How did you feel when you heard that Trump had suggested delaying the election last week?
Outraged? Scared? Angry?
I certainly saw all of these things in articles, opinion pieces, on social media, and in conversations. And people talked and talked and talked. I found it hard to be online, with so much fear and panic in the air.
It didn’t seem to matter when folks–including constitutional professors and scholars–pointed out that Trump can’t delay the election. That the only body that has that authority is Congress, and Pelosi and McConnell would have to agree to a new date. That just is never going to happen.
No, what I saw was people who WANTED to wallow in the fear and “what if” scenarios and dive deeper into the darkness.
Not to be mean, but I just don’t have time for that. I will respond once to someone who might not know what powers the president has and doesn’t have, but if they are not happy with that answer and just want to talk endlessly about all of the horrible things that could happen, I have to walk away.
Here’s what I know: There are a lot of people who will do everything they can to discourage us from voting. Republicans, citizens who still aren’t happy about the primary results, foreign actors, chaos agents. They will use all kinds of tactics to stop us.
Making us feel as though our vote isn’t worth it is one that I’m most concerned about. If you feel your vote is just going to be suppressed, will you vote? If the president convinces you that mail-in ballots are fraudulent (which they are NOT), will you vote? If you keep seeing polls that show your candidate way ahead of their opponent, will you vote? If you keep coming across posts that denigrate your chosen candidate, will you be an enthusiastic volunteer for them?
These are the exact types of articles and social media posts I’m seeing everywhere. It’s all designed to suppress your vote AND your desire to help win the election.
We have a president and a media cycle that is really unhealthy, and likes to jump from topic to topic. They never stay focused. And that, my dear readers, is exactly what we need to do. FOCUS.
Recognize that you will be hit with all sorts of disinformation and negative campaign tactics. And then set it aside. Stay focused on registering people to vote. Focus on learning about the policies that your candidates want to see enacted if they’re elected, and share that positive information with others. Share information about how safe mail-in ballots are and how they work.
Those are activities you and I can control. Now, if you’re a constitutional scholar, or former federal prosecutor, I do hope that you are lending your expertise to the Biden campaign or other organizations that should be preparing for the worst-case scenarios. But if that’s not your expertise, let’s focus on getting voters to vote.
We need to win this election, up and down the ballot, to start restoring our democracy. We need to reject these last four years, and in numbers too big to dispute. Make it impossible to question the results.
That’s what I’ll be doing here at Political Charge in these final 3 months. Staying focused on what we can control and how we can take action. I hope you’ll be joining me.
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