So, the current administration’s agenda horrifies you, but you’re not sure exactly how to fight it. Calling your representatives in Congress is crucial, but so is local political activism. Here’s why:
- Many federal policies, including those related to the environment, healthcare, insurance, transportation, energy, and the workplace, are implemented by elected state officials, appointed state administrators, and local institutions.1 Do you know who those state and local officials are? Do they represent your viewpoints? For example, did you know that the Hatboro-Horsham school board and Horsham council have been all-Republican for years?
- States often take the lead on progressive issues. According to the Nation: “Same-sex marriage may be the most heartening example of how states can effect change, but they have also taken the lead on the legalization of marijuana, raising the minimum wage, reforming the criminal-justice system, passing effective gun-control measures, and combating climate change.”1
- “Republicans have long grasped the strategic importance of states in ways the Democrats have not,” the Nation reports.1 “Prior to the 2010 election, there were only nine states in which the GOP controlled the governorship and both houses of the legislature. In 2017, there will be 26, more than four times what the Democrats will have.” (In Pennsylvania, Republicans control both chambers in the General Assembly but the governor is a Democrat.) In the 2016 election, more votes were cast in Pennsylvania for Democrats than Republicans in state legislative races, but most of the seats went to Republicans because of gerrymandering.
What you can do:
- Vote in every election and encourage others to do likewise. According to columnist and activist Shaun King: “Every vote always counts, but locally, each vote has an even bigger chance of swinging an election your way.”2 In the primary election tomorrow (May 16), only one Democrat, Jennifer Wilson, is on the ballot for Hatboro-Horsham school board. The Horsham Democratic Committee urges you to vote for her and only her. Of the six candidates, the top five vote-getters will move on to the general election--do your part to ensure that Jennifer is one of them.
- Join the Horsham Democratic Committee to stay up to date on local politics.
- Download the Indivisible Guide, which has suggestions for local actions.
- Contact your state legislators on issues that concern you. You’ll have one state Senator and one state Representative. Not sure who represents you? Click here to enter your address and find out.
- Request town hall meetings with legislators. Attend town halls and local government meetings and make your voice heard.
- Pick an issue that concerns you, research it so you understand it well, and advocate for it. (This is where local political groups are helpful--divide up the work so no one is overwhelmed.)
- Run for office.
- Contribute to the ACLU and other groups fighting hate.
1. Gerken H, Bollier D, Gerstle G, Alperovitz G. ‘All resistance is local’: A plan of progressive action for the Trump years. The Nation.
2. King S. Making change in the age of Donald Trump. New York Daily News.