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Support the American Constitution Society, the Progressive Counterpart to the Federalist Society

Support the American Constitution Society (ACS), the progressive counterpart to the right-wing Federalist Society.

 

You might have heard of the Federalist Society. Founded in 1982, it’s a rightward-tilting organization that promotes and fosters like-minded judges.

 

In recent years it has become the de facto selector of Supreme Court candidates and other federal judges by Republicans. John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch all have ties to the Federalist Society.

 

You might be wondering if there’s a progressive counterpart to the Federalist Society. Why yes, yes there is.

 

The American Constitution Society (ACS), founded in 2001, was deliberately designed to serve as a counterweight to the Federalist Society.

 

Being younger than that group, it’s not as far along in its evolution, but it is building a network of progressive-minded lawyers who will defend, per its purpose, “individual rights and liberties, genuine equality, access to justice, democracy and the rule of law.”

 

See its website:

https://www.acslaw.org

 

 

Read its blog:

https://www.acslaw.org/acsblog

 

 

Find an ACS chapter near you:

https://www.acslaw.org/chapters

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

Like the ACS on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/acslaw/

 

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@acslaw

 

 

Donate to the ACS:

https://donate.acslaw.org/donate?campaign=homepage

 

 

Read a 2008 New York Times piece on the ACS:

 

Read about the rise and the doings of the Federalist Society:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2017/01/how_the_federalist_society_became_the_de_facto_selector_of_republican_supreme.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/03/23/grilling-gorsuch-and-fearing-the-federalist-society/?utm_term=.81e8b9c2b091

 

 

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Support Katie Porter’s Run to Unseat California House Republican Mimi Walters

Support Democrat Katie Porter’s run to unseat California House Republican Mimi Walters.

 

To flip the House of Representatives to Democratic control, the party needs to pick up at least 24 seats. Those who know say that the Democrats need to gain at least a third of those 24 in California.

 

Katie Porter has a harder road to walk than, say, Harley Rouda or Gil Cisneros. Unlike those two, whose California Congressional districts the Cook Political Report rates as Toss-ups, the 45th district carries a Lean Republican tag.

 

Republican Mimi Walters, first elected in 2014, has fallen in behind Trump and has consistently voted for bills he likes. That should rankle those in her district, who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

 

Porter is a professor at University of California, Irvine and a protege of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. She specializes in fighting home mortgage lenders who mistreat their clients. When Kamala Harris was still the state’s attorney general, she chose Porter to monitor a $25 billion mortgage settlement on behalf of California.

 

Porter has an opening, but she’ll need support to make this happen. Have a look at the links below and see if she’s the right candidate for you.

 

 

See Porter’s campaign website:

https://katieporter.com

 

 

See her Issues page:

https://katieporter.com/issues

 

 

See her Endorsements page:

https://katieporter.com/endorsements

 

 

Choose Porter for your Core Four:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/04/08/choose-your-core-four-for-2018/

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Donate to Porter’s campaign:

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/kp18?refcode=header_donate

 

 

Like Porter on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/katieporteroc

 

 

Follow her on Twitter:

@katieporteroc

 

 

Read additional articles about Porter that predate the June 5, 2018 primary:

https://www.ocregister.com/2017/04/03/all-the-facts-on-katie-porter-challenger-to-rep-mimi-walterss-re-election-bid/

http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article142177884.html

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Believe It, You Matter, Part X: We May Not Get Everything We Want. Keep Fighting Anyway.

Believe It, You Matter, Part X: We May Not Get Everything We Want. Keep Fighting Anyway. 

 

You might have noticed that people are pissed about the way things are going. You might be one of those pissed-off people. Team Trump and its shitshow of corruption, cruelty, and pro-bully tactics have spurred millions to do more to push back.

 

A fair number of registered Republicans–including some high-profile ones–have left the party and gone independent. Many folks who were never politically active stepped up after the November 2016 election. They went to protests for the first time in their lives. Same again for phone-banking, knocking on doors, donating to causes and candidates, and calling their members of Congress. A small but heroic number found the courage to run for office.

