I always suspected that Ben and Jerry’s had its limits. Now, 16 days out from Election Day, it's clear that not even a double scoop of Chocolate Fudge Brownie can tame the omnipresent odd couple of euphoria and fear that I’m feeling.
Clearly, I’m not alone. Based on what I hear from many of you, the coping mechanisms that carried you through this disastrous administration are wearing thin. Or, as one friend put it, "My level of sheer hysteria has dropped to mere Nordic angst." Battered by the overlay of a pandemic that robbed us of life as we knew it, the guardrails of our mental stability are increasingly wobbly. Now, as our four-year wait culminates, we careen between hope and terror. We will know soon whether everything we’ve done is enough to overcome one of the great existential threats in our country’s history.
When we took to the streets for the first Women’s March back in January 2017, we personified what would emerge as the one true silver lining of this cataclysmic chapter: an inflection point in grassroots activism and energy that would transform and inform our thinking about what it means to be a good citizen. Since then, we have been more engaged than ever before, in the thrall of a mission to stop Trump and every complicit Republican from destroying this country. And, most notably in the 2018 mid term elections, we prevailed and acted as a check on an amoral, corrupt administration.
But now, as we face the grand finale, we are the equivalent of skittish deer in headlights. Despite the surfeit of data saying Democrats appear to be on track for a blue tsunami, we are still trying to shake off our 2016 PTSD. Not even Trump co-conspirator Rupert Murdoch’s recent prediction that Joe Biden will “win in a landslide” puts a dent in our dread.
But, hopefully, the following litany of good news coupled with “action ops,” which often serve as an antidote to angst, will offer some measure of comfort. That said, for the next 16 days we have to work our hearts out like our lives depend on it — because they do.
First, Democrats are crushing Republicans on the early voting front. Bloomberg News reports spiking Democratic turnout, shattering early voting records, in battlegrounds that Trump won by small margins. In Florida, as of Saturday afternoon, Democrats have cast almost 53% of the votes while Republicans account for just 28%. In North Carolina, Democrats account for 52% of ballots so far, up from 36% four years ago, while Republicans make up just 17% of the ballots, down from 37% in 2016. And, in Pennsylvania, a state at the heart of Trump’s re-election strategy, Democrats have cast more than 75 percent of all ballots while Republicans made up just 15% of the ballots returned to date.
To keep on top of what’s happening with the early vote, bookmark the University of Florida's US Elections Project website which tracks what’s happening in 44 states and provides a big picture of the state of the POTUS race. As of this writing, Democrats had requested 23.5 million ballots while Republicans have requested just 13 million. Granted, Trump is betting on a red wave of in-person voting on Election Day to close the gap. But, “the fact that you have such a massive Democratic head start makes it much more difficult for the Trump campaign to play catch-up,” said John Couvillon, a Louisiana pollster keeping tabs on early vote statistics.
Volunteer Action Ops - To sign up, or for more info, click on the blue links:
Make “Cure” Calls - Fight for NC Voter Protection Phone Bank
Save a vote with a “rewarding” alternative to garden variety phone banking that could help flip the critically important bellwether state of North Carolina, according to Cindy Florman, activist extraordinaire who earns a hat-tip for the link. Organized by Fight for NC, you’ll be trained to help people who voted by mail but had their ballot rejected. “They have 110+ people on Zoom at every shift and are very well organized,” Cindy notes. Choose your training/shift time on the website.
As the website says, "We need to reach every Democratic voter at risk of disenfranchisement. We need to call AND we need to knock every door. The margin of victory in NC will be tight and curing ballots could be the difference.”
Phone Banking - Make phone calls for Joe & Kamala
Talk with voters in key battleground states to win the White House. They’ll provide you with training and resources based on your location.
Textbanking - Choose your candidate - Democratic Volunteer Center
For those who can’t handle the intensity of phone banking, here’s a terrific alternative. Text voters using curated lists provided by the Democratic Volunteer Center. You can choose among a menu of candidates including Sara Gideon, who’s poised to beat Senator Susan Collins of Maine or Jaime Harrison, on the cusp of pulling off the “Miracle in South Carolina” by defeating Senator Lindsey Graham, etc.
