Democrats are looking to have a strong showing in the midterm elections in November, hoping their much talked about blue wave will materialize and allow them to throw up roadblocks to the Trump administration’s regressive agenda.
But for that to happen, turnout among Democratic voters must be high. Here’s how you can help Democrats take back the House, and perhaps even the Senate.
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The most obvious step you can take is to get out and vote on November 6. Despite the importance of midterms, turnout is often low during non-presidential election years. This is likely the most consequential midterms in modern history, and if the Democrats are to find success and put the breaks on the Trump train, that trend has to change. If turnout is low, it will benefit the status quo.
Thankfully, it appears the public understands how critical this moment in history truly is, as some 800,000 people registered to vote on National Registration Day last week. Each state has its own deadline for registering to vote ahead of Election Day. To find out your state’s rules, go to USA.gov or vote.org.
Make it a Social EventAriel Skelley/Getty Images
When you head to the polls to make your voice heard in November, you can amplify that impact by bringing along friends and family so they too can vote for progress. Afterwards, you can all go out to a meal or get drinks to celebrate having taken part in the Democratic process, while prognosticating about the results.
To that end, MTV has launched a project called +1 The Vote encouraging people to connect with their friends to make sure they are registered and intend to cast their ballot.
Knock on Doors and Make CallsMatt McClain/ The Washington Post via Getty Images
Another way you can make a difference is by reaching out beyond your circle to encourage others to vote for candidates whose views you can get behind. Reach out to a local campaign that could use some help knocking on doors, handing out literature, and making calls to increase awareness and urge people to turn out to the polls.
You can also look for candidates who are in close races in flippable districts to increase the impact of your efforts. The site swingleft.org allows you to enter your zip code to find the nearest House district that could swing to the Democrats, as the House is more likely to turn blue than the Senate.Westend61/Getty Images
If you’re looking to help flip the Senate, check out The Hill’s list of the ten seats most likely to change hands to the Democrats this year, and also note that since it was written Beto O’Rourke, in Texas, can be added, as he has since begun to open up a small lead over the incumbent, Sen. Ted Cruz.
DonateTetra Images/Getty Images
Running for political office is a resource heavy commitment. The yard signs, political ads, campaign literature, and the rest all takes money to make a reality.
Further, many progressive politicians, like O’Rourke, are rejecting corporate PAC money, relying instead on the power of individual donors to help them meet their fundraising goals. While it is encouraging to see so many rejecting the influence of big money in the post-Citizens United era, it means people power has to make up for the power of corporations.
In addition to donating to individual campaigns you believe in, you can also donate more broadly by giving to groups like the House Majority PAC, dedicated to helping get Democrats elected to the House, and the Senate Majority PAC, which does the same but for—you guessed it—the Senate.
Keep it PositiveHill Street Studios/Getty Images
People hate to be lectured to, but we as humans are susceptible to social influence. So when you’re trying to influence your social circle to vote, you are better off leading by positive example than by making someone feel bad about their potential lack of civic participation.
Studies suggest people are more likely to vote when they believe voter turnout will be high, and when being a voter is seen as an intrisinic part of oneself, not merely an activity one engages in from time to time. So wear that “I Voted” sticker with pride, and share on social media, or in person, how voting made you feel empowered.
The same logic can be applied when advocating for a particular vote, like one for your candidate or a ballot initiative you favor: You’ll be most persuasive if you lead with the positive and show how supporting your stance will bring about a more advantageous result.