This is an annotated list of ideas for ways for Democrats and others who are worried about what may happen under a Trump presidency, to get more involved in their communities and nationally, to engage more with others, and to pressure the new administration wherever warranted. They've come from myself, as well as friends on Facebook and various podcasts that I listen to. it's divided thematically. Please comment and provide your own ideas so that this isn't just a list, but a conversation.
A. GENERAL THOUGHTS.
THANKSGIVING. There is some stuff to be thankful for.
1. On November 8, 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. Her electoral college loss has shaken many people out of their complacency and they are ready to fight for what they believe in. Let's keep this energy going so that voter turnout in the midterms is not as low as it's been in previous years.
2. Democrats are in a better position to fight now, before Trump even enters the White House, then back in 2000 and 2001, when the controversial Bush win and 9/11 took everyone by surprise.
3. Even though the Republicans have won it all this time, their party is still very deeply divided. It is possible that some of the same establishment Republicans who were against candidate Trump will be likewise against the new President. We should work with them wherever we can find common ground.
4. We have eight-plus years of wonderful Barack and Michelle Obama speeches that we can play on loop whenever our spirits flag! Guaranteed there will be more of these when they become private citizens in January 2017.
B. SURVEYS - Fill them out and share.
2. Phone survey about Obamacare specifically. I’m not sure if this is still on, but it's worth a try. Call and press 2, then press 1 for support of ACA. 202-225-0600
C. ENGAGEMENT - How do we engage in a more divided country than ever?
1. Enlist facts. Pew Research Center has reported on some key areas in the past year, including political polarization (http://www.people-press.org/2016/06/22/partisanship-and-political-animosity-in-2016/) and differences on issues (http://www.people-press.org/2016/03/31/campaign-exposes-fissures-over-issues-values-and-how-life-has-changed-in-the-u-s/). Pages 17, 20, and 22 in the Issues report are especially enlightening.
You can see in the above reports that America is extremely divided. That's why I don't believe we can ignore Trump supporters, as much as I despise Trump and almost everything he stands for. How can we shut out 50% of the population and expect to unify the country? I suppose we can question whether the country can even be unified, or whether it deserves to be if half of it so clearly shrugs off racism. But I'm afraid to go there, for what that could mean to America's future.
2. Fight for three standards in all communities: zero tolerance for hatred, a baseline level of knowledge among adults, and a baseline level of civic engagement.
3. The above includes the need to fight for a stronger focus on civics, current events and government in schools, which have been focused to a large degree on standardized test scores. Find out where possible the curricula of civics engagement classes in your community, and encourage teachers and other educational professionals you know to improve on these lessons, where relevant. Civics classes are also places to teach a zero tolerance for hatred.
Some ideas are here:
4. Some questions: What are ways we can encourage cross-community participation at a young age? Are there programs we can establish to allow students to travel to a different city for a week, or another such idea that can promote greater understanding and tolerance? Write ideas below in the comments section.
I think this is one of the most important elements we need to pay attention to in the coming years, because it's the filter through which we will all view the administration. But Trump's attitude toward the media, in addition to the trend of hacking of emails (which has drawbacks as well as positives), has been very worrisome.
1. Subscribe and pay to print and online media outlets such as New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Buzzfeed, Vox, and any other high-quality outlet you prefer. With Trump threatening to limit access to outlets he doesn't like, they need your money more than ever.
2. Listen and donate to ProPublica, a fantastic organization dedicated to investigative journalism. They've done some terrific coverage on Trump and many other issues.
3. Follow and support organizations such as The Poynter Institute, the Center for Public Integrity, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the various media projects at the Pew Research Center.
4. Watch White House news closely. Let journalists know when you feel their coverage has been lacking (eg. maybe they are not being critical enough of the new administration, or a number of outlets are collectively engaging in a herd mentality such as in the lead-up to the Iraq War). Some organizations include the Gridiron Club, National Press Club, the National Journalism Center (conservative), and the White House Correspondents' Association. Or let individual outlets know directly.
5. Other media organizations to take note of include the Knight Foundation (which funds journalism projects), associations for journalists in minority groups (Hispanic, African-American, women in journalism) and media centers at schools such as Columbia University, New York University, Harvard University, and George Mason University.
6. Fake news. I personally don't know what I'd do without Jon Stewart, Trevor Noah and John Oliver. But even though they're not traditional media companies, Google and Facebook need to figure out how to take responsibility for fake articles that appear on their sites, because it's no joke when people mistake satire for the real thing. Pressure these companies and point out satire wherever you see it on Facebook and other social media platforms.
E. ELECTIONS - 2018 is not so far away.
Republicans are reportedly already planning more wins in 2018. The party has started their own data operations, and even though they fell far short of the Democrats this year, they are motivated to push forward. Also, the lower turnout that generally occurs in midterms is more likely to favor Republicans.
1. Democrats have 20-something Senate seats to defend in 2018, compared to 8 for Republicans. Figure out now who you want to support.
2. Democrats are apparently really bad at getting involved in governor races. But state legislatures are where important things happen, such as redistricting (see #3 below). 14 governorships will be available in 2018 due to term limits: figure out how to get involved in these races. (More is available here: https://ballotpedia.org/Category:Gubernatorial_elections,_2018)
3. Learn about redistricting. As of now, Democrats unilaterally control the redistricting process for significantly less seats than Republicans, and few states in total have non-partisan processes. This map shows the skew:
Here are some other resources on redistricting:
President Obama and Eric Holder are also going to be working on redistricting efforts after they leave the White House.
4. If you worked in field operations this year, honestly assess how they went and where they can be improved.
F. PETITIONS - For those of you who haven't already done this.
1. Sign petitions against the appointment of white nationalist (yes, that is the right term) Steve Bannon, who may be subtly downplaying his nationalist tendencies, but who is no doubt not a unifying figure. Also, if anyone is an establishment figure, it is this man, who graduated with an MBA from Harvard and worked at Goldman Sachs.
2. Petition leaders of your community (eg. LGBTQ, Jewish, Muslim, etc) to stand up against Steve Bannon.
3. Write to all your representatives in the strongest terms possible against such appointments (not only Steve Bannon, but other expected "luminaries" of the new administration such as Jeff Sessions).
4. More petitions include Stop Hate Dump Trump at http://www.stophatedumptrump.com/
5. Upcoming marches in Washington, D.C. include the Million Women March on Jan. 21, 2017 and the #TurnOut March on December 17, 2016.
1. Donate to the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Watch, environmental organizations, community and religious organizations, and any other groups you feel may be under threat by the new administration. Buzzfeed has a great list of organizations here:
2. If you can make investments, make them in companies that matter to you.
1. Track racist, hate, anti-Semitic incidents in your communities, report them, continue to protest against them. Not in Our Town has some great resources, including a pledge you can take to stop hate. https://www.niot.org/about
NOTE: This doesn't just apply to Americans, because hate crimes have increased since Trump's win, even in Canada. Marine La Pen has gotten a boost in the polls in France. But at least in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is standing firm against them, whereas Trump has barely acknowledged their existence.
2. Besides watching media coverage, donate to or follow GovTrack.US, which tracks bills and voting records.
3. Recall the statements made by Republican leaders during the election (eg. Paul Ryan condemning Trump's criticisms of the Gold Star Khan family), and point them out for their hypocrisy. Just because Trump won doesn't mean it's too late.
OTHER IDEAS? Enter them below.