Not a ring (side eye), but ringing in the new year with plans to be more politically engaged in a major election year is something to be excited about.
Happy New Year, folks! It’s that time of year again: we’re diving into how we can collectively become more civically and politically engaged in the new year. (Read part one from last year).
If you hadn’t already guessed, this year is ~pretty important~ in the political world.
Aside from the obvious presidential election (more to come on that soon), here in South Carolina, we’ve got every state senate seat up, every state house seat up, three congressional races & a whole lot of other local elections across the state.
If you’re hoping to get more involved, here are some really important and great ways to do so.
Get involved with your local county party
Every county has a county party, so a great way to get involved with fellow Dems in your area is to go to county party meetings. They’re typically held monthly, and some counties also have a Dem Women’s meeting in addition to the general meeting. These meetings are also great ways to get a sense of what issues your neighbors care about and to see who is planning to run/running for office in your area.
Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer
The holy grail of helping. You can volunteer on your favorite presidential candidate’s campaign or for the many folks running for office locally. Volunteering looks like many different things: you can volunteer to knock doors (aka canvassing), make phone calls (aka phonebanking), host a debate watch party at your house or even house a campaign staffer at your home for a few weeks (aka supporter housing). Even just making sure your contact information is up-to-date in VAN (VoteBuilder) is helpful!
Put your money where your support is! I know a certain candidate who would still be running for President if he’d had the money *wipes tear*. But seriously -- if you don’t donate $5 (or however much) every so often to Democratic candidates, don’t expect them to win. Campaigns cost a lot of money. Hiring staff, buying ads on social media and television, hosting events, paying for travel -- all of that has a pretty price tag. Any amount helps!
Muy importante. Read campaign websites to learn about a candidate’s policy platforms & positions and read the news to stay up-to-date on topics. An informed voter is a powerful one!
There are a number of email newsletters that provide great information about political, world and local events. You can subscribe to the SCDP’s mailing list to find out everything there is to know about campaign and party activity in the state, and you can also get news clips specific to South Carolina. Other general political/world event newsletters I think are solid are Politico’s Playbook and 5 Things from CNN.
Work for or participate in the 2020 Census
Sliding this one in here because it’s very important but may get overlooked with all of the hoopla around the election in November. If you or someone you know is looking for part-time work, the Census is hiring LOTS of workers, and the pay goes up to $16.50/hour here in SC. And, of course, please participate in this year’s census. It only comes every ten years, and it affects a LOT of things state-wide and nationally. The count will launch on April 1.
Why not? If you know the people and the issues, if you have the passion and if you have pure intentions to serve those you'll represent, go for it. And don’t call me if you’re not serious because I’m almost positive I could convince you to run (LOL).
Our favorite reminder. The South Carolina primary -- First in the South -- is Feb. 29. Encourage your friends in-state to vote, and remind your friends who live out-of-state to vote absentee if they’re still registered here in SC. Your primary vote as a South Carolinian matters more than anybody’s in any other state. South Carolina is viewed as a microcosm of our nation with its voter demographic being (much) more black than any other early state. Please take casting your vote seriously!
Best wishes & happy volunteering, donating, voting and more in 2020!