People Power to the Polls: Our Power Against Extremism

Part V: The Stakes of the Midterms

Sam Chavez
Sam Chavez

Table of Contents

๐Ÿค“ Bite-Sized Knurd: Remember that we have more power than we know. There are more Americans with progressive values and we can push back against right-wing extremism at the ballot box this November.

In Case You Missed It: Combatting Extremism in the Arena of the Heart
Read on for moreโ€ฆ

Weโ€™re officially in the final stretch of the Midterm Elections. 4 days and 15 hours to be exact.

Polls are fluctuating constantly and everything suggests this election will be a nail-biter. It's an uncertain moment.

What's not uncertain is the army of passionate Democratic volunteers. While right-wing extremist violence is growing and conspiracy theories attempt to distract from the threat, volunteers have been out there knocking on doors, calling and texting voters for months. At Swing Left San Francisco, weโ€™ve seen our GOTV canvassing bus to the California Central Valley sell out!

That is People Power! The Midterms will come down to enthusiasm. And People Power will win elections.

Last week we covered the arena of the heart. The work required to push back extremism will take time, but what is immediately crucial is showing up in the political arena on November 8th.

The Political Arena

In the political arena, we need to beat right-wing extremism through a show of strength at the ballot box.

Extremism views the world through power.

They will not be silenced until we take away their (perceived) power.

Their perceived power is rooted in an unfair democratic system that tilts power to older, wealthier, white men.

Art by Ryan Oakley (@ryanoakleyart)

Progressive Values are American Values

Right now, our system is designed to favor conservatives. The electoral college means Republicans represent 20+ million fewer people than Democrats, Republicans have lost the popular vote in 7 of the last 8 elections, and gerrymandering has allowed Republicans to lock in power in state legislatures without winning more votes. No wonder weโ€™re going backwards even though we keep voting!

"Only because of the slave states' demand for the Electoral Collegeโ€”and the Republicans' #1 job of gerrymandering and voter suppressionโ€”do we even have to still deal with their misogyny, their destruction of Planet Earth, their love of guns and greed, and their laser-focused mission to bury our Democracy." - Michale Moore

Because the deck is so stacked against Democrats, we lose sight of the fact that most Americans want progressive policies.

If you donโ€™t believe me, then subscribe to Data for Progress emails for a weekly reminder with stats on the economy, climate, children & families, healthcare, etc. that almost always align with Democratic policies.

The rise of extremism (check out part II of this series) is rooted in a changing America both demographically and in our beliefs and values. The reason extremism is gaining steam is precisely because progressives have gained momentum in the last decade. The legalization of gay marriage, our first Black president, growth in unionization, and the massive Black Lives Matter movement are only a few examples.

But Progressives canโ€™t begin to effectively solve the issues of our time without fixing the electoral system that allows older, wealthier, white men to have more voting power than others.

But we have to win to fix the problem.

Which means we have to win big.

Building a Broad Multiracial Coalition

That is why the most important thing to remember as we continue to live through dark times is:

There are more of us than there are of them!

November 8th is our opportunity to show progressive power in voting. It means we need to make the case to Gen Z, working class people, Latinos, and a broad coalition of multiracial voters that voting can make a positive difference.

How do we do that? To encourage a strong coalition to vote this November, we need to share the truth of the moment as widely as we possibly can. (Check out our advice on using social media to amplify Democratic campaigns)

  1. Tell the truth about growing fascism in the U.S.

The media, billionaires, and GOP continue to hide how much fascism has seeped into our country. If they wonโ€™t talk about it, itโ€™s up to us to tell our communities that fascism is here and we defeat it by voting.

  1. Democrats = economy for all

Economic anxiety is at a high. Economics is an extremely personal issue, which is why itโ€™s a top priority for voters.

We must reach people on an emotional level, listen and understaind their pains, and have concrete plans to fix the root causes of inequality like supporting unions.

  1. Republicans = economy for corporations & wealthy

Unfortunately, Republicans have falsely branded themselves as good for the economy. We canโ€™t let Republicans win the messaging war. Democrats need to show that Republicans have no plan for the economy (except to crash it).

  1. Extremism & abortion are economic issues

Extremism is both exploiting and inflaming historic inequality. Republicans cry about trans children in sports because they donโ€™t have solutions for everyday Americans. I, for one, would rather have a party in power that understands the issues and is trying to fix them than a party that is using violence, fear, and hatred to distract from solving the issues.

This is the closing argument that we all need to help amplify.

Closing Thoughts

Iโ€™ve been on a rollercoaster of emotions over whether weโ€™re going to win or lose, but recently Iโ€™ve surrendered. Iโ€™m doing the work: I knocked on doors, helped campaigns run digital ads, trained activists, and Iโ€™ve voted.

Itโ€™s easy to slip into the doom & gloom of election coverage. My advice if youโ€™re feeling similarly is to focus on whatโ€™s important.

  1. Vote!
  2. Check on your friends
  3. Take care of yourself
  4. Breathe
  5. Sleep on election night

And if you need a little pump-up before election day, check out Anandโ€™s moving video on how we defeat fascism.

See you on the other side!

Next Up

The Beginnings of a Broad Coalition
Good morning, knurds. ๐Ÿค“ Wow, what a week! Election results are still coming in and will probably continue to come in over the next few days (or weeks!) before we have a clear picture of the final results. Weโ€™ve already had some major wins (yes John Fetterman!
๐Ÿ—ผ๐Ÿ—ž: Newsletter

Sam Chavez

Sam is a writer, strategist, and curious human. She founded the roots of change agency in 2020. Sam is a queer, white, LatinX activist whoโ€™s passionate about a livable planet & equitable societies.


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