Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Frustrated about politics? Help get out the vote in Virginia swing districts this weekend, and going forward

If you're like me, the Kavanaugh hearings have been frustrating, and just another frustrating day in a series of them -- it seems like every day Trump or the Republicans in Congress are doing something awful. While DC doesn't have a vote in Congress, we're lucky to be near a lot of swing districts in Virginia -- many of which Republicans narrowly won in the last election. And we can help elect members of Congress who believe women, who will fight the Trump agenda and advocate for progressive policies.

And this can help DC too -- electing people who won't want to meddle with DC's laws like so many current in the current congress. In the past Republicans in Congress have stopped the city from having medical marijuana, doing needle exchange programs, funding women's health services, enforcing gun control laws and much more.

There are a few options to get active -- Swing Left will connect you with local swing races, of which there are many in Virginia. There's a Columbia Heights Swing Left group too. Getting Democrats out to vote is a huge way to win races, and they'll connect you to go canvassing, the most impactful kind of volunteering, where you encourage people to get out to vote.

I've been canvassing a number of times, and while it seems daunting at first, it's really not too bad. In my experience you are talking only to specific Democrats who are either likely to vote or haven't voted in a while -- you don't knock on random doors or have to argue or persuade anyone. It's actually kind of fun, even if you aren't that outgoing or don't love talking to strangers. I'm not, and I enjoy it. Plus you are making a big impact, studies show that people are 50% likely to vote with face to face interaction.

You can also do phone banking or texting for campaigns both in Virginia and elsewhere. For example, Swing Left currently has canvassing in Virginia for Leslie Cockburn and for Abigail Spanberger against Tea Party nut job Dave Brat, plus phone banking from your house for Amy McGrath, the fighter pilot is a close race against Republican Andy Barr in Kentucky.

You can also sign up to help with campaigns directly -- for example, Jennifer Wexton is the Democrat running against Trump supporter Barbara Comstock in Virginia's 10th district, which includes parts of Fairfax County, Manassas and Loudoun County. You can sign up for volunteer events for her here.

There's also a twice a month postcard writing campaign at the Midlands, every other Wednesday. You can sign up here.

And if you can't do anything soon, there's the Swing Left bus to go to key districts in Virginia the weekend before the election, Nov. 3. Learn more here.

And the easiest way, if you can afford it, is to donate to a campaign.

And if you know of any other options, let us know in the comments!

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