Concrete Steps

There has been a lot of articles about how people can get involved following the election of Donald Trump. I've seen a lot of articles with very good advice, and I am not going to try to sum it all up, or present a new take. This is just my opinion, as one political blogger. I hope it helps direct you into some action you may want to take.

Every single Congressperson is up for reelection in 2018, so no matter where you live, there’s work to be done. You can sign up to volunteer with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and work for Democrats in your hometown. If you feel Representative reflects your values, help them continue to do that work. If they have a primary challenger who you think would better reflect their values, volunteer for that challenger. If your Representative made one mistake, but is otherwise in line with your views, think hard before you sit out the 2018 midterms.

One my favorite Trump protest signs.

One my favorite Trump protest signs.

There are 33 Senators up for election in 2018. There are ten Democrats up for re-election in states that were won by Trump. If you live in West VirginiaNorth DakotaMontanaMissouriIndianaOhioFloridaPennsylvaniaWisconsin or Michigan, you are currently represented by a Democratic Senator who may be in real danger of losing their seat. Call their office. Offer to volunteer on their 2018 campaign. It's never to early to start organizing, and trust me, your Senators are already thinking about it.

If you are looking for places to donate money, look no further! Lots of people have been giving to Planned Parenthood in the wake of the election (some even giving in Mike Pence's name) and that's great! But there are other places people can donate to that are doing amazing work to protect women's reproductive rights. The National Network of Abortion Funds, Fund Texas Choice, and South Dakota Access for Every Woman are three organizations that help women pay for abortions, and travel to different states in order to obtain quality reproductive healthcare.

Another great place to donate is Doctors Without Borders. Doctors Without Borders travels to regions of the world that many other groups will not go, and provide life-saving healthcare, as well as preventative care, for people around the world. No matter what springs up around the world; genocide, refugees, war or famine, you can count on Doctors Without Borders to be there.

One last great place for your dollars is to donate directly to the water protectors at Standing Rock who are working to prevent the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. These water protectors are in it for the long haul, and it is starting to get cold. Donations, either in the form of cash or supplies, will help water protectors continue to fight for clean water and tribal sovereignty. 

As a "sign guy" I appreciate this deeply.

As a "sign guy" I appreciate this deeply.

There are many other amazing causes you can donate to. I encourage you to leave your favorite charity in the comments, so other people can donate as well! These are just my top charities of the moment, but there are so many great organizations doing important and meaningful work.

And finally, the easiest, and maybe most important Concrete Step for all of you to take. When Senator Harry Reid, one of the political patron saints of this blog, took a stab at reforming filibuster rules, he ended the ability to use a silent filibuster on all judicial nominees except Supreme Court justices. What that means is that unless the Republicans can get 60 votes to end debate (which is something called a cloture vote) and prevent a silent filibuster, a Supreme Court nominee won't go farther than committee. And if you're thinking, well the Democrats can't use that delaying tactic forever, you would be wrong. Current Attorney General Loretta Lynch waited 167 days to be confirmed by the Senate, because the Democrats could not do the necessary horse trading in the Senate to overcome a cloture vote. In the face of extreme judges, the Democrats can delay and demand new nominees.

But some elected officials will not take that risk without prodding.  Put your current elected officials on notice. In addition to the Supreme Court fight, there is likely to be a flurry of legislative activity, so find out who your current representative is and start to familiarize yourself with how they have voted in the past.

When you see Representatives or Senators introduce bills you do not agree with, call your Congressperson or Senator and tell them not to vote for those bills. Tell your friends to call. Tell your family to call. Write letters. Call several times. It sometimes feels hollow to call a Congressperson, and in a way it is. A lot of times, they’ve already made up their mind. But if enough constituents call, they will change their votes, if not their minds. We have seen it before, and if we mobilize, we will see it again. Finally, when you call, tell them they will not have your support in 2018 if they support certain bills. Make them earn your vote.

My friend Maya and I are starting a project that is going to make it so easy to call your Senator, you won't even believe it. The project is still in development, but it should be up and running by Inauguration Day. If you sign up, you will not miss a chance to call your Senator and do your small part to affect big change.

The  most important  thing to remember.

The most important thing to remember.