I had a clarifying chat with my father last night. He’s been observing and covering politics professionally for 40+ years. Growing up, he taught me that politics isn’t a battle and Republicans aren’t “the enemy.” The refrain was always: they want the same things, but have different ideas about getting there.
Well, that’s not the case anymore, at least right now. Today’s GOP leadership is now solely concerned with making liberals upset and winning, not with the best interests of the country.
You can’t work with that. You have to go through it (and peel off concerned conservatives as you go — I am proud of many of my conservative friends who have had the courage to do this, and know they’ll be there for me if I ever have to do the same). And going through it means one thing: getting people to vote. Let’s not forget, this country leans left, by big margins (see: popular vote). Messaging is still important. Policy is still important. But getting people to show up is what matters. And that’s work, especially come midterm season.
2018 is the most important election of your lifetime. It’s the whole ballgame. Either we tell the GOP they can’t abandon the country’s foundational principles, or we let them get away with it, probably forever.
To do the former, we need to turn it into a presidential-like year for turnout. We do that with boots on the ground. I’m in New York City, in a totally noncompetitive Democratic district. But my girlfriend’s family lives in NY-19. Their Representative, John Faso, cast a deciding AHCA committee vote. And he won’t hold town hall meetings.
So, I’m treating that race like a presidential race. I’ll be volunteering for the Democratic candidate — making calls, canvassing, registering, etc. My advice: find your nearest competitive district and treat it like a presidential. Because it is. Swing Left is a great resource for that.
And there’s a bonus: if you get involved now, during the primaries, you can help get a candidate you *really* like on the ballot. For me in NY-19, that’s Dave Clegg for Congress.
By the way, and thanks to my friend Jordan Bernhardt for the reminder, it’s true that there’s also work to be done in your local districts — state rep, school board, city council, etc. You can and should be active there, too. But the 2018 House race is uniquely important and may be more motivating for you like it is for me. And even if you live miles and miles from the nearest swing district, you can pick one that’s important to you — probably because you grew up or have friends or spent a lot of time there — and help out by donating, volunteering to make calls, or just making sure your family and friends there vote.
That’s what I’ll be up to for the next 16-odd months.