what we have to do before the 2020 presidential election


Hi Friends, Though I am extraordinarily loathe to do so,
let’s revisit the 2016 presidential primaries. I was freelancing in seattle which is a fancy
way of saying MAD broke and I had had a skype interview with a hillary clinton staffer for
a job that didn’t pan out, but they said “hey, maybe in the next round of hiring
we should talk again” The primaries continued, feeling less like
a process by which i was to research and listen and decide whose values most matched my own,
and more like a job interview. Every debate night I parked myself at my laptop,
three tabs open, one to watch the debate, one to watch my twitter feed, and one to tweet
myself and also watch my notifications. I had to understand and explain the benefits
and shortcomings of every statement and policy position, I had to find links to cite my sources,
and get in my lincoln chafee jokes, I had to be disappointed in people very loudly and
in public to preserve my moral high ground. I had to say a lot and I had to move fast. And, I felt really proud of myself like I
was performing my duty as an informed and active american, but also, it was mostly just
performing. Like, I knew I was on an audition and I was
successful in that, and getting that job did allow me to do real and deep and meaningful
work. But, I did feel a certain sense of satisfaction
when my debate tweets would blow up, or when a reporter would retweet my very intelligent
point, or when my follower count went up. Yeah, of course I did! However, while social media can be a powerful
organizing tool I’ve worked with it enough to understand that the revolution will not
be borne out of my individual twitter clout. All of the work that campaigns do to dominate
the media cycle is important for them I understand why they want to read their human
interest profiles now, why they release one policy position a week instead of all at once. They need to get in the news every day because
the news happens every day and, to those of us who DO participate in the discourse they
cant get left behind. But zooming out I am realizing that there
are limits to how participating in the discourse can change things, she says, participating
in the discourse and hoping to change things. But a big part of why campaigns spend so much
time and money trying to get media coverage, and i’m gonna consider you tweeting about
them as media coverage, is because they need as many people as possible to do three things. Donate money
Vote Or volunteer to tell other people to vote
Congratulations, you can now skip straight to doing any and all of those things. I don’t know who my candidate is yet, and
when you should decide that is up to you and depends on where you live. In New York the primary is likely to be in
April of 2020, so if I start in January 2020 gives me enough time to do research, figure
out who I want to vote for and even volunteer for them if I want to. But in the mea time there are so, so many
elections that happen before even the first primaries in February of 2020. So like I’ve been volunteering with an organization
that helps people under 40 run for local office that’s called run for something, i’ll
put some links in the description. I talk to people on the phone every week or
two, who are thinking about running for like state legislature, or city council or school
board, or maybe they don’t know what office they want to run for yet so we talk about,
well what issue in your community do you want to solve? And what is the office that is going to best
allow you to address that issue. And In doing that, I’ve learned about how
like, there are just elections, like, nearly every week all the time, all over the country? I’ve talked to nine candidates so far this
year, and 6 of them have elections in 2019. This year. Before anyone in the country has the opportunity
to vote for a single presidential primary. And then they can go off and do things like
fund salary increases for teachers or make sure trans kids can go to the bathroom, or
pass background check laws for guns, or make sure people who want abortions, can get abortions. Those are things that align with my values. And those are things that realistically, because
of the way that our government works, the president does not, and cannot do! Lik here are two of the candidates I’ve
talked to recently— Victoria Watlington is running for city council
in Charlotte NC because her district is developing, and she wants to make sure that her community
can continue to afford to live there and have a part in planning how their community grows
instead of getting gentrified out of it. Cinda Danh is running for city council in
Lynn MA because, having worked in the government, she knows that the system can be hard to navigate
and she wants to help underrepresented communities advocate for themselves, know their rights,
access the services that are available to them. Those things seem important. I would like to help them do those things. Maybe you value different things. But I’ll tell ya, probably state and local
governments are responsible for those things also. My worry is that primaries, can, if we let
them, suck the air and the time and the attention and the money out of all the other smaller
races that will happen before them. Because while need to beat the big bad final
boss of white nationalism, which by my value system we absolutely must do, it’s not like
one dude. It’s not just the president right? He’s not a member of the state legislature
of Alabama or Missouri or Georgia. He’s not the governor of Florida. He’s not a county judge in wisconsin or
a city council member in North Carolina. And the audition for 2020 I think, is not
having 16 twitter tabs open about it now. It’s making sure that I find those people
who reflect my values, and you finding the people who reflect your values, who will not
have a nationally televised debate, who do not have million or billion dollar campaign
budgets, and who do make a lot of the decisions that impact your life, and figuring out how
to help them solve the issues in your community that they want to solve. Some of you are doing that already, and I
see you. Some of you are not americans and so none
of this applies but I also see those of you talking about the EU elections, and I want
to hear about those of you who are doing the work in other parts of the world. If you are working to solve a problem in your
community, or can think of a problem you want to solve, please tell me about it in the comments. And the rest of you, I extend an invitation
for you to start. If you don’t know how, my comments section
is open for questions. But also scroll down there and take a look
at what other people are doing, and find some inspiration there. Let’s go do some helpful things with good
people. I’ll see you soon. [clap]

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Another lovely video! I'm going to be able to vote this next year so I'll make sure to pour research and thought into who I choose. I always love hearing what you have to say 🙂

  2. I voted in the European election today and I got teary-eyed as usual because 13 year old me would have given up just about anything to be able to vote, and now I just get to do it all casually, on my way to buying groceries! I'm unemployed but I do website design so I've spent a little time making websites for two local candidates in our next election – I'll leave the door-knocking to the people with less anxiety 😅

  3. As someone living outside of the US, it seems absolutely bonkers to me that there is this much talk and media coverage and money being spent on an election that is still 18 months away. Like, you could get pregnant today and your baby would be learning to talk before the next Presidential election. Do you feel that American politics is more pageantry than democracy?

