How To Talk To Your Trump-Supporting Relatives Without Losing Your Sh*t

As a political science student who wants to write about politics for a career, Thanksgiving (and any family event) is a minefield for me. Not only do I have to tell my family (again) that I am still single, but conversations about whether I have a job plan for after I graduate automatically link to politics and vice versa. 

Like it is for many people, talking about politics with relatives is really hard for me. Some of my family members voted for Trump or didn’t vote at all, and as a very vocal liberal, this makes for some… difficult conversations. As easy as it will be this year to get in a drunk screaming match over Zoom with your relatives or to just hit “end call,” a big part of practicing allyship is talking about important issues with people who disagree with you. That said, here are some tips for staying chill when politics comes up over the holidays. 

Do: Listen To Them Speak

If there’s one thing that everyone hates, it’s being interrupted and feeling ignored. Many Trump supporters tend to say that they like Trump because he understands that, and they think that he gives them a voice. That said, interrupting your relatives and calling them stupid (no matter how badly you want to) will not lead to any sort of calm or productive conversation

Listening to them also gives you the chance to collect your thoughts and form an appropriate response. I’ve found that the people in my life who vote for Republicans or support Trump tend to either say that they like him because he is “real” or they grasp at the same four or five reasons for supporting him. When you actually pay attention during these conversations, you’re in a better position to point out to the other person why they’re wrong or misinformed. 

Don’t: Talk Down To Them

“Are you f*cking stupid?” is kind of my go-to catchphrase, so this is a hard one for me. However, using incendiary language puts you in the position to both stoop to their level and makes it so that they’re way less willing to communicate with you. Some alternatives to asking this question are: “I read something different about that, where did you get that information?” or “I could see why you would interpret x that way; however, here’s what it really means.” 

Do: Debate Belief Systems, Not Individuals

When someone starts using language or saying things that you’re uncomfortable with, it’s essential to stand up for yourself and explain why they’re in the wrong. What I’ve found, though, is that you very rarely will have a productive conversation after calling someone racist/xenophobic/sexist/etc. 

You’re more likely to actually make progress when you question the belief and say something like, “What you just said is actually founded in a racist belief and it really upsets me to hear you say that.” While your relatives are still going to be super defensive about that, it’s even more likely that they’ll be open to a conversation if you go this route. 

Don’t: Start Yelling Back At Them

I was an overnight camp counselor for three years, and one thing I quickly realized (but still haven’t totally mastered) was that my campers were significantly more likely to listen to me if I spoke quietly than when I was screaming at them to just get the f*ck in bed.

As someone who is sometimes known for having a ~bit of a temper~ and also cries when I’m mad, this applies to almost every argument I’ve ever been in. There’s nothing worse than being called crazy or overdramatic, and even if you’re rightfully upset, this is a common tactic that (mostly male) older relatives love to resort to. 

When you sense that tensions are rising and you’re trying to avoid bringing the energy to a 12/10, just start talking quieter and more slowly. I know that I just said to not talk down to them, but I literally love explaining things to Trump supporters like they’re in kindergarten because, at the end of the conversation, I’m the one who keeps the higher ground. 

Do: Know The Difference Between Policy Disagreements And Fundamental Differences When It Comes To Values 

In the weeks leading up to and since the election, I saw a wave of “moderates” in my life post Insta stories that said, “We can disagree on politics and still be friends.” Like, at face value, that’s an excellent point. However, it seems like there may be some misunderstanding about what qualifies as politics and what qualifies as, like, necessary empathy and respect for human dignity. 

I’m all for talking through policy disagreements, and I can totally respect people challenging my beliefs. When I say that, though, I’m talking about issues like local tax levies, infrastructure proposals, zoning laws, etc. However, most of the time, when we think about family fights about politics, these aren’t the issues we’re talking about.

If it gets to a point where you’re arguing with a family member about systemic racism, discrimination, LGBTQ+ rights, and health care access, you’re no longer talking about politics. You’re now in a debate over fundamental beliefs about human rights; this is where things get complicated, especially after half of a bottle of wine.

Do: Know When To Draw Boundaries 

Whether you’re planning a Zoom call with your whole family (good luck) or are keeping it to just your household, this holiday season will likely be a little tenser than ones in the past. If you know that a political argument is likely to break out during dinner, coming in with a plan is really important. Know your sh*t and have some essential facts at the ready, but also know what topics will get too heated and should stay off-limits. It’s also beneficial to talk to relatives that you know have similar views to make sure you’re comfortable defending each other and on the same page. 

With the clusterf*ck that is 2020, the silver lining of a Zoom Thanksgiving is that you can hit “end call” or fake a poor network connection at any time—especially if you’re being disrespected and invalidated by people who say that they love you. However, a big part of allyship means having these hard conversations with relatives. Even if you can’t change their mind, half of the battle encourages them to second-guess their own beliefs.

Image: David Todd McCarty/ Unsplash

How You Can Help Flip The Senate With The Georgia Runoffs

After the longest Tuesday in history, Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris are officially the President-Elect and Vice President-Elect. That’s right, after four long years of waiting for this moment, I can finally say Donald Trump is f*cking fired. 

But, because it’s 2020, the election isn’t over yet. 

