How To Talk A Disillusioned #Resistance Fighter Off The Ledge

Featured image Creative Commons CC0 via pxhere


This morning I met a loyal Democrat friend for a quick morning walk. The weather was gorgeous, and as always I enjoyed her company. Her shoulders, though, hung a bit further south than normal. In her eyes, I could see defeat. “Wendy,” she cautiously queried, “do you think Trump is going to be reelected?”

“We’re a week away from the midterms, let’s not even think about 2020,” I responded, in probably a harsher tone than I intended. The question, though, inspired me. My friend is far from the only Democrat who feels defeated, long before the midterm votes are counted. I decided it’s time to do my part, which is to create a survival guide for the disillusioned voters.

Don’t even think about Republicans

Since the 2016 election, even the so-called liberal media has bombarded us with stories about getting inside the heads of Trump voters. I’ve seen a lot of liberals and Democrats on social media preaching the same, that the only way to win is to bring some of those MAGA votes to our side. Do you want to know how much interest the MAGA voters have in kumbaya with us? There’s an entire Twitter thread dedicated just to pissing us off:

Oooh, burn. To be fair, there is a thread called #pissingoffconservatives, but it has just six posts.

Think about your social media engagement with conservatives. Do either of you enter the conversation to listen? Are either of your minds open to change? Doubtful. Beyond that, though, Trump’s approval rating is under water, at just 44 percent. Only 24 percent of people identify as Republican, and when Trump was elected, it was by just 26 percent of the population. Why are we bending over backwards to give voice to just a quarter of the country, while they try to silence ours? Do we actually think we are going to change their minds? Here’s the thing about highly partisan voters (and trust me, these people are exactly that), when they make a mistake, they dig their heels in. There’s no convincing. Who cares? We don’t need them. We need the other 3/4ths of the country. Unfollow all your MAGA friends until at least Tuesday, even if that means unfollowing your best friend. They won’t know it, but your social media will be a little more peaceful.

Don’t think about 2020

We are two years away from the next presidential election, but right now, only one election matters. Stop playing Presidential Dream Ticket like it’s a game of fantasy football, and focus on the goal line in front of us (my apologies for the bad sports analogy). At this time in 2006, few people in America even knew who Barack Obama was. Stop freaking out over hints that Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, or Michael Avenatti might run for president. That’s the way this thing works. We get a whole bunch of maybes, followed by a handful or two of contenders, followed by the actual nominee. Most people who hint at running for president don’t, and most people who do run for president don’t make it past their party’s primary. There’s a good chance that few outside political circles have ever heard of the person who will be our next president.

Oh, and for those, like Avenatti, who say that our next nominee needs to be a white man, f*ck you. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, despite Russian interference, voter suppression, and at least 25 years of political hit jobs against her and her husband. Given that, it’s pretty easy to imagine that a qualified, relatively baggage free woman could win. As for the “white” part of his statement, well, I think you remember that our last Democratic President wasn’t white.

Realize that you aren’t in this alone

Sometimes the Trump administration is a bit too much for our sanity to handle. We have trouble sleeping, our eating habits are suffering, and anxiety is at a high. The keyword in that sentence is “we.” There’s a whole new therapeutic cottage industry dedicated to Trump Anxiety Disorder.

More importantly, there are far more powerful, far more influential people than you or me, giving every waking hour to ensure that this election is a true blue tsunami. They are targeting the right voters, challenging voter suppression, and helping people overcome voting hurdles. They’re also spending a lot of money to defeat Republicans, and most of this is happening behind the bluster. Sure, you may say, they did that in 2016 too. Yes, they did, but few knew how deep and serious the threat was. Now they’re (we’re) more prepared.

Don’t follow polls

My friend asked me what Nate Silver was saying about this election. She had every right to expect an answer. In 2016, I could quote near up to the minute numbers. Not this year. I am not giving the polls a minute of my time. What possible benefit is there to me knowing the poll numbers? None. All I can do is what I can do. More on that in a bit.

Don’t watch the news

I work from home. Most days, MSNBC or CNN is my background noise. Not now. While I follow non-political news on serious news sites (this is a great time to be reading The Guardian or other non-American publications), following politics right now is more stressful than anything Halloween might throw at you. Just like with the polling, you knowing the latest racist, tone-deaf Trump Twitterrhea helps no one, at least not those who are Voting Blue, No Matter Who.

Vote

You are voting, right? If you’re not, ignore everything above and turn on the damn news (something other than Fox) and see what’s happening in this country.

Take people with you to vote

In 2016, there were nearly twice as many non-voters as Trump voters. They are the demographic we need to be focusing on, not on changing Republicans’ recalcitrant minds. Bribing people at the voting booth is a long-held no-no, but offering to take a friend to lunch after the two of you vote is just fine. If you aren’t registered, and it’s too late, you can still take others to vote.

Reach out to voters

If you live in a contested district, knock on doors. If you don’t, phone bank, and/or send letters or post cards.

Don’t expect perfection

Disengaged voters love to complain that Democrats don’t have a message. While that’s not exactly true, perhaps Democrats would have an easier time forming a coherent message if we led the way. For example, the vast majority of Democrats agree that we should have a healthy climate, affordable health care, free and open elections, and basic human rights for all. How much of that do Republicans want? None of that. They actively campaign for climate change, for unaffordable health care, voter suppression and removing rights from everyone who isn’t a wealthy white Christian man. Instead of sitting out because your Democratic Senate candidate didn’t include free college for all in their platform, vote for the candidate who will get us closer to our core values, and work on pushing them over the finish line when they get in.

If you’re one of those “my vote doesn’t matter” people, ask yourself why Republicans are trying so hard to keep you from voting, and then get out there and vote.

Now I leave you with a bit of good news

I won’t cite polls, exactly, but I will tell you that new voter registrations are up. Early voting is also up, but it’s likely more Republican than Democrat. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Democrats tend to vote later, and use that statistic to scare the hell out of Democrats who haven’t voted. Overall, Democrats always do better when more people vote.