  4. I'm pretty fucking terrified about the Canadian federal election in the fall. So I'm trying to figure out if there's anything productive I can do the help stop a right-wing federal government win.

  5. I just started really following politics in 2016 and it’s something I’ve become really passionate about. I want to start volunteering or working for a campaign or activism group, but I guess I’m struggling with feeling like I still don’t know enough. How do you educate yourself on all of the issues you are passionate about and the government systems themselves? How did you know you were ready to go out and help educate others?

  6. Honestly, i think this is a great approach. I see the gigantic democratic primary field rn and ugh, it's still so long away and honestly, the election cycles for POTUS are astonishingly long.

    I, personally, haven't found a thing I want to engage with in my community though to be fair, I haven't really been looking yet. But this was the third election I volunteered at my polling place and I think that's a great start. We finished counting votes for the 2019 EU elections almost 2 hours ago now and for the 5 hrs I handed out ballot sheets I was happy to see a bunch of younger folks vote and also a bunch of people voting for the first time. That gives me hope.

  7. Another great org that is looking for volunteers is called Get Her Elected– they work with progressive women candidates mostly down ballot and hook them up with volunteers with specific expertise who can support their campaign– so if you can code a website, coach public speaking, know about fundraising or policy or graphics design or copywriting or many other things, you can get on their mailing list and they send out lists of needs and match you up with campaigns. Just like you said Taylor, it's eye opening to see how many elected offices and elections there are happening ALL the time.

  8. god these eu elections are hope inspiring yet terrifying. In my country Ireland the Greens had their best election of all time – i volunteered for them but exams got in the way – but in other places like britain and france far right candidates are topping exit poles.

  9. Canada has a federal election coming up this October, and it's a hard decision of who to vote for because we don't just have two parties and I really don't want us to go that way. But we have a problem that the liberal vote gets split up between the Liberals and NDP (just one reason I don't like the First Past the Post election model but that's a rant for another time). I just graduated for real this time and the job hunt is exhausting, I'm thinking of volunteering this time but I really need to be making money.

  10. I'm glad you're here.
    I'm so disappointed in my US government and my inability to make any impact on it. I turned 18 in 1967, joined the USAF and voted for Nixon in 1968. We all know how that turned out. I voted in every election after that but never voted for a Republican or Democrat until I voted for Obama in 2008. Neither of these two parties seem to reflect my values. Their values seem to be, "how can we win at any cost?"
    What's worse is how the whole world is swinging to the right. I'm quite jaded so I hope you and your contemporaries can make a better job of it than my generation.

  11. We in Australia just had our federal election. We have a really bad result and I didn’t do enough to prevent that. The area that I live in (I work in the ACT, which is a 3 seat territory, and live in NSW, which is a very large state) is reliably progressive (all 3 ACT seats went to centre-left candidates and so did the seat of my electorate, all of which is the same as what happened last election) surrounded by a much larger very conservative area so the amount of use my work would have done would have been limited. My value is in being a voice in the crowd and in doing things like writing to my representatives and my potential representatives. I especially need to write to my senators. This year I’m going to write to a representative. I’ve never done that before. I’m scared about it even though I have no real reason to be (heck anxiety). But I’m going to do it and I’m going to encourage others to do it.

  12. This is such an important video and point! And it applies everywhere. We just had our federal election in Australia and after a result no one really wanted, I'm already seeing people despairing that change won't happen for another 3 years. Change is constant and does not just come around every election cycle. We all need to keep working to ensure our values are represented by governments (state, national, and local) between elections as well as during them.

  13. Thank you so much for making this video! The 2020 elections will be my first time voting locally and on a national level and I hope that my peers and I can manage to sift through the chaos to really help what we’re passionate about.

  14. Here in India we just had a huge election and the results have absolutely broken minorities and activists in our country. As an activist myself, I'm seeing friends and co-workers struggle to find hope and a reason to continue fighting in all of this. Although the USA and India are very very different, this video makes me hopeful. And I want to thank you for that.

  15. It's now just over a week since the Australian Federal Election, which did not go the way I was hoping. This week I am working on finding the hope and the strength to get back up, to jump back into the fight for refugee rights, in the face of a new government that promises more hardships and indefinite detention.
    The activist group I'm part of has been a great support, as we work together to both grieve the change we hoped to see, and look forward to what we do now to make things better in the future.

  16. I have definitely been making sure I'm up to speed on local news because I want to be better informed on issues in my community. However, while I feel more informed now, I feel like I have no time to do anything about the stuff I've learned about since I'm juggling grad school, an internship and working part-time. But maybe staying informed will help me better decided what action I'd like to take when I do have more time? Also, I'm totally with you, deciding who I'm going to vote for in 2020 can wait. I can't stand how our 24-hour news cycle makes us think we have to know about every single possible candidate every minute of the day. It's why I don't watch the news anymore. Anyway, awesome video as always! Also, just wanted to say thank you for your very kind reply last video. It really made my day and reminded me I'm not alone in my situation. <3

  17. I have five years before I can vote, but I want to get better at educating myself about government systems and advocating for what I believe in now so I can still (try to) make a difference. These videos really help, so thank you!

  18. I love Run For Something! I've done a workshop with them before, but I don't think I am ready to run for anything yet. We had primaries in Pennsylvania a few weeks ago though and I did make sure to vote and remind other people in my community to vote.

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