This OTYCD post originally appeared in February 2018, but for obvious reasons, we are updating and reposting it for 2020.
2018 was a huge test for us all. We stepped up. All the texting, phone-banking, canvassing, postcard-writing, and general beating-of-the-drum paid off. Democrats claimed control of the House of Representatives, and our efforts helped limit likely Democratic losses in the Senate during a cycle that favored the Republicans. Had things been closer to normal, the GOP could have picked up six to nine seats. While we lost two Senate seats, we gained two, and the GOP didn’t come close to their 2018 goals.
So! On to 2020. We’ve already asked you to choose your Core Four for 2020–four Democrats, two incumbents and two challengers, for each chamber of Congress, PLUS choosing a voting rights organization to support:
To serve those four candidates well, you’ll need to school yourself on their voting records and their backgrounds. If they’ve written books, you need to read them. You need to become expert in them so you can persuade people to vote for them and defend them to those who are skeptical or hostile.
Obviously, you will need to read up on the Democratic nominee for president as well, once that person is chosen.
Once you feel like you have those five under control, you should see whether you can add other races to your load. State and local races will take place, too.
In order to stay on top of it all, find a way to commit a minimum of two hours a week to state, local, and federal 2020 races.
Money always matters, of course, but time can be even more valuable to a candidate. If you’re an excellent political volunteer, your time might be worth several times more than your dollar donations.
You don’t have to give your time in a two-hour block. You can chop it up as needed–four half-hours, an hour here and an hour there, twelve 20-minute blocks, twenty-four ten minute blocks, whatever works best for you.
Research, reading, attending speeches, going to Indivisible meetings, and talking to other people all count, as does phone-banking, canvassing, and writing GOTV postcards.
If you can give more than two hours a week, great! But the key thing is to aim to give at least two hours a week, and stick to it.
As we head toward Labor Day 2020, you might want to think about rearranging your schedule to give even more time to 2020 races. Almost all of them will end on November 3, 2020, and campaign needs will grow more intense as early November approaches.
It makes sense to sit down now and plan how September through November will go, particularly if you’ll have other standing obligations to work around, such as school, or your kids’ schools, or holidays such as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
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