democratic winner of a currently-Republican-held statehouse seat you can help win (and who, in turning out voters for themselves, also turn out a vote for Biden). The Pennsylvania General Assembly and Pennsylvania Senate are majority-Republican. The DLCC has this list of over 30 Pennsylvania Democrats running to take back the PA legislature. Perhaps start there?
posted by mdonley at 10:08 AM on September 14 [35 favorites]

Inadequate staffing of polling places, especially in pivotal states like PA, is going to be a very real problem. You can't volunteer yourself (Pennsylvania, like many other states, has a registration requirement for poll workers), but do you have any Philly friends you can encourage to become poll workers?
posted by la glaneuse at 10:24 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]

For tangible things you can do:
  • Verify your own registration status today and update any needed information.
  • Request a mail in ballot or make a plan to go to early voting which begins on October 24 in New York.
  • Complete your ballot as soon as you receive it and drop it in a drop box with no wait as early as September 8, just click your county name to find locations.
  • Keep those links handy for your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors. Maybe set it up as an autofill on your phone keyboard so you can text it to people. If your office has a slack chat, add the link there.
  • Consider becoming a poll worker on election day, which allows more polling places to be open. Details for New York are here.
  • Sign up with Vote Save America which has an adopt a state program so they can help you figure out how to help PA effectively, there are other states as well.
  • Donate to Wisconsin Dems at this ActBlue link to get access to a cast reunion live Parks and Rec Town Hall. Wisconsin is super duper in play. Last night was a cast reunion of The Princess Bride and it was delightful. No minimum donation as far as I can tell. There's even a link on that page to tweet about the fundraiser, so you can spread the word, show your excitement, and encourage others to donate.
  • Offer to make calls for candidates in down ballot races. These campaigns often have much less money and reach voters that are often not contacted by the candidates at the top of the ticket. Many politicians get their start in more local offices, so getting democrats into those seats produces potential candidates for future races by getting people experience in elected office. And of course, drives additional voters to the top of the ballot. Here are some resources for this info in New York.
For a perspective check: NYC also matters because in this race every state matters. The margin is going to matter. This win needs to be decisive. A tenth of a percent or a half a percent will allow us to sigh with relief, but the larger the margin the safer the transition. Sign up to be a poll worker somewhere (you may have to go to a fairly distant part of a borough), text everyone you know and ask them what their plan for voting is. Get them to commit to you that they will fill in their ballot when they receive it, or go to the polls with a neighbor. Just get them to articulate a plan that they make.

With record turnout expected, participation is more important than ever.
posted by bilabial at 10:28 AM on September 14 [4 favorites]

I live in Philly and have been asking my out-of-state friends to help write postcards to registered Dems in the city reminding them to sign up for vote-by-mail. Indivisible Philadelphia has been coordinating the effort. You can join them here.
posted by mcduff at 10:31 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]

Make a Florida voter eligible again by paying their fines and fees! You can help pay fines and fees from formerly incarcerated people whose voting rights were stripped.This fund help returning citizens with outstanding fines and fees complete their sentence and move forward with their lives. 100% of a tax-deductible donation will go to those who have completed incarceration and probation but still have to complete financial portions of their sentence.

The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition will take your donations and pay those fees to get those voters eligible again:

posted by amoeba at 10:53 AM on September 14 [32 favorites]

This is one of those circumstances where the things that do the most good and the things that are the most personally satisfying are likely to be leagues apart.

The thing you can do that will probably be the most helpful: whatever you do for money, but send some of it to Biden or the DCCC/DSCC or ActBlue or a similar organization that seems trustworthy to you. DCCC/DSCC/ActBlue have people whose whole job is to look at data and strategize about where to send money so that you don't have to. They all have people who are likely better than you at communicating and convincing.

By all means write postcards or sign up to cold-call people or register people or other stuff like that. Feels good and can't hurt (unless you're personally awkward and offputting, but if that's the case you're probably already painfully aware of that). Just make sure that time is coming off of "Watching netflix" or "fiddling with the ham radio" or other pastimes and that you're not taking time off from work to go do that, because for most people your money is more useful than your time because your money buys other people's time who can be more skilled and efficient than you at those tasks.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:00 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]

If you're talking to a Republican and they seem persuadable, remind them that they are allowed to vote for someone else. Some people don't know that. They think that if they're registered Republican, they're only allowed to vote on the Republican line.
posted by vitabellosi at 11:37 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]

We've been writing letters via https://votefwd.org/, I just donated for Florida rights restoration at amoeba's link, https://wegotthevote.org/finesandfees/ (keep in mind this one is a little urgent, Florida registration deadline is early October; there will still be need afterwards thought).
We're also going to virtual events from https://swingleft.org/ which does letter writing, phonebanking, and so on.
If you have significant tech skill, there's also https://www.techforcampaigns.org/ .
posted by nat at 1:01 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]

nyc DOES matter as I've seen dictator supporters from the south and midwest make an influx into the city since shortly before the 2016 election. they may try to stop voters from entering poll sites...iirc corb had been a delegate for cruz and posted on the blue how the dictator's brownshirts prevented anyone who didn't support him from entering the convention.
posted by brujita at 2:15 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]

SwingLeft is a great organization. They target races that have a good chance of being swung to the Democrat with a modest intervention. I've been donating regularly, and am planning to do some volunteer work with them soon.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 3:36 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]

A good way to put a stop to Trump is to have an accountable Congress that will act on its legislation and funding responsibilities. Emily's List splits donations for down-ticket House and Senate campaigns for pro-choice candidates.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:41 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]

You can volunteer with your local or state Democratic party to chase/cure absentee ballots, GOTV, recruit poll volunteers, staff voter protection hotlines, etc. Most of these activities can be done from home.
posted by Schielisque at 5:04 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]

I’m on the board of a progressive organizing group here in NYC and I’ve put together a roundup of events, all of which are local and/or virtual, and includes a bunch of stuff for PA. All sponsored by my org or others I can vouch for. Drop me a memail if you’d like me to send you the email.
posted by ferret branca at 7:10 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]

I'm sending cards with Postcards to Voters. You let it know you want to sign up, it sends you info and has you write a sample card, you send in a photo of the sample card, someone there looks at it, and then they send you as many addresses as you can handle in three days. Periodically the area / campaign you're writing about changes - I was doing the presidential election in Seminole County, FL, and now I'm writing to Kentucky voters about Amy McGrath (who is challenging Mitch McConnell). It's nice and mellow.

I'm also trying to get signed up to call and text for Biden, through their official campaign, so thanks for reminding me to try again on getting the training set up.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:49 AM on September 15 [4 favorites]

Sign up to volunteer on Biden's web site. An organizer will follow up with you.

I signed up on a candidate's site in 2016 and they got me all set up to help in a nearby state that was in play that year.
posted by eelgrassman at 7:19 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]

Thank you all so much for everything you're doing. I just donated to the Florida fund via ameoba's link, and I'm queued up for Swing Left and the Biden campaign, too.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:16 AM on September 17 [2 favorites]

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