The following was adapted from a blog entry originally published on my website, Musings from the FeMOMist, on September 2, 2016. For the original version of the post, click here.
After a summer of family fun, my kids both went back to school on Monday, giving me a few minutes of peace and tranquility.
OK... that’s over.
It’s less than 10 weeks until Election Day! Now that I have more time, what can I do to help Hillary get elected (and keep Donald Trump far away from the nuclear codes)?!
Here is one progressive mom’s to-do list for this election season, which is shaping up to be one of the most important presidential elections in our lifetime. The great thing is that many of these things can be accomplished with your kids by your side so you can set a good example, while getting them involved with the political process early in life!
My Back-to-School “To Do” List
1. Join (or Start) a Group
Grassroots organization has become one of the most effective way of mobilizing folks to support a cause, often from the comfort of their own homes. Stay-at-home (or well organized) moms can benefit from this empowering way to get involved. The group can stay social media-centered, but occasionally goes viral and takes on a life of its own.
Some examples of moms organizing at the grassroots level? Shannon Watts of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America started a movement in the wake of the Sandy Hook mass shooting that resembled Mothers Against Drunk Driving in some ways but had all the markings of the modern era: Watts used social media to build up her massive following (now over a half million followers on Facebook alone) in a relatively short period of time.
More recently, Julie Zebrak started Moms4HRC (over 13,000 followers on Facebook) with the goal of electing Hillary Clinton as our 45th president. Julie uses her electronic bully pulpit to send out (via social media and e-mail) pro-Hillary content from legitimate news organizations that she reads and digests before disseminating. She also provides content on how to get involved with the campaign, has hosted a phone bank, is fundraising for the campaign, and just launched a website devoted to the group. A lawyer and mom of two teenaged girls, Julie quit her government job to devote herself full-time to Moms4HRC.
No need to reinvent the wheel if you aren’t the organizing type (which I’m not), or simply don’t have the time. All you have to do is like/join/follow groups like Moms Demand Action and Moms4HRC and there is genuine power and clout in numbers.
While I personally haven’t done this yet, according to the research, canvassing is probably the single most effective way of getting out the vote. Canvassing involves knocking on the doors of voters and encouraging them to vote for Hillary. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this alone, bring a friend along or your kids. I know of multiple women/moms who have canvassed for the Clinton campaign, and they say it’s a great experience to connect with real people and talk about the issues.
To get involved with canvassing in your town, especially in key battleground states: (1) go to hillaryclinton.com, (2) click on the “more” tab, and (3) enter your zip code under “events.” You can then (4) select “canvass” as a filter to see upcoming opportunities and get additional information.
3. Voter Registration
I registered voters on a scorching hot day in Virginia with my kids (see above picture with my 16-year-old son taken by my 14-year-old daughter), and plan to do more now that it’s not as hot outdoors.
Basically, voter registration involves:
(1) Going to a group information session where you will learn about the voting requirements of a given state, and what you need to do to help a person register to vote.
(2) From there, going to an assigned location (typically outside of supermarkets or other public places)
(3) Asking people who pass by if they are registered to vote and, if not, would they like to register.
(4) Volunteers also help folks fill out the paperwork, which can be challenging for some.
Note that we do not ask anyone to vote specifically for Hillary. The purpose is to make sure that everyone who is unregistered but is eligible and wants to vote is registered before their state deadline.
4. Go to a Phone Bank
Not a face-to-face people person? Have physical or other challenges that would make canvassing and voter registration (which generally involves walking and/or standing for periods of time) difficult? Consider attending a phone bank event or volunteering for the campaign’s virtual phone bank. I did this beginning with Iowa during the primaries and it was so easy. Whatever you are tasked with accomplishing during a phone bank session, you will have a script in front of you, and all the information you need.
Go here for more info about the campaign’s virtual phone bank.
For info about phone bank events near you, (1) go to hillaryclinton.com, (2) click on the “more” tab, (3) enter your zip code in the space provided under “events,” and (4) filter by “phone banks” along the sidebar.
5. Host a Fundraiser
Yes, this can sound a little daunting, but fundraisers come in many shapes and sizes. Even if you aren’t the PTA type, you too can raise money for Hillary! For example, what about setting up a lemonade stand and donating all proceeds to the Clinton campaign fund? Not only are you getting the little ones involved at a level they can understand, but also you can chat with people as they come by and say why you are voting for Hillary and why they should too. Another example: Zebrak’s group is hosting a family friendly, back-to-school event in the backyard of a friend’s home. Be creative!
6. Attend a Fundraiser or Campaign Event
For a campaign contribution of varying amounts, you can go to an event to hear and sometimes meet interesting celebrity speakers. Occasionally there are even big name performers/Clinton supporters like Katy Perry or Barbra Streisand. Fundraisers like these tend to be centered around major cities such as Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, and Boston, but there can also be similar events going on elsewhere, particularly in battleground states such as Florida and Pennsylvania.
For a list of official campaign fundraiser events, (1) go to hillaryclinton.com, (2) click on the “more” tab, (3) enter your zip code under “events,” and (4) use filters to find the event that’s best for you.
If you are in the DC metro area, and can’t afford a major fundraising event, consider going with your family to Moms4HRC’s back-to-school party on September 17th for a smaller campaign contribution. For more info, click here.
7. Spread the Word
This has become much easier in the Internet era. I personally enjoy writing and have a background as an attorney/litigator, so I decided to start a blog entitled Musings from the FeMOMist. While my blog covers many topics of concern to moms and women, a number of my posts are about Hillary Clinton and why moms/women should vote for her over Donald Trump. Writing is a kind of a hobby for me at this point and my favorite way of supporting Hillary.
Not into writing? That’s perfectly fine―you can send out a short email blast to your networks and quote or link to other sources (give credit as appropriate) or share content with your Facebook friends. If you have a Twitter account you can tweet occasionally or share content that way.
8. Stay Informed
It’s hard to spread the word about Hillary’s accomplishments and what she intends to do as POTUS unless you are informed yourself. There are many ways for a busy mom to do this:
- Read articles about Clinton from reputable news sources that you feel confident are not biased against her. (An example of a so-called news source not to trust is Breitbart since its editor-in-chief is now running the Trump campaign.)
- Moms4HRC does a great job of gathering information and news and posting on its Facebook page. If you don’t follow the group on Facebook, all of the posts are here.
- Here is a link to a reasonably comprehensive list of Clinton’s jobs, experience, and accomplishments. Print it out and carry it with you to show people when they tell you Hillary hasn’t “accomplished” anything.
- A recent interview of Clinton by Parents Magazine reveals what she plans to do specifically to help families.
- Go to Hillary’s website to see her concrete proposals to address an array of issues that face our country.
- Follow these links to some of my entries as a contributor on HuffPost to know how to respond when people say they are considering voting for Donald Trump over Clinton, say that she is crooked/a liar, bring up Benghazi/emails, or mention that they dislike her.
9. Adopt a Campaign Office
One great idea proposed by Moms4HRC (see graphic below) is to adopt a campaign office. Basically, you provide food, drinks, and supplies to the volunteers who are working away to support the campaign.
10. Volunteer at a Campaign Office
Local campaign offices welcome volunteers and can have a variety of jobs for you to do, both at the office and in the field. As one example, during the primaries, I volunteered to stand outside an early voting poll venue and hand out flyers about Hillary. If your kids are old enough, you can bring them along and get them involved too. As we get closer to the election, there will be opportunities to drive voters to the polling place, and help watch little kids while their parents vote.