 

It is unprecedented. It is organic. It might be unique in the history of America. And it should continue as long as Team Trump keeps crazy-assing and the GOP keeps shirking its duties to check Team Trump’s fucked-up, hateful, hurtful actions.

 

But! While we are righteous, motivated, and strong, we could still lose.

 

Take the SCOTUS nomination battle. Team Trump and the GOP are determined to ram their choice through before the midterms. We don’t want that. But because Democratic Senators are in the minority, there’s only so much they can do to stop it.

 

They will do what they can. They will fight. And, as we at OTYCD have asked, you should call your Senators and urge them to fight (if they’re Democrats) or vote no if they’re Republicans. Yes, your Republican Senators probably won’t change their votes, but they need to know their constituents oppose them on this, and will work to vote them out if they move a Trump nominee along.

 

But we could lose this one, and losing this one would be bad. People you love will be hurt by a SCOTUS dominated by hard-right judges. People you love could die as a result of a hard-right SCOTUS decision. You could lose your health insurance. Gerrymandering might get a yellow or green light. Voting rights might be curtailed. Parts of the Constitution that annoy evangelical Christians, greedy corporations, racists, and committed bullies could be muzzled and stomped upon. Democracy could be smothered.

 

The answer is to keep fighting.

 

The only way to stop the SCOTUS from being perverted by hard-right extremists is to elect Democrats to the Senate and keep electing Democrats to the Senate until there are enough of them to control the chamber. And once they control the chamber, you need to defend them so they can keep control of the chamber and stop hard-right extremists from getting on the court.

 

If Democrats controlled the Senate now, they could refuse any nominee who’s stupidly hard-right and continue to refuse until Team Trump puts forward an actual moderate. But they don’t, so they can’t.

 

But if you curl into a ball and quit when the news of InJustice EvilJerk’s swearing-in breaks, we all lose.

 

Same again with the 2018 midterms. Things generally look good right now. But we won’t get absolutely everything we want. Simply from a mathematic standpoint, it’s unlikely that every Democrat wins and every Republican loses. There are too many races, at too many levels. There will be losses, and some of those losses might be tough.

 

Plus, there’s an elephant in the room (or, rather, the polling place). Having successfully messed with the 2016 elections, Russia’s hackers will be keen to try again in November 2018, and Team Trump has yet to order the National Security Agency (NSA) to take the steps needed to defend our country from those attacks.

 

Again, if you curl into a ball and quit when news breaks of, say, Iowa House Rep Steve King’s reelection, we all lose.

 

Yes, rest. Yes, unplug. Yes, take time away. You are allowed to have fun. You are allowed to do things that make you happy. Heck, it’s vital. Drafting and sticking with a self-care routine is one of the most important things you can do.

 

Rest. Recharge. Frolic. Forget for a few hours or days, maybe even weeks. But come back. Always, always come back. We need you.

 

And hey, getting mad is OK, too. Crying is OK. Despairing is OK. Feeling the force of your emotions is OK! But come back. Always, always come back. We need you.

 

Trump will go, but you must not.

 

You’ve got to stay here and carry on the fight.

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Keep Calling Your Senators to Oppose Terrible Judicial Nominees (Not Just SCOTUS)

Keep calling your senators to oppose terrible judicial nominees (not just those for the Supreme Court of the United States).

 

Team Trump’s assault on the judicial branch through nominating terrible far-right candidates hasn’t gotten much attention on this blog because it’s a slow-moving, ongoing crisis.

 

One Thing You Can Do tries to focus on just that–one thing you can do every day to push back against Trump. Sticking rigidly to one thing has proven increasingly difficult as the Trump administration has aged, but we’ve mostly managed it. The judges issue has suffered the most from this practice.

 

Mitch McConnell is not limiting his manipulations to SCOTUS. He deliberately held open dozens of vacant judgeships under Obama and is frantically shoving as many nominees through as he can during the current Congress.

