A lot of people are talking about 2024, but our most urgent tipping point will come much, much sooner...because it’s 2022 and the Midterms are coming.
Those who wish to strong-arm the political future of this country are not going to wait another three years. Since Trump lost, they have been actively laying the ground work to make their illiberal democracy a reality. So, even though we are all exhausted and weary, time to shake it off.
Start imagining living through the days before, during and after the Midterm elections…just a short 11 months from now. Imagine further escalation of harassment and violence meant to intimidate election workers and voters alike. Imagine the chaos at state houses across the country as installed Trump loyalists meddle in and possibly overturn the election results in their dear leader’s favor. Imagine watching elections actually be stolen.
The unsettling reality is that there is little we can do to prevent the horrifying antics of a minority of our fellow Americans, but we CAN do something to ensure voting rights and the results of our elections are protected in spite of the attacks that we will surely face.
Congress must pass three pieces of legislation which require skirting or ending the filibuster: The Freedom to Vote Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and the Protecting Our Democracy Act. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer just announced that the Senate will vote on filibuster rule changes by January 17th. Our job is to organize, keep the pressure on and hold these politicians accountable.
That work is already underway. In December, The Poor People’s Campaign held a high-profile motorcade from West Virginia to DC to put pressure on Senator Joe Manchin and all Democrats to prioritize voting rights. They are committed to doubling their efforts this year. MoveOn.org and others organized 200 vigils around the country on January 6th, some of which will double as voter registration drives, signaling what I hope is the first of more and larger mobilizations.
Joining these national groups and others is a great way to make an impact, but experts on authoritarianism also advise again and again that citizens need to be engaged at the hyper local level. That means joining local groups that run voter registration drives in your communities, signing up to be a poll worker, getting heavily involved in your local elections, school board and city council meetings. If you can, now is the time to consider running for a local election official position in the wake of mass retirements. Get involved with campaigns to rebuke Trumpian candidates running to be Secretary of State, Governor, and state legislators in your state. Whatever you can do, do it. Even if you live in a solid blue state, get involved now.
You might be saying to yourself, “I get it, I do, but I’m so exhausted.” All we can say is we hear you. Us too. Maybe there is some consolation in knowing that we are ALL drained, but these are unprecedented times. We can’t choose when history will call us, we just need to promise ourselves and future generations that we will answer the call when it comes. Millions stepped up in 2020, but that was just the beginning.
The phone is ringing again now…Let’s answer it.
How to Save American Democracy (Center for American Progress, 2022)
The Filibuster Explained (Brennan Center for Justice, 2021)
How Does This End? (Vox, 2022)
Stopping Gerrymandering Can’t Wait (The Brennan Center, 2021)
Civics For Change: The For The People Act v. The Freedom To Vote Act (The Andrew Goodman Foundation, 2021)
Posted January 5th, 2022; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Episode #1464: Fighting to Preserve Democracy With Only Democrats to Turn To