How You Can Save Democracy

“Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he could do only a little.”
Edmund Burke

You’re reading this because you understand that we are months away from losing our Democracy.

Our government institutions have been taken over by authoritarians, wanna-be oligarchs, Trump, and Trump’s handlers. The DOJ is complacent, SCOTUS is complicit, and Congress is corrupt. 

Republicans, conservative media, and dark money are inundating our minds with fear-mongering, scapegoating, disinformation, and conspiracies. They have convinced millions of Americans that everything is falling apart and everyone is against them – and that it all needs to be destroyed. Meanwhile, mainstream media is trivializing modern politics and glossing over the battle between democracy and authoritarianism with their bothsidesism and their unwillingness to discuss what is at stake.

The bottom line is that we, the people, with our ability to vote are the only remaining guardrail of Democracy. But sitting around and worrying until election day is not enough – there’s more we can and must do right now

Help Create an Overwhelming Victory

The most important and time-critical thing you can do is engage as many in this fight as you can. We need to win in November 2024, not just to overcome gerrymandering and the Electoral College, but to make this election too big to steel, too big to contest, and “too big to rig”. The best way to counter all the attempts to invalidate a Biden win is an overwhelming victory.

We need to understand and spread awareness of the dangers our Democracy and the world face. We need to build a strong grassroots movement to motivate and mobilize as many new voters and voices as possible.

Start by Talking

Making the most of your chats

You can’t talk to everyone you know, so it’s important to prioritize. There are two categories of people to talk to – those you know who will vote Blue and those who won’t. It’s important to talk with both.

The purpose of talking with committed Blue voters is to get them to spread the word and grow the vote. This should be fairly easy and can often be done with a simple email or chat. Share this or other articles with every Democrat or left-leaning person you know. They need to understand what’s at stake in November (they may not realize just how bad a Trump will be) and they need to pull in others. If this grassroots effort to save Democracy is to succeed, we all must start sowing our own seeds now.

Other folks will take more work but we must engage them hard. Talking only to Blue voters is useful to expand the conversation but the main point is to grow the vote. There’s no magical one-size-fits-all discussion but there are strategies as discussed below.

In all cases, it is critically important to prioritize those folks in areas that will send the election in either direction. This includes swing states/districts and then purple states/districts. Talking with someone in Boston isn’t as useful as talking with someone in Michigan or North Carolina. Our energy must go into these areas of the country to expand awareness and grow the vote.

Talking with young adults

Every election cycle we hear about Democrats relying on young voters and how those young voters so often disappoint. This isn’t entirely on young people – this is also on adults. Young people have always been late to political involvement – and we were no different. Even for the engaged, there is still the issue of patience and frustration with the lack of movement in Washington. With their still-developing brains dealing with technology distractions, a burning planet, an increasingly dysfunctional government, and built-in boredom, it’s easy to see how they would check out of politics.

If we expect young voters to save our Democracy then we must help them. We can’t just tell our young adult children/relatives/neighbors to vote, we have to help them understand what’s at stake for them, their friends and family, and their planet. 

Here is a deeper dive into helping our young voters save our world.

Talking with Independents, the disengaged, and protest voters

Even though we had a record turnout in the 2020 general election, one-third of eligible voters (80 million people) stayed home. There are plenty of reasons why voters have checked out of or were never interested in politics, but now their votes are desperately needed. If anyone is disengaged or Independent at this point then they simply don’t know what’s going on. Protest voters need to understand a vote against Biden and the Democrats is literally a vote against Democracy and they will never be allowed to vote their conscious again. If you know any of these folks, sit down and talk with them, because you can be certain the Right is going after these voters harder than the Left. (some approaches here)

Talking with the right 

Your time and energy are probably best spent on others, but subtracting a vote from the Right and adding to the Left would be a good thing. Engaging the Right is tricky business and it’s hard to know if you should even bother. Some Republicans are approachable, but many are not – at least in the near term. Trump followers can be particularly challenging for reasons that are well beyond the scope of this article.

If you have MAGA or Republicans in your life then consider talking with them. Take a look at the approach outlined here – they may be more approachable than you think.

Other Ways to Save Democracy

Keep ridin’ with Biden

It’s important to course-correct folks if Biden’s age comes up in conversation. Remind folks of all the successes that Biden has had – especially considering the mess he was handed and the fact that Republicans are doing all they can to stop him and destroy Democracy.

Mainstream media, doing its best to ignore our march to authoritarianism, continues to analyze every blink and breath of Presiden Biden while completely ignoring the rambling, lying, and threats of Donald Trump

Things are unraveling across the globe and we need a leader with experience, confidence, and empathy.

Invest in Democracy

This one is big – Democracy will live or die right here.

Because SCOTUS has opened so many doors allowing money in politics, elections cost a fortune. When money determines elections that is a huge advantage to billionaires and corporate America so we need to dig deeper into our pockets this year – very deep. Think of it as an investment.

