As I stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday, I was struck by the phenomenal diversity of the people coming to see this magnificent monument. They were from all over the country and all over the world. Throngs of people, smiling and taking group photos, reading the quotes, and gazing out from the place Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. It was a strong reminder of how powerful the promise of our democracy is. It gave me chills and hope as I contemplated all that’s at stake for our democracy in today’s election.
Dealing with election day anxiety is real. And it’s recurring. Two years ago, I wrote a blog about it. People told me it helped. So, I’m tackling the topic again. I’ve distilled it into two parts: the positive signs that are out there, and what you can do (because it’s not too late to help!).
STRONG, POSITIVE SIGNS
- Young people are registering to vote in record numbers. And they lean toward pro-choice, Democratic voting.
- Youth voter registration among youth ages 18-24 is up in more than half (23 of 41) of states for which we have data, including major electoral battlegrounds like Georgia (+1%), Arizona (+5%), Nevada (+18%), and Michigan (+38%, the highest increase in the country).
- Three states where people have recently voted (Kansas) or will vote (California, Michigan) on ballot measures related to abortion have some of the highest youth voter registration increases compared to 2018.
- The overturn of Roe v. Wade has been and continues to be motivating. A recent analysis illustrates that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has motivated about half of voters (50%) to vote in this year’s elections. Abortion is an issue that can get people to the polls. We saw this when more Kansas voters showed up to vote on abortion referendum than any primary election in Kansas history.
- Latino voters lean left, care about Roe, and are especially important in key swing states. A comprehensive national survey of Latino voters found that 71% of Latinos said they could not vote for a candidate who supports a nationwide ban on abortions with no exceptions.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Don’t give up! Your energy and actions matter.
- Help Get Out the Vote TODAY – sign up with Supermajority or MomsRising to make calls or send texts in swing states.
- Donate to help fund last-minute efforts.
- Prepare yourself through mindset and personal resolve. Much of what I wrote two years ago applies today.
- Ask yourself, “what’s the worst that could happen?” and prepare for it. In this election cycle, it means preparing for MAGA-extremist Republicans to take control of the House and/or Senate as well as some state offices. That said, President Biden remains in office and has veto power.
- Recognize that humans have a phenomenal capacity to endure even the most profound hardships. As Nelson Mandela said, “When people are determined, they can overcome anything.”
- Resolve to NEVER give up on fighting for the causes you believe in. For me, that’s universal healthcare, women’s rights, the climate crisis, and a more just society. As I said two years ago, “it took decades of activism to get to the passage of the Civil Rights Act, and we’re still not done with that fight.” We must persist, no matter what.
Our country has been divided before. As historian John Meacham told some members of Congress earlier this year, it’s always been the case that there are people who’ve wanted to undermine our democracy – what’s saved us is that there have been “just enough” who wanted to preserve it. Be part of the “just enough.”