Daily Engagement is a new, brief, daily feature on Flavorwire. It’s aimed at helping people feel somewhat less helpless and hopeless (or at least in control of their helplessness and hopelessness) in the midst of a political news cycle that’s been doling out daily affronts to human decency.
Every day, we’ll post one easy thing that people can do to continue to resist the current state of politics under the Trump administration, focusing on the creative ways (we are a culture website after all) that citizens are finding to resist.
We have a new, deeply bigoted Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, whose appointment has been approved along party lines. Also filling the swamp with fresh sulphur: our new deeply rich/deeply religious/deeply counterintuitive choice as the head of a government department devoted to education — Betsy DeVos — who is a longstanding enemy of public schooling, and whose appointment was nevertheless confirmed on a tie-break from Mike Pence. And so it’s clear that fights waged by the left will not always yield immediate results. That does not, however, make them any less worth fighting: it’s still very telling that the dissent over DeVos’ confirmation was historic in that it was the first time a vice-president has had to cast a tie breaking vote — and this is coming from a Senate with a majority that sells their soul to favors the administration along party lines.
And already, lists of pro-DeVos Senators who also happen to have received hefty sums of money from her and her family have been swarming across my social media feeds, with the aim of campaigning against these individuals’ re-election come the 2018 midterms. Which brings me to today’s focus: the long game. While the short game remains just as crucial even when it’s not entirely successful, one of the best ways to limit the omnipotence of the Trump administration is, of course, to win a Democratic majority in both chambers of Congress. If nothing else, this horrible administration has done us the favor of making the not-at-all-new corruption — and willingness to compromise their own purported morals — of the Republican party all the more transparent. (Not to mention also shining a brighter light on the likewise-not-at-all-new flaccid equivocation of certain members of the Democratic party.) In order to fight for a Congress that’ll actually make sure “checks and balances” isn’t a bygone American catchphrase, we have to start looking to how to ensure that Democrats and potential swing voters really “get out the vote,” as it were, on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.
SwingLeft.org provides ways of starting to do something to turn Congress towards the left, at a local level. Its focus is on taking back the House, not the Senate, given that House representation is on a district-by-district level. When you get to the website, it prompts you to put in your zip code; it’ll then tell you the nearest swing district near you — and thereby the place where your activism might have the most impact. Swing Left will then send you weekly emails “as opportunities become available” therein. The website was founded by Ethan Todras-Whitehill — a writer in Amherst, MA, who was inspired to make the site due his own feelings of voter impotency within an always-blue district — along with developer Josh Krafchin and strategist Miriam Stone.
In late January, New Yorker writer Jia Tolentino did a piece examining Swing Left — which was pretty fresh at the time — and its surge of immediate popularity. “By January 22nd, a hundred thousand people had signed up to receive Swing Left updates. That number has since more than doubled.”
Tolentino wrote, “The energy around Swing Left has highlighted the apparent lack of proactive and reactive organization within the Democratic Party,” noting that it may be new movements like this and the Women’s March “that pick up where the Democratic Party has failed.” You can also sign up here to volunteer.
Just saying: it’s the House that has sole power to impeach.