As a reminder, to flip the Senate, Democrats needed to net four seats, including the Vice Presidency, which we won. Here’s how we landed: Dems flipped seats in Colorado and Arizona, Republicans flipped a seat in Alabama, and our best chance of taking the whole Senate is in Georgia, which will hold runoffs for two Senate seats on January 5. 

In Georgia, candidates need to earn a majority of votes, at least 50%, or the race goes to a runoff. No candidate running for Georgia Senate crossed that threshold after the Nov. 3. vote. Which means we can win this thing. 

Kelly Loeffler, the Republican incumbent (who may or may not have sold her soul to the Devil for amazing hair) was appointed to replace retiring senator Johnny Isakson. She will be running against Reverend Raphael Warnock, progressive activist and pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. In the other race, David Perdue, the incumbent, is facing the highly popular Jon Ossoff. Ossoff nearly won a House seat in 2018, when Stacey Abrams nearly won the state’s gubernatorial race. Georgia, you look so much better in blue! 

I know we’re all really tired (and prob hungover) but winning Georgia is not totally out of reach, which is why it’s really important to start putting even more focus on the races in Georgia. I put together four easy-ish things you can do to help John Ossoff and Reverend Warnock flip the Senate. 

 

Donate Money to Campaigns

Money is obviously really important to running successful campaigns, and with national attention turned to Georgia, funding on both sides is going to skyrocket. One option to help voters out would be to donate directly to Jon Ossoff and Reverend Warnock’s campaigns. 

Donate Money to Organizations Focused on Flipping the Senate

If you’re not exactly sure where your money will be the most effective, another option is donating to organizations that will help allocate your money for you and make sure that your donation is the most effective. 

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will put resources in a variety of places including the campaigns, voter registration and GOTV efforts, and advertising needs. Vote Save America’s Get Mitch or Die Trying campaign will similarly allocate the resources and money between the two candidates and gives you the option to split your donation between the two. 

Text and Phone Banking for Candidates

Text banking was a huge tool used during the general election to get out the vote and help persuade people to vote blue. There are a lot of different organizations and events that will start looking for volunteers to text bank as the election gets closer.

Right now, my favorite one is Jon Ossoff’s official campaign’s text banking events simply because he’s calling the initiative ‘Run Your Ossoff’ which is, like, really clever. Events are available over a wide range of times every day and are completely online. 

Volunteer With Fair Fight Action

Founded by the queen herself, Stacey Abrams, Fair Fight is dedicated to protecting against voter suppression efforts, especially in Georgia. Through Fair Fight, you can call and text voters to help them secure their registration and make their voting plans, and, if you live in Georgia, sign up to be a poll worker. 

Through January 5, we’re donating 20% of sales from our Flip The Senate merch collection to Fair Fight Action.

Even though I’m normally very overdramatic, I’m not exaggerating at all when I say that winning these two Senate races is critical to making sure the Democrats can fight for important policy changes in the Senate. The good news is that with record youth turnout in the general election, and the ability for 17.5 year olds to vote in the runoff, Democrats have a pretty good chance at making this happen.

If you spent the time between Tuesday and Saturday wishing you had gotten more involved in the Presidential election, now’s the time to make it happen.

Image: Shutterstock

5 Best Episodes of ‘The West Wing’ To Cure Your Political Depression

In case you missed it, The West Wing cast and creators came together over the last few months to produce and release a staged adaptation for HBO Max of one of the series’ most beloved episodes: Hartsfield’s Landing (season 3, episode 14). Usually, this episode would be a must include on any list of comfort episodes of the series. Still, it should go without saying that this episode is both relaxing and good enough to lessen the total shit show that is our political reality. 

I was a baby when The West Wing came out and didn’t watch it until I was a junior in high school, but as soon as I started it, I knew I wanted to major in political science and eventually become the White House Chief of Staff for the first female president. Bold, I know, but what can I say? 

Well, obviously, that is no longer a journey that I will be taking, but the show is still one of my go-tos (tied with Parks and Rec, ofc) when I’m feeling completely hopeless about the state of American politics and government. The West Wing draws such an incredibly optimistic and idealistic picture of how politics should work, to the point that it left me with a pretty delusional picture of what a potential career in politics would look like. 

So, in the spirit of The West Wing reunion, insane Supreme Court hearings, and less than three weeks until the election, here’s my (spoiler-filled) list of the most comforting West Wing episodes. 

20 Hours In America Part 1 and 2

(Season 4, Episodes 1 and 2)

White House incompetence but make it cute and quirky. When Toby, Josh, and Donna get left behind in rural Indiana by the Presidential motorcade on a campaign stop, they struggle to get themselves home only to be completely f*cked over by daylight savings time. A lot of other stuff happens in the 2 part episode, including Charlie Young stepping up to be a Big Brother, Sam Seaborn being entirely baffled by what happens in the Oval Office, and a devastating pipe bomb explosion. 

Highlights include: Josh and Toby totally losing their shit, a Sleepy Rob Lowe falling out of bed, dry rub ribs, and an incredible speech by President Bartlet that will make you totally forget our actual idiotic president (for like 5 minutes max.) 

 

The Midterms

(Season 2, Episode 3) 

 

In general, season 2 might be the best one, but I can’t just list every episode. The Midterms quickly takes the audience through several months following the traumatic events of the season one finale. This episode takes on white supremacy and features a really satisfying confrontation of evangelical hypocrisy, something that I think we all are wishing for right now if you know what I mean. Even with all of the heavy plotlines, it’s