 

This is extra-disturbing because with the GOP in Congressional control, it’s the judicial branch that’s saved us from many of the worst excesses of Trump.

 

Cramming the courts full of young Trump appointees, all of whom receive lifetime appointments, threatens to warp our judicial system and pervert justice for decades to come.

 

You won’t be surprised to learn that most of these bad nominees are getting through on party-line votes.

 

We wrote about this once before after seeing ads on CNN that urged Republicans to support McConnell’s scheming. His most recent desperate move, which ended in the eleventh-hour withdrawal of a nominee who had racist writings in his past, reminded us we should write another post that you can bookmark and revisit.

 

First, know that as long as the GOP has control of Congress under Trump, they are trying to force through far-right nominees, several of whom are seriously problematic and some of whom are unqualified (seriously, they’ve tried to push through people who got an ‘unqualified’ rating from the American Bar Association).

 

The most recent failed nominee, Ryan Bounds, was an extra-insane situation because he was from Oregon, and that state’s senators had both refused to return their ‘blue slips’ on the nominee.

 

That means that Bounds had not earned the support of either Senator from Oregon.

 

In the past, if even one Senator withheld a blue slip, that ended a judicial nominee’s candidacy. McConnell was determined to steam ahead with Bounds in the absence of both blue slips, which has never happened in the history of the Senate.

 

The only reason Bounds was stopped is a GOP Senator, who had seen the racist writings, refused to support him. McConnell, realizing he did not have the votes to confirm, withdrew.

 

So, how to stay on top of the judicial nominee crisis? First, get on Twitter if you’re not already and follow:

 

@civilrightsorg

 

@DSenFloor

 

@cspan

 

The first will alert you to bad nominees. The other two will tell you when they’re headed to the floor.

 

Also follow @Celeste_pewter if you aren’t already. She is on top of bad nominees and will alert you to them as they appear.

 

Second, check this link and see if one of your Senators is on the Senate Judiciary Committee. (You’ll have to scroll down for the membership.)

 

https://www.judiciary.senate.gov

 

If you have a Senator on the committee, then it’s extra-important that you call to oppose bad nominees.

 

You can also check the committee’s Nominations page to learn about what’s in progress on that front:

https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/nominations

 

You should call both your Senators to oppose, but it’s crucial to call members of the committee early and often, in hopes of stopping bad candidates from advancing to a floor vote.

 

We can’t write you a blanket script because each bad nominee is bad in his or her own way. We can teach you to compose your own, however.

 

In checking the Twitter accounts listed above, look for:

 

The rating the nominee has received from the American Bar Association. If the person is unqualified, say so. If McConnell is rushing the nominee through so fast that the ABA hasn’t had time to issue a rating, say that, and demand that nothing go forward until the ABA can give a rating.

 

Whether or not one or both of the nominee’s home Senators has returned a blue slip. If anyone refuses, say so, and cite that as a reason to oppose.

 

If the nominee has hesitated to affirm bedrock rulings such as Brown vs Board of Education, Griswold vs Connecticut, Roe vs Wade, etc. Some nominees have given alarmingly muddled and evasive answers to questions along these lines. The only acceptable answer is ‘yes, these landmark cases were correctly decided.’

 

If civil rights and reproductive rights orgs say, flatly, that ‘Nominee X sucks and should not be on the federal bench for life,’ believe them and act accordingly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Attend a #SaveSCOTUS Event Between Monday July 9 and Friday, July 13, 2018

Attend a #SaveSCOTUS event between Monday, July 9, and Friday, July 13, 2018.

 

Team Trump intends to announce the name of its Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) nominee on Monday, July 9, 2018.

 

A team of organizations, headed by the good folks at Indivisible, have planned a week-long series of actions to protest the nominee, who will no doubt be a hard-right extremist.

