With so many states where Republicans hold a trifecta (State House, State Senate, and governorship), there have been a lot of new voting restriction laws coming out of the woodwork, and frequently passing. These laws are frequently billed as helping to prevent ‘voter fraud’, but rates of voter fraud are so low as to be practically non-existent, and what these laws tend to do in practice is make it much more difficult for young people (especially those who are attending college in a state that is different from the one that they vote in) and POC to vote – both groups that traditionally skew democratic in their political preferences.
It’s important that we do all we can to ensure that nobody who is eligible to vote is disenfranchised by one of these discriminatory and damaging laws. One way that you can help is by signing up and getting involved with Let America Vote, a new venture by former Missouri Secretary of State and 2016 Senate candidate Jason Kander (who is great on Twitter – you should follow him).
The organization is still in its very early days, but it already has the support of some Democratic superstars (Cecile Richards, Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Stephanie Shriock), mostly on the younger end of the spectrum, which is awesome. Donate to help get it up and running, or sign up for information on how you can help to ensure all Americans have the chances to make their voices heard at the ballot box once they’ve gotten on their feet.
Derek Nelson’s Re:Act Newsletter had some really great action items last week, so I am just going to share them here:
“President Donald Trump appeared to equate US actions with the authoritarian regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview released Saturday, saying, “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?” Former Gen. Barry McCaffrey on Monday said President Trump’s recent comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin may be the most anti-American statement ever made by a commander-in-chief.
What you can do: (8 minutes)
✓ Ask your senator to support the Russia Review Act, which will be introduced today (Wednesday). “The Russia Review Act would require the White House to submit a report detailing why it was seeking to lift sanctions, setting into motion a 120-day review period where Congress could vote to disapprove of easing the penalties on the country, according to a summary of the measure provided to CNN.” Call the Capitol Hill switchboard (202) 224–3121. Share any actions with #reactions2017.
✓ Keep pressing for taxes. “Thanks to a little-known and rarely used provision in the law, either the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee or the Joint Committee on Taxation may request anyone’s tax returns to examine — including the president’s — from the secretary of the Treasury. They wouldn’t need to tell anyone that they did so. They could share the returns with their committee members in closed session.”
If you are represented by any of the three members of congress below, consider calling and pushing them to request Donald Trump’s tax returns from the secretary of treasury, which is within their power.
✓ Use CallMyCongress.com to ask your House rep to support Rep Waters’ legislation to investigate President Trump’s ties to Russia and Cyberattacks.
Sample script: “I’m [FIRST & LAST NAME], a constituent calling to ask [REP. — — — ] to strongly support an investigation into Russian interference in our elections. Please ask [REP. — — — ] to support Congresswoman Waters’ new legislation to investigate the President’s ties to Russia.”
✓ Call for a new, bipartisan select committee to investigate.
Call both your senators and your representative. The Capitol Hill switchboard is at (202) 224–3121. Notes as always: Only call your reps. Be polite. One call per issue. Have a specific goal.
“Hello, my name is [X] from [CITY]. After what we’ve learned about the Trump administration and Russia this week, I am asking [REPRESENTATIVE X] to support a new, bipartisan select committee with public hearings. I think these hearings should include testimony from former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Will [REPRESENTATIVE X] publicly support this?”
Senator McCaskill called for it here. The wording is important. Some context: There are currently up to 5 investigations on Russia’s election meddling concurrently happening in Congress, which are all at risk of being slow, redundant, and opaque. We’re not asking our reps to support any investigation: We need one, proper investigation.
Share any actions with #reactions2017.
For more background info on the Russia issue and why it’s pertinent again, check out this excellent reporting by The Washington Post:
National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials, officials say (WaPo)
You may have heard of the Sleeping Giants movement, which aims to get companies to pull their ad dollars from sites like Breitbart by asking them repeatedly and politely via social media (primarily Twitter). They’ve enjoyed a high level of success, with many prominent companies blocking advertisement from showing up on the right-wing, often hateful ‘news’ site. One company they’ve had difficultly with, however, is Amazon. This may be surprising, considering Amazon’s participation in the legal case against the Travel Ban EO, and the fact that Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post. Apparently, there is a large contingent of Amazon employees pushing for the company to stop advertising on Breitbart. Let’s help them out.
Sign the petition asking Amazon to pull ad money from sites like Breitbart.
