I Don’t Know What Will Happen, But I Know This Matters
I don’t know what’s going to happen in these midterms, but I do know that millions of people all over the country are going to come together and vote for a better future. I do know that all over the country there are volunteers - in every city, in every state encouraging people to use their vote and their voice, helping with complicated ballots, making sure that polls are open and accessible and that people can cast their vote safely.
It’s that time in every election cycle where frustrations start to boil over. This voter contact method is useless, you should try that one. This poll has us losing by ten points while this one has us winning by three. This is just a hobby, this is condescending, this is useless. This is the moment where the little voice in the back of my head, the one with anxiety, and that refuses to be soothed starts to wonder if it will be enough, if any of it will be enough.
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Like I said - I don’t know what’s going to happen. And I’m not a social science researcher - I don’t have any definitive answers on the best methods of voter contact or the best way to read polls. I don’t know if it is going to be enough. I don’t know if it will ever be enough.
But I also know this. I know that when my dad and I were knocking on doors in Pennsylvania this weekend, there were people who didn’t want to talk to us and people who still didn’t know who they were going to vote for. But there were also people glad to see us, glad to talk about how crazy things feel right now, appreciative of the information we had about voting, and enthusiastic about taking their kids and their spouses and their friends. There were people who, when we asked if they could talk to a few friends about voting, said they already had and they would keep doing it. They said “my friends hate me this time of year because I’m always on them about voting!” and I said “me too!” with a grin.
If you’re on social media these days, this anxiety might feel familiar to you. The shifting sands of everyone trying to predict the outcome of something when anything could happen. Reporters state facts about our chances and I feel like they are taunting me with the score of a life or death game they get to watch from a luxury box. Someone tries to say something reassuring about a bad poll and I just want to yell “you don’t know anything, get back to work!”
(This is where I feel a need to say: “don’t worry, mom! I’m okay, I promise!”)
So here are a few more things I know. I know that organizing matters even when you don’t win. I know that every person you talk to, every phone call and text and letter and postcard, is a chance to remind someone that they are powerful, that their voice matters, that they can make a difference. I know that there are millions of us in this together, millions of people all over the country who are fighting for a better future, and who won’t stop in November no matter how the midterms turn out. I know that you are powerful, that your voice matters, and that you can make a difference.
There are 22 days until the election and that means there are 22 more days to make your voice heard and to help others do the same. Here are a few things you can do:
If you can, talk to people you know about voting. Make sure they are aware of upcoming deadlines to register, to get absentee ballots, and to early vote. Vote Save America has some great graphics for that on their instagram, and obviously I also used it as the image for this post. Sharing this stuff on social also TOTALLY COUNTS.
There’s still 12 days left to write letters to voters with Vote Forward and Postcards to Voters still has addresses. Even if you just have five postcards, or you can only write five letters, that still counts! That’s five whole people who wouldn’t have gotten anything if it weren’t for you!
Text bank with NextGen to reach young voters. Young voters can make or break an election, and NextGen is dedicated to reaching out to them. Text banking is super efficient and you can do it in your PJs with a glass of wine and some comforting television.
Make some donations! Republican mega wealthy donors are flooding the zone with massive donations to their candidates in the last few weeks of the campaign. Democrats raise more money over the course of the campaign, but they don’t get the influx for media buys at the end of campaign season that Republicans do. Make some donations to help them reach more voters. You can find several funds here which will disperse your funds where they are most needed.
My final ask is that you share what you’re doing. It’ll make me feel better, it’ll make other anxious beans feel better, and it might even make YOU feel better. We’re all in this together, part of a huge community of people building a better world. And I’m so glad to be here with you.