 

See the website below to find an event near you:

http://savescotus.indivisible.org

 

 

Download the #SaveSCOTUS toolkit, which includes tips on how to plan a local #SaveSCOTUS event:

https://savescotus.indivisible.org/toolkit/

 

 

Visit Indivisible’s main website:

https://www.indivisible.org

 

 

Donate to the Indivisible Project:

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/indivisibleproject?refcode=homepage

 

 

Like the Indivisible Guide on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/indivisibleguide/

 

 

Follow the Indivisible Guide on Twitter:

@IndivisibleTeam

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Combat Trump’s 2018 Midterms Strategy By Defending Vulnerable Democratic Senate Incumbents

Fight back against Trump’s 2018 midterms strategy by defending vulnerable Democratic Senate incumbents.

 

On May 30, 2018, Buzzfeed published a piece on how Trump might approach the 2018 midterm elections.

 

It looks like he’s shying away from House of Representatives races and targeting sitting, vulnerable Democratic senators who are up for re-election in Trump-friendly states. From the article:

 

‘A source close to Trump involved in midterm planning said it’s clear Republicans are running very different campaigns in close House races versus Senate races, and Trump will be used accordingly. “It’s a base election in the Senate and a swing in the House,” the source said.’

 

Also from the article:

‘Earlier this month, Trump followed a similar outline of what is shaping up to be his 2018 stump speech during his rally in Indiana, where he called Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly “sleeping Joe” and a “swamp person.” “You have to work every day between now and November to elect more Republicans so that we can continue to make America great again,” he told his supporters there, while praising Donnelly’s challenger, Mike Braun, as a “winner.”

And at an anti-abortion event last week, Trump spelled out the need for more Republicans in Congress in a way that would connect with the crowd. “So the story is, ’18 midterms — we need Republicans, and that will happen,” he said, going on to talk about failed GOP attempts to pass a 20-week abortion ban and the Democratic senators who have voted against it. “The United States is one of only seven countries in the world to allow elective abortions after 20 weeks, when unborn babies can truly feel the pain. Yet Democratic senators like Jon Tester, Heidi Heitkamp, Claire McCaskill, Debbie Stabenow all voted against the 20-week bill and in favor of late-term abortion.’

 

 

See the full Buzzfeed piece here:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/tariniparti/trump-campaign-senate-plan?utm_term=.ou9g4DQd8G#.rhXl9By1PZ

 

 

You can push back against Trump by supporting vulnerable Democratic senators who are seeking re-election.

 

The best resource for this, by far, is The Road to 2018, an organization that our friend Celeste Pewter is heavily involved in.

 

The Road to 2018 was created to help precisely those senators who Trump and the GOP is targeting.

 

 

See its website here:

https://www.roadto2018.com

 

If you’ve been following Celeste on Twitter–and you are, aren’t you? She’s at @Celeste_Pewter–you’ve seen her tweets about The Road to 2018 and about Democratic senators you can support.

 

To be dead clear here–flipping the Senate blue in 2018 will be tough, tougher than flipping the House. Much of this is down to math. About a dozen Democratic incumbents are vulnerable, as opposed to eight Republican incumbents.

 

In order to flip the Senate, the Democrats need to hold all their seats and gain two. (The two Independents in the Senate, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine, tend to caucus with the Democrats. King is up for re-election in 2018.)

 

Flipping the Senate will not insure that Trump can be successfully impeached. A minimum of 67 senators would have to vote in favor, and given the prevailing tribalism, we couldn’t count on Republican senators to do the right thing.

 

This is not about impeachment. This is about hampering Trump’s ability to push his noxious agenda.

 

If the Senate goes Democratic, Trump would find it a lot harder to push through lousy and unqualified nominees across the board, judicial and otherwise.

 

He’d also have to change his strategy if he wants to get any legislation passed.

 

Fighting for these senators is worth doing.

 

So! Question. Are you using the Core Four strategy yet? If not, learn about it here:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/04/08/choose-your-core-four-for-2018/

 

Then consult the Road to 2018 and figure out which Democratic senators you can support with time, money, and effort.