When considering how much you can donate, consider your net worth, your investments, and government services such as Social Security. Consider the future of your health, your job, the economy, and your children in an authoritarian state. Now think about what you might waste your money on over the next few months if this was a normal election year – don’t waste that money, invest it.

If you’re able, it’s important to donate to state and local campaigns as well as the national level. Republicans have discovered that they can destroy Democracy from the bottom up and have infiltrated our state and local governments, right down to our school committees. Here, they’ve restricted voting rights, removed abortion rights, rejected healthcare funding, banned books, etc. If you live in a SOLID blue district or state look for districts or states where you could direct your money.

Investing in Democracy is the best way to protect your investments and your donations in 2024 will be the best investment you could ever possibly make.

Get involved with Democracy

Engaging in local and state politics is not only informative and rewarding, it is contagious. Contact the Democratic Party in your state to see how you can help. They should be able to direct you (and your recruited friends) in making phone calls, knocking on doors, throwing a postcard party, etc. If they can’t, then reach higher up in the Democratic Party until you can find someone who can help.

Consider writing opinion pieces for your local papers. Red or purple areas of the country might require generic topics such as climate change, Project 2025, SCOTUS, or local issues. You have more options in blue areas. Avoid insulting MAGA – we’re better off trying to win some back.

Invest in Freedom of the Press

“A well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

There are three types of news today:

  • Right-wing media, which is actively driving our Democracy over a cliff
  • Mainstream media, which pushes “balance” over truth, entertains us with action and scandal and cares only about advertising dollars.
  • Independent journalism, which pursues truth and endeavors to help us understand the world today. 

The first two are backed by either oligarchs or corporate media, and both spend millions of dollars to make sure their agenda or content is shoved into our faces every day all day. The third is barely alive and they are going out of business.

Nobody likes those “paywall” pop-ups asking you to pay for an article or subscribe to a news website, but they keep our best journalism alive. Consider selecting a few journalists or independent new websites to support. Not only will you have access to the articles that caught your attention in the first place, but it will also help ensure that quality reporting continues to be available to others and counter the continuous flow of manipulative, mind-numbing news. Think of it as a solid investment in democracy.

Suppress voter suppression

Depending on where you live, the above actions might not be enough. Voter suppression laws are being passed all around the country and they will quickly negate your efforts.

Contact Democratic organizations in your state to learn about voter suppression activities and find out what they are doing about it. Get involved with their efforts to counter any pending or passed laws. If they are not doing anything about it then push them to.

Whether it is happening in your state or not, make voter suppression part of your narrative about the attack on Democracy when talking with others. Remind folks that billionaires are almost always behind these voter suppression efforts. Then ask if they can recall the last time a billionaire did something for them. Voter suppression laws may be focused on minority groups now, but they can later be focused on anyone.

Lastly, make sure you haven’t been purged. Visit these links https://www.vote.org/  and https://www.dontgetpurged.org/ ASAP to confirm your eligibility to vote and to learn about voting in your area. Be sure to bookmark them and check back once in a while to protect against ongoing voter disinformation and purging.

Summary

Okay, that was quite a bit. Pick the actions that you can make time for and that you feel you’ll be successful at. But also keep in mind that it’s always good to step out of your comfort zone…

Remember to not talk down to people – that always backfires. No insults, smirks, or rolling eyes. Not a hint of being a jerk. No matter who you engage with, always show and practice gratitude and humility – these are the building blocks of happiness and peace of mind.

Make sure you know when voter registration ends in your area. Make sure people you talk to go out and register. Help them register. Take them to vote and then take them out to lunch.

Don’t think your small actions won’t make a difference – they absolutely will, because just like the efforts to destroy our Democracy, when it comes to saving it, the whole is certainly greater than the sum of the parts.

Tools To Help Biden and the Democrats Win

Check your Voter Registration to ensure it hasn’t been changed or deleted. Start with the National Association of Secretaries of State site to find your state’s website: https://www.nass.org/can-I-vote/voter-registration-status 

 

https://www.vote.org/ register to vote and to vote. This is the Website that Taylor Swift used to refer her fans to register to vote on her Instagram page. It’s linked to all the State Election sites to either register to vote, obtain a form to register to vote, obtain a mail-in or absentee ballot, and find your polling location, deadlines, and rules.

https://bluevoterguide.org/ To obtain a sample Ballot of all Democratic Party Candidates on the Ballot, top to bottom.

https://www.mobilize.us/ To help get out the vote, join or start a pro-democracy movement. Volunteers can text or call people to get to register to vote. Folks can vote & return their mail-in ballot right from home with just their phone and computer.

https://www.thecivicscenter.org/ National High School Voter Registration Week is September 21 to 25, 2024. National Voter Registration Day is Tuesday, September 15, 2024.