Scott Pruitt’s nomination to lead the EPA just passed in committee. This means that he’ll be up for a full Senate confirmation vote soon. Call your senators NOW and tell them to oppose this nomination.
A sample script from re:act:
“Hello, I am [NAME] from [PLACE]. As your constituent, I’m afraid that Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s pick to head the EPA, would be a disaster for our health, air, water, and climate. Will the Senator pledge to publicly oppose Pruitt’s nomination?”
Call them now to help ensure that decades of climate and environmental protections aren’t rolled back to keep our country and planet safe and beautiful for future generations.
(Friendly reminder to only call Senators and Reps who represent you, except for under special circumstances for those in leadership roles when they’re acting in that capacity – calling other reps of whom you’re not a constituent allows them to say that most of the feedback they get about any given topic doesn’t accurately reflect their constituents’ views, even if it does. Not flooding their phone lines also makes it easier for their constituents to get them on the phone, which is important.)
Inspired by Flippable:
How Democrats are doing on a state and local level is as, if not more, important than how they’re doing on a national level. Right now, Republicans are killing us in that regard – 33 out of 50 governors are Republicans, and Republicans in 24 states control both the entire state legislature and governorship. This is… not good. That’s why we need to support Democrats running for State and local offices, and this week, one of those Democrats is Stephanie Hansen. Stephanie is running for State Senator in Delaware’s February 25th special election. Right now, Delaware is one of the only Democratic ‘trifectas’ in the country, which means that Democrats control the entire state legislature and governorship. If Stephanie wins, that will continue to be true, but if she loses, Republicans will control Delaware’s state senate and will be able to gridlock progressive legislation.
You can learn more about Stephanie and donate to her campaign here.
The Army Corps of Engineers is conducting an environmental impact study on the currently proposed route for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). They’re accepting public commentary until February 20. Write them a letter here to let them know why the project should not go forward.
Trump followed through on one of his most odious campaign promises yesterday, signing an Executive Order that restricts Immigration for citizens (including current US visa and Green Card holders – more on this in a second) of seven Muslim-majority nations: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Sudan. While many on the right are claiming this isn’t a Muslim Ban, Trump has directed relevant agencies to prioritize Christian visa applicants and refugees from these countries. These restrictions went into place immediately, revoking visas from refugees and immigrants from these countries who had already been granted visas or had concrete plans to come to the US, stranding people who had been in the air at the time the restrictions went into place in airports, and even causing problems for Green Card holders – people who are legal United States permanent residents. It’s difficult to overstate how awful this is, and how much such an action goes against our values as Americans. It could also end up being a great recruitment tool for the extremist groups that Trump claims he’s trying to prevent from broaching our borders (friendly reminder that none of the 9/11 hijackers came from any of these countries, and all acts of ‘Islamic Extremism’ in the US in recent years have been carried out by people who were born here. Not to mention that most acts of terror, like mass shootings, in the US are carried out by white men who identify as Christian). This is something you should definitely be pissed off about, but also should mobilize against. What can we do?
- Call your Members of Congress (MoCs), show up to their offices, and show up to their public events.
- Tell Republicans to put country before party and stand up for ‘traditional American values,’ like valuing immigrants and being a beacon of hope and freedom to people around the world. Recite the full poem from the base of the Statue of Liberty. Really drive home the idea that this is unAmerican.
- Tell Democrats that it’s no longer safe to ‘see what Donald Trump does.’ He’s proven that we must take all of his campaign promises at face value. Tell them that unless they take a strong public stance against these actions and follow through with legislative action to stop this and other Trump actions/nominees, you will strongly consider voting for any candidate who may run against them in a primary.
- Do this with a phone call, or better yet, if you can, show up to their office nearest you on Monday or Tuesday. Find an Indivisible Action Group in your area if you haven’t already, and work with them to protest this action.
- Donate to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
- They’re filing a constitutional challenge against the Executive Order, and generally do a lot of great work to protect the civil rights of Muslim Americans and foster understanding.
- Donate to CAIR here.
- Donate to the International Rescue Committee
- Donate to and become a member of the ACLU
- Donate to UNICEF’s effort to help Syrian children
- Donate to the White Helmets
- Donate to the American Refugee Committee
- Donate to the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights
- Fight harassment and racism in your community when you see it
If you have any resources that I should update this post with, please contact me here.