It’s been almost a year since Donald Trump won the presidency. I remember how I felt going to bed the night of the election — with utter dread, but with a small glimmer of hope that when I woke up it would all be OK. Well, it has not been OK. Donald Trump and the Republican members of Congress have hacked away at health care coverage, women’s access to reproductive care, victims’ rights, protections for our environment, LGBTQ rights, and our standing as a leader in the world. Our fears over what Donald Trump the President could and would do have come true.
But there is a silver lining in all of this: We have awoken from our complacency. After the Women’s March, many asked, “Is it a moment or a movement?” Well, here we are a year out and I can tell you, it’s definitely a movement. But we need to keep going.
On Tuesday, November 7th, Americans across the nation have the opportunity to go to the polls and use their greatest superpower: their vote. New Jersey (my home state) and Virginia will hold general elections for governor, both houses of the NJ state legislature and the lower seats in the Virginia legislature. Special elections are being held in Washington to address 8 vacated seats in both houses of the legislature. Pennsylvania will be electing judges. Across the country, we have the opportunity to elect mayors and county officials.
Each one of these elections will have a direct impact on our lives. Right now, we can rant and rave on Facebook or Twitter, but that isn’t going to change much. But we can affect real change by harnessing that energy and organize our friends and family to make a plan to vote. We can make sure that our local, county and state governments work for us. We can protect ourselves, family, friends, neighbors and our environment from the dangerous policies of the Trump agenda.
Republicans on the federal and state level are trying to make it harder to vote. Why? Because they know that when there is voter suppression, they win. You’ve heard it before: the higher the turnout, the more likely it is that Democrats win elections. But Democrats are TERRIBLE about voting in off-year and mid-term elections. Our own complacency has resulted in 34 Republican governors and 32 Republican majorities held state legislatures. This leads to gerrymandering, which makes it harder and harder for Democrats to win. And the cycle continues.
For the first time in decades, Democrats are poised to win elections previously thought unwinnable. Men and women across the country have stepped forward to run for office because they know that If you want government to work, you need to elect representatives who believe in governing. Some are facing uphill battles, but there is change in the air.
Contact your local campaigns, offer to knock doors and make phone calls on behalf of these candidates. Then, make a plan, grab a friend and VOTE on November 7th. Don’t let your superpower go to waste.