As the Trump presidency grinds on and Washington is consumed with so many simultaneous scandals that it is impossible to even maintain the mental bandwidth to register them all, I’ve found that there are a few things that I want to remind my fellow liberals. But then when I sat down to actually write them out, I had the wonderful realization that (a) yesterday was “Star Wars Day” (May the 4th be with you!), and (b) The things I want to say actually tie nicely with a few choice quotes from Star Wars. So, without further ado, some Star Wars themed political advice:
Don’t Get Cocky
There is a lot of talk about a rising “Blue Wave” in November, and polling and special election results have generally been very good for Democrats. Teacher strikes across the country have state legislators, who are used to being able to do terrible things while nobody is paying attention, pretty nervous. People talk as if Democrats taking control of the House is inevitable and the Senate is likely, and as if all the crazy Republicans in state and local government will be swept out of office.
Are these things possible? I hope so. But please. PLEASE, don’t get complacent. There are still great swaths of the country who think Trump and the Republicans are doing a great job. I firmly believe that Democrats can win, but only if we work hard for it. Want good candidates to win in November? Then you need to be signing petitions NOW to get them on the ballot (here’s the link for Arizona). Are you an Arizona voter who supported the #RedForEd teacher walkout? Then make sure you sign the #InvestInEd petition so that we can vote for permanent education funding in November. And if you’re a liberal anywhere, then make sure you and all your friends are registered to vote, and that you vote in the primaries.
Stay On Target
Look, I know. The news is just ridiculous. This administration has more (and worse) scandals in a week than Obama had in 8 years. It’s easy to end up getting outrage fatigue, exhausting yourself chasing each one and ending up getting nowhere. Likewise, it’s easy to look at the Mueller probe and hope that, like some sort of Deus Ex Machina, it will magically fix all of our problems.
The truth is, the problem isn’t just Trump, and the only thing that is going to make things better is voting Republicans out of office. Repeatedly. Election after election after election. And the way that happens is getting Democrats to the polls in overwhelming numbers, election after election after election.
Don’t let all the chaos of the news cycle distract you from that priority. Stay on target. Donate to groups that fight voter suppression, harass your friends and family to make sure they are registered (and signed up for early voting if it’s available), volunteer with groups that get people registered to vote, volunteer for the democratic party. Do whatever you can to make the “blue wave” happen.
Only a Sith Deals in Absolutes
The #RedForEd movement just wrapped up a historic teacher walk-out in Arizona. The result was a better budget for education than AZ has seen in quite a while, but it still fell short in many ways. Now that the walk-out is over, I’ve seen some people gravitating toward extreme responses: Either they try to make it seem like the movement was overwhelmingly successful, or like nothing was accomplished and that the strike should go on. Attitudes like this, gravitating toward either absolute, aren’t very productive. The truth is, the movement had some impressive successes given some of the truly horrible Republicans in the state legislature, but there is still a lot of work left to do.
Likewise, when it comes to candidates, there is a certain subset of liberal voters who require their candidates to be liberal in all things, or else they won’t vote for them. In the 2016 general election it was Bernie or Bust. Now I’m seeing a similar dynamic in the Arizona senate candidates. Deedra Abboud and Kyrsten Synema are the leading democratic candidates. Abboud is more liberal on most issues (and is my preference), while Synema is very moderate.
By all means, at this stage support the candidate you agree with most. Vote for them in the primary. But if the more moderate Democrat wins the primary (as seems likely in the AZ senate race), then we need to rally around them. I don’t like it any more than you do, but until ranked choice voting becomes widespread, the fact remains that we’re stuck with two dominant parties, and if you abstain from voting for the Democrats because their candidate isn’t liberal enough for your tastes, you give an advantage to the Republican.