New Year’s Resolutions for Democrats

2020 will be a deciding year for our country. 

For three years, we’ve watched as decades of progress was reversed–clean air and water rules, endangered species protection, anti-violence laws, workers’ rights, net neutrality, the fight against global warming, etc. 

 The 2020 election will be the most important–and the most rancorous–in recent history. 

So I am suggesting some New Year’s resolutions for progressives.  

The first: Don’t tune out.

It’s easy to say that both sides are at fault. 

Or that nothing you can do will make a difference. 

That’s surrender. The more people who do nothing, the greater the danger to our freedoms. 

Don’t give up on making the world a better place. Be the role model you want for your children and grandchildren.  

The second: Fact check everything–and speak out. 

Very few of us are going to believe that a candidate is trafficking children from a pizza place. Nor will we take serious a Fox news report that the FDA is banning popcorn, frozen pizza, and canned frosting. 

Yet, during the 2016 elections fake news articles were shared on social media at a higher rate than more reputable ones.

Most people know that The Onion posts satire, not news. But after the 2016 elections CBS News listed an additional 20 sites specializing in not-true items including some with such great sounding names as Civic Tribune, Empire Herald, National Report, abc news (a look-alike) and Christian Times.  

And articles claiming to be from the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal were found to be fakes. Check companies’ websites to be sure.  

 Three: Don’t go it alone.

Your emails or letters-to-the-editor won’t be enough this year.  

 Winning even a race for state legislature can require contacting 12,000 voters–and advisors like Wellstone recommend contacting each five to seven times. 

Find a team with a clear message that you agree with. The best ones will also have a hard-working candidate, a plan for multiple voter contacts, and a dedication to saving data for the last weeks’ Get-Out-the-Vote drive.

Plan on working with others to visit voters door-to-door and phone them.      

And if you can’t do either–help locate potential donors.  (Envelope stuffing is out-dated. Too many people don’t open them. Postcards put it all right out there for voters.)  

Four: Consider all your options. 

Support a legislative candidate if you can. 

Right now Republicans control more than two-thirds of the Idaho legislature–enough to overcome a gubernatorial veto if they stick together.  And some important issues are sure to come up again–the right to a doable initiative, more restrictions on Medicaid expansion, and attempts to do away with our bipartisan redistricting commission.  

And if the initiatives to increase the minimum wage, legalize medical marijuana, or raise taxes for education pass, the legislature may face more issues that the people support and most Republican legislators do not. 

Plus, working with a legislative team, you get to know the candidate and get a good overview of what a campaign involves. 

If there isn’t a local candidate you can support, you have choices–volunteer for a legislative candidate in a neighboring district, volunteer for a candidate for the U.S. House or Senate, or help a presidential campaign (possibly working in other states.)

Five: Start as soon as possible. 

Idaho’s presidential primary is March 10.  And the filing deadline for Idaho congressional and legislative candidates ends March 13. 

Right now many activists will be working on initiative drives that must end by April 30. Others are recruiting candidates, listening to voters’ major issues, and registering new voters.

Work for the Idaho–and nation–you want in 2021!