Insider tip: As a major fan of Senator Doug Jones, I was thrilled to see that new polling shows he’s overcome a double digit deficit in his race. Doug is holding a one-point lead over Republican Tommy Tuberville, 48%-47%. Furthermore, Jones is amassing a major advantage among the early voters who currently account for 7% of the electorate as he leads by 35-points (62%-37%). Jones also holds a 16-point lead among Independent voters, 50%-34%
Granted, with the inevitable Trump coattail effect in Alabama, it will be the “Miracle in Alabama” if Doug pulls out a victory. But if you choose him as your text banking candidate, you can help increase the odds of a win for a fine man who’s also a passionate advocate for the rule of law and civil rights.
Protect the Right to Vote - National Voter Assistance Hotline
Designed to provide voters with guidance on who, what, where, when and how to vote. Once you sign up, the group will follow up to provide a brief training on how to get you involved.
Wanted: Poll Workers - Power the Polls
Since America this year is facing a record shortage of poll workers due to the pandemic, volunteer to be a poll worker on Election Day. Voter Protection Volunteers - For lawyers only. Sign up here to be a poll observer to ensure the safety and security of the voting process.
Top Ten House Toss-up Races Talking yesterday with Democratic congressional candidate Candace Valenzuela from the Texas 24th District gave me an adrenaline rush. Candace personifies what public service optimally should be. Homeless as a child, she surmounted incredible odds to become the first Black woman and first Latina elected to her local school board. As she told me, the $6.5 million dollars invested by the GOP in this historically Republican stronghold has cut her lead in half. Still, the the Cook Political Report rates this open seat as a “toss up.” From Candace’s race to Rep. Abby Finkenauer’s quest for re-election in the IA-01, every dollar matters in these hotly contested races. If you want to split your contribution between all 10 candidates, you can donate here via my one-stop shopping link. If you want to allocate to specific candidates, click here and follow the “Customize" instructions to give to individual candidates. You can, for instance, donate $100 to be divided evenly among the 5 candidates with each one receiving $20: or, you can choose to allocate and apportion your money any way you like. No amount is too small — donors have given $10 — to $10,000. Your participation is priceless. Bonus Candidate: Rep. Kendra Horn - Named by “The Election Whisperer” Dr. Rachel Bitecofer as one of the two Democratic incumbents she thinks is endangered, Horn is locked in a dogfight for re-election. Current polls either have her trailing or within the margin of error. (The other vulnerable candidate — Rep. Joe Cunningham from SC is listed in the Top Ten House Toss-up Races.) Donate to Congresswoman Kendra Horn here: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/kendrahorn?refcode=web0717&amount=50 Should you want more info on each candidate plus metrics about the contours of their respective races, click here for the PDF. Top Six Senate Toss-up Races If you want to split your donation among the 6 Senate candidates, you can donate here via my one-stop shopping link. If you want to allocate to specific candidates, click here and follow the “Customize” instructions to give to individual candidates. Bonus Candidate: The fact that stats guru Nate Silver has Georgia as a toss-up on the POTUS front increases the chances Jon Ossoff (GA-Senator) could eke out a win. Besides, incumbent Senator Sonny Perdue didn’t help himself with Georgia women when he mocked VP nominee Kamala Harris’ name at Trump’s super spreader rally the other night - Donate Should you want candidate thumbnails plus metrics about the contours of their respective races, click here for the PDF file. Finally, I’m looking forward to my own therapy session with a man who has never run for office but who nonetheless has become one of the country's most inspirational figures. Often called "the conscience of America," he encourages us to summon our own 'better angels' and, through his surpassing knowledge of history, offers reassurance that America has weathered such storms before and once again can prevail over its current travails. If you want to join me and Pulitzer Prize winning author and historian Jon Meacham next Sunday, October 25th at 3:00 PM EDT, please register by clicking on the image below. Onward, Jane