Believe it, you matter: Your friends and family matter. Are you talking to them about going to the polls in 2018?
If we are to start putting the country right, it’s up to us–you and me and everyone reading this, and everyone we know, and everyone they know–to step up and help put it right by voting for Democrats and sane Republicans who will uphold the rule of law and fight Trump’s authoritarian-leaning agenda.
In other words–you personally casting your vote is not enough. You have to reach out to your friends and family and talk to them about voting.
You have to put the act of voting on their collective radar, and you have to keep mentioning it to them periodically as the calendar marches closer to November 6, 2018.
Be prepared to make voting, and learning what they need to know to vote, as easy for them as possible. You have to make yourself into their Voting Concierge. You have to put yourself at their service.
This can mean helping them learn who their representatives are, and whether any of them are up for re-election.
As you know, many elected seats are up in 2018–hundreds on the federal level, and thousands on the state level, and who knows how many on the local level.
We at OTYCD do not recommend going over all the possibilities with them in a single sitting. Best to pick one or two to talk about at a time, and bring up others later, over the coming months.
The first thing you should do with your friends and family is make sure they’re registered to vote. We cover that on the OTYCD page, The Most Important Thing You Can Do, but here’s the website we point you to:
It’s maintained by the National Association of Secretaries of State, and it will help your friends and family learn how to register or re-register, and it will help them find their polling place.
Once they’ve confirmed their voter registration and know where they need to go to vote, they need to learn about who’s running in November. We’ve been pointing you to the nifty search engine Who Are My Representatives. You may need to help friends and family use it. Here is the link:
Once they know who their representatives are, tell them that their House Rep is up for re-election in 2018. You will want to school yourself on that Congressperson and be ready to talk to them about whether they’re any good or not.
If their Congressperson isn’t any good, be ready to talk about the Democratic opponents, the merits of each, and when the Democratic primary happens in your state. (If you look up the Congressional District on Ballotpedia, you should be able to find the primary dates.)
You will also want to talk to them about their two senators. Rely on the OTYCD post about the 34 senators up for re-election in 2018 for help with this:
If one or both senators are up for re-election, talk with them about the merits of those electeds. If they’re no good, be ready to talk about Democratic opponents who are worth backing. Again, Ballotpedia should be able to help you.
Once you’ve had conversations with your friend or family member about their House rep and their senators, you might want to talk about other races that matter, such as your state’s governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and the like.
You might also want to introduce them to the notion of the Core Four:
The key thing is to start talking to your friends and family about voting in 2018, and to prepare yourself ahead of time so you can help them learn as easily as possible.
Mind you, 2018 should not be the only thing you discuss with them. In general, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s just one thing among many that you talk about. A good rule of thumb is to talk about four other unrelated things for every one time you bring up politics with them.
But please, start having these conversations if you haven’t already. And as we get closer to Labor Day, start talking with your friends and family about how, exactly, they will vote.
If they need help obtaining an absentee ballot, offer to help them get one, and be ready to help them hunt one down.
If they need help traveling to and from their polling place, be ready to help them do that. Offer a ride, or start saving for cab money. Whatever they need.
It’s that important.