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, Trump, and Trump’s handlers. The DOJ is complacent, SCOTUS is complicit, and Congress is corrupt. Merrick Garland has been sitting on his hands, Speaker Johnson is handing Ukraine to Putin, and SCOTUS is letting Trump get away with a coup 

Conservative media, social media, and dark money are convincing millions of Americans that everything and everyone is against them and it all needs to be destroyed. Meanwhile, mainstream media is trivializing modern politics and is 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 it’s not enough to just sit around and worry until election day. We all have to do more and do it now. Authoritarians are destroying Democracy from the bottom up and that’s where we need to fight back. 

The battle for Democracy is in your backyard and it is now or never…seriously.

Here’s what you can start doing now:

Help Create an Overwhelming Victory

First, make this a grassroots effort

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 all need to truly understand what’s at stake in this election and we all need to push back wherever and however we can. We need to create a greater awareness that Democracy is truly at stake and we need to build a stronger grassroots movement to motivate and mobilize as many new voters as we can.

Share this article with every Democrat or left-leaning person you know. Don’t be shy about it – share your ideas with them, ask them their thoughts, and ask them to pull in others. If this grassroots effort to save Democracy is going to succeed then it needs you to start sowing the seeds.

Engage 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. We have to understand that young people have always been late to political involvement – and we were no different. Even for the youth who are engaged there is still the issue of patience and frustration with the lack of movement in Washington. With their still-developing brains having to deal 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.

Engage 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 right 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 quite literally a vote for fascism and they will never be allowed to vote again.

If you know any then engage them on this issue. Importantly, do this in private. Here are some basic points to gently get across – they are simplified here for brevity.

  • If they don’t know about Project 2025 then tell them about it. Learn about it yourself if you need to.
  • Both sides aren’t the same – the “both sides do it” argument is long gone
  • Explain to them what authoritarianism/fascism looks like
  • Remind them of the things their government does
  • Remind them that once Democracy is gone, it’s not coming back.
  • Show them how Republicans and conservatives corrupted our government
  • Remind them that if they’re not voting then they’re voting for Trump
  • Yes, Palestine is a mess, but there will be many more such messes if Trump becomes President.

You can be certain the Right is going after these voters harder than the left is…

Engage 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 would be a particular challenge for reasons that are well beyond the scope of this article.

So, job one is to determine if it’s worth your effort – some general guidelines:

  • Don’t waste your time with people you don’t know
  • Stick with friends and family – people with whom you have history and memories
  • Get a sense of how approachable they might be
  • It is critical to do this in private – they will be more defensive if you don’t

Understand that this will take quite some time. It won’t be a quick chat of talking points and rebuttals – that will be counterproductive

If you think you know folks that you can engage with then take a look at the approach outlined here. It includes tips on how to avoid alienating them and ruining relationships.

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 bring up Biden’s age and exaggerate the concern of Democrats.  What they don’t tell you is this:

  •  They’re both old and whoever wins the 2024 election will be the oldest person ever sworn into the White House
  • If Trump wins next November, this extremely dangerous man will never leave

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

Other Ways to Help

Support your state and local candidates

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

Republicans have discovered that they can destroy Democracy from the bottom up. They 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, ban books, etc. 

If you’re able, it’s important to donate to Democratic candidates for your state legislature. This will be the best investment you’ll ever make because all the guardrails that protect you and your children are already on the Republican chopping block. If you live in a solid blue district or state then look for districts or states where you could direct your money.

When thinking about 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 childing in an authoritarian state. Now think about what you might waste your money on over the next few months.

Your donations in 2024 will be the best investment you could ever possibly make.

Also, get involved. 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 the Democratic Party until you can find someone who can help local organizers.

There have been several important elections since the 2020 midterms and the Democrats did quite well, but only because there was a groundswell of local activists and funding, we have to repeat that.

This is no joke and it’s worth repeating – Democracy is going to live or die right here.

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.

Does that mean you should punt if it’s going on in your state? Nope – it means to make voter suppression part of your narrative about the attack on Democracy. Remind folks that once some of us lose the ability to vote then anyone can – this is an important thing to remind folks of. Also, remind folks that billionaires are almost always behind these efforts to weaken our country. 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.