 

Those vulnerable senators are:

 

Bill Nelson of Florida

Joe Donnelly of Indiana

Debbie Stabenow of Michigan

Claire McCaskill of Missouri

Angus King, Independent of Maine

Jon Tester of Montana

Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota

Sherrod Brown of Ohio

Bob Casey of Pennsylvania

Tim Kaine of Virginia

Joe Manchin of West Virginia

Tammy Baldwin of Wyoming

 

 

If one of these senators is from your state, go all-in for that person.

 

If not, and certainly if you’re from one of the states that doesn’t have any senators up for re-election this year, pick at least one of these senators to support.

 

 

See the website for The Road to 2018:

http://www.roadto2018.com

 

 

See its Senators page:

http://www.roadto2018.com/senators.html

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

See the Road to 2018 team:

http://www.roadto2018.com/about-us.html

 

 

Volunteer for The Road to 2018:

http://www.roadto2018.com/contact.html

 

 

Keep that list of Democratic Senators in mind when choosing your Core Four for 2018:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/24/choose-your-core-four-for-2018/

 

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/TheRoadto2018/

 

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@Roadto18

 

 

Follow Celeste Pewter on Twitter, who is involved with The Road to 2018 and is seemingly on top of EVERYTHING political that the Resistance cares about, as it happens:

@Celeste_Pewter

 

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Call Your MoCs and Raise Hell Over How ICE Is Treating Migrant Families and Children

Call your members of Congress (MoCs) and raise absolute holy hell over how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is treating migrant families and children their care.

 

Holy crap. I mean, holy crap. The Trump administration has done a lot of hideously beyond-unacceptable things since it took office. The latest news about how ICE is treating migrant families represents a new low.

 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is pursuing a policy of separating parents and children who arrive in America after fleeing their home countries. According to a New York Times article, more than 700 children have been forcibly parted from their parents since October 2017, and more than 100 of those kids were four years old or younger.

 

Cites are at the tail of this post, but do we need to tell you how utterly disgusting this is? ‘Disgusting’ doesn’t even cover it. All the words that leap to our minds are forceful swears.

 

And that’s before we get to the fact that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly defended the policy on the notion that it could serve as a deterrent, and claiming that the separations would be OK because “the children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever”.

 

Since Kelly made that jaw-droppingly cavalier statement, news broke more widely that the government has somehow “lost” 1,475 kids who came to America as unaccompanied minors (so, to be clear, they came here alone, and the government did not separate them from their parents) and were subsequently placed with sponsors.

 

In Congressional testimony given on April 26, 2018 by Steven Wagner, acting assistant secretary for administration for children and families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said that the agency tried to reach 7,635 children between October 2016 and December 2017 who had arrived as unaccompanied minors. The 1,475 it failed to contact represent 19 percent of the total.

 

Worse, the PBS show Frontline has since confirmed that at least a few of those “lost” children who arrived unaccompanied were released to human traffickers.

 

So, to sum up: The Trump administration thinks it’s A-OK to force families who have fled to America to part, holding the parents in one venue and the kids in another that could be thousands of miles away. The administration is OK with this despite the fact that they know the system is horrifically broken–they know they’ve lost track of about 1,500 migrant kids who came here alone and were placed in care while waiting for their cases to be heard.

 

It might surprise you to learn that President Trump realizes, at least on some level, how fucked-up his administration’s family-separating policy is. It won’t surprise you to learn that he’s trying to blame it on the Democrats rather than kill the policy. See this Factcheck.org piece for clarification:

https://www.factcheck.org/2018/05/trump-blames-own-border-policy-on-democrats/

 

Oh! And that policy he’s blaming on the Democrats? He wants to expand it. Because of course he does.

 

We’ll wait for you to finish throwing up.

 

Done? Ok. Here’s what you can do to fight back.

