Facebook has done good work for civic engagement by setting up reminders to vote in national elections. Now, Flippable has organized a petition for them to offer similar reminders for local elections. Please sign and share!
Flippable is a new site that tracks state-level races where Democrats have a strong chance of taking the legislature or governorships. Sign up with them to learn more about competitive races near you, and get information on opportunities to volunteer or donate.
If you’re a woman who would like to get involved with the Democratic party, or know someone else who’s interested in this, check out the training programs offered through Emerge America. The in-depth sessions last for 70 hours over seven months, and provide a thorough introduction to the process of building a network, fundraising, and running for elected office. Tuition is $1500, but financial aid is available as well.
Run For Office makes it easy to get involved in local politics. Just enter your address, and you’ll get a list of open positions and information on filing for candidacy. This new project is still building out its database, so you can also volunteer to get involved with them.
Some great advice for starting out in local politics from Berkeley political science PhD student Rachel Bernhard:
Consider joining a commission or the local branch of your party (Democratic, Republican, whatever). Pick a commission if you feel more urgency about tackling policy issues in your area, and pick a party if you feel more urgency about changing what issues your party is focused on or how it connects with people.
A board or commission–in most places they’re the same thing–usually meet on some intermittent schedule (like an evening once a month) that focuses on one policy area: police oversight, economic development, the status of women, schools, etc. You get to hear what’s going on in your city from the people working on those things (e.g., the police chief), and on the basis of what you hear, make recommendations about what should be done. Most cities and states post vacancies on their websites, so start there.
Your party may have a local club or a county committee; how parties are structured varies a lot by state. Parties decide who to endorse in local races, help raise money for those candidates, and establish platforms (what issues they’re going to prioritize in your area, and sometimes how they think it would be best to solve them). They also tend to have regular meetings, and often host educational events with speakers too.
If you wanted to, you could certainly do both, but I’d suggest starting with one and seeing how it fits in your schedule. Prioritize long-term sustainability of commitment when you are giving up your time: change is made by those who show up regularly.
This is unsexy stuff. There’s no Barack Obama (yet…stay tuned), no protesting in the streets, no Spanish-language posters calling Donald Trump a pendejo in the bathroom. That’s why it’s so important that you, average lady or gentleman or gender non-binary that you are, show up. You have an important voice and perspective: I know this because I see it in my newsfeed every day. If we want our politics to change–not just our president to change, but the day-to-day governance of our people–so that something like what we are facing now can never happen again, we have to roll up our shirtsleeves and get into the dirt together.
According to Time, the non-profit She Should Run has registered more than 4500 women for training courses that prepare them for public leadership roles since November 9. The project is still in its early stages, but it plans to help women “find access to established [female] political leaders and lawmakers and advice on every step of running for office, including tips on dealing with sexism in elections.” Best yet, it’s free and open to everyone.
Hi From The Other Side is a new service which connects people with different political preferences and encourages them to hold a conversation. As the organizers write,
Won’t this just end in a shouting match?
Maybe. But we’re hopeful there are people who really want to engage in a civil conversation.
We also deliberately ask some more human questions in our sign-up to try to screen for people who seem nice.
Finally, when we match you, we also provide a conversation guide to help you get off on the right foot.
The time commitment is small and the potential benefits are large, so do consider signing up!