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So what are you going to do about it?

Shyamala Gopalan, mother of Kamala Harris

Protecting Democracy

Columnist Jennifer Rubin is online every Friday for a reader Q&A where she will interact with readers, discuss her columns and answer questions. The following question appeared in Rubin's column, Where do Democrats go from here on Manchin, in The Washington Post on July 15, 2022.

What are the steps to ‘protect’ our democracy?

Hello, Ms. Rubin — Maybe I’ve missed the list of succinct, concrete, practical, useful, realistic, things we citizens can actually do to “protect” our democracy. I’ve been on board a long time, but I am tired of the words “we need to.” They seem as worthless as “thoughts and prayers.” I volunteer for campaigns, give money, write to my representatives and educate myself as best as I can (thank you for your work). I also speak up to others who are open and don’t waste my time on willfully ignorant others. What am I missing? It only works if enough people choose to participate, but that is their responsibility.

Jennifer Rubin
Opinion Columnist
Make certain everyone you know is registered to vote and turns out for every election. Volunteer not only on campaigns, but as a poll worker (absolutely critical when MAGA forces are packing these posts). Attend local school board meetings and city government hearings. Subscribe to local newspapers, which are in financial crisis. Support and give money not just to candidates, but to groups that advocate and litigate for democratic reforms. If your state has ballot initiatives or referendums, support those or even start one that enhances democracy. (A measure for an independent commission to control redistricting appeared on the 2018 ballot in Michigan and passed. One woman kicked off the entire effort with a Facebook post.) And if you are so inclined, run for office yourself. Democracy is hard work, I know. But the alternative is surrendering to authoritarian, reactionary forces that will undermine democracy.

Are we going to be alright?

Ben Wikler interviewd on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell

On March 13, 2024, on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Lawrence interviewed Ben Wikler, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. The following is an excerpt from that conversation.

Lawrence: When Ben Wikler talks Wisconsin, I just listen…But as you know, there is a tension around this campaign. I remember in past presidential campaigns and the pre-Trump era, people would say to me, oh, what’s going to happen, and I always tell them, I don’t know. And now, what I hear from people is tell me it’s going to be OK. Tell me it's going to be OK. It's very different from the feelings you had on Democrat versus Republican presidential campaigns in the past. It’s about, are we going to be OK, is the country going to be OK? Are we going to get through this? Which means, is Donald Trump going to lose? What do you say when people ask you that in a state where it’s a one percent, one way or the other, outcome?

Ben: I say that Wisconsin, over and over, and this is true in all the closest battleground states. It’s going to come down to the margin of effort. In other words, the work that people do. Volunteers who want to help us, go with You can sign up as a volunteer or donate anywhere in the country. And people in Wisconsin, knocking on doors, making those phone calls, chipping in, that will determine the outcome because it will come down to 2 or 3 votes per precinct around our state. And the good thing about incredibly small margins like that is you can make that difference yourself, watching this right now. You can play the role in flipping a precinct that helps flip the state, that tips the entire Electoral College. That is an extraordinary privilege. It’s the power of being in a genuine democracy and it’s use it or lose it. This is the moment, if you care about our democracy, to fight for it; and the polls say in Wisconsin, it is tied. This could absolutely come down to a miniscule margin that volunteers—after we win the election and Joe Biden wins another term, and we can all exhale—volunteers in this election will be able to look in the mirror and say to themselves, I did this. That’s what we want for everyone to feel in this race.

Lawrence: Ben Wikler, thank you very much for giving us that guidance. I know there’s a lot of voters out there in states like California, New York, Massachusetts, other places where they are out of the Electoral College game. They’re absolutely going to Joe Biden, and they only wish they could help somehow in those states that have that burden and privilege and responsibility in the end of choosing a president. So that guidance is very helpful, beyond Wisconsin. Thank you very much.

Ben: They can join our virtual phone banks. Let me just say, we welcome folks from out of state. You’ll call strong Democrats and remind them to vote. You know, we don’t want out of state volunteers going to doing the persuasion here, but we can absolutely use all the volunteers anywhere in the country, because there are 3.28 million votes in 2020, and who knows how many we’ll need this time. We’re bringing up the numbers now. We want help from anyone who can help because it’s going to be all hands on deck to win this thing.

Lawrence: Ben, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

Ben: Thank you.

Benjamin McDonald Wikler

Chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin

Democratic Party of Wisconsin

Web Site | Wikipedia

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