 

You can call your members of Congress and demand action. Unsurprisingly, Celeste Pewter got there first with a fine script, which we are reproducing here. Note, however, that during the week of May 28, 2018, your MoCs are most likely in their home districts. Please go to their Congressional websites and pull up numbers for their state offices and call those rather than the D.C. switchboard number given in the script.

 

If you’re not following Celeste on Twitter, please do: @Celeste_Pewter. Also, scroll down for more ways to support her work.

 

 

 

You can also visit the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) page on Immigrants’ Rights, read up, and donate to their lawyers, who are fighting this nonsense:

https://www.aclu.org/issues/immigrants-rights

 

 

In addition, there are several charities that help migrants that would welcome your support.

 

The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights advocates for unaccompanied minors who have fled to the United States to escape abuse, human trafficking, crippling poverty, and other unlivable situations. Its webpage is here:

https://www.theyoungcenter.org

 

 

Donate to the Young Center:

https://www.theyoungcenter.org/donate-to-the-young-center/

 

 

Here is the Young Center’s statement on the Trump administration’s policy to forcibly separate migrant parents and children:

https://www.theyoungcenter.org/stories/2018/5/8/breaking-attorney-general-sessions-announces-policy-to-prosecute-parents-and-forcibly-separate-their-children

 

 

Follow the Young Center on Twitter:

@TheYoungCenter

 

 

The Alitas program, run by Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, helps migrants who ICE delivers to the Alitas Hospitality Center. Read more about their efforts and how you can help:

https://www.ccs-soaz.org/agencies-ministries/detail/alitas-aid-for-migrant-women-and-children

 

 

Here is a longer list of charities, organizations, and humanitarian groups who assist migrants and fight for their rights:

http://www.nnirr.org/drupal/border-groups

 

 

Lastly, you can follow #WhereAreTheChildren on Twitter for news and updates.

 

 

And here are the promised cites:

 

Read a February 27, 2018 NPR story about the DHS separating parents and children at the border:

https://www.npr.org/2018/02/27/589079243/activists-outraged-that-u-s-border-agents-separate-immigrant-families

 

 

Read an April 20, 2018 New York Times piece that states that more than 700 kids, including more than 100 very small children, have been separated from their parents since October 2017:

 

Read a May 11, 2018 Business Insider piece in which White House Chief of Staff John Kelly defends the cruel policy by claiming it’s not cruel and the separated kids will be put ‘in foster care or whatever’:

http://www.businessinsider.com/john-kelly-family-separation-policy-illegal-border-crossing-2018-5

 

 

Read a May 16, 2018 Arizona Central article in which Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defends the policy of separating immigrant parents and children:

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/nation/2018/05/16/homeland-security-chief-defends-policy-separates-families-entering-u-s/614505002/

 

 

Here’s an article explaining how the government “lost” almost 1,500 unaccompanied minors seeking asylum:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/nation-now/2018/05/25/immigration-children-separated-families-lost-column/643793002/

 

 

Here’s a written version of the Frontline story that shows that at least some of the “lost” unaccompanied children were released to human traffickers:

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/hhs-official-says-agency-lost-track-of-nearly-1500-unaccompanied-minors/

 

 

Here is the official write-up of HHS official Steven Wagner’s April 26, 2018 testimony to Congress:

https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Wagner%20Testimony.pdf

 

 

Here is that Factcheck.org piece again that shows that Trump is lying when he claims the Democrats are forcing the government to separate parents and children at the border:

https://www.factcheck.org/2018/05/trump-blames-own-border-policy-on-democrats/

 

 

In addition to following Pewter on Twitter (again, her handle is @Celeste_Pewter) you can support her in other ways.

 

After you call your elected representatives on these two topics, tweet about the experience using the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.

 

Pewter founded The Road to 2018, an organization devoted to defending Democratic Senators who are vulnerable and up for re-election this year. See our post on it:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/02/25/support-the-road-to-2018-which-defends-democratic-senators/

 

Subscribe to Pewter’s peerless newsletter, It’s Time To Fight:

http://itstimetofight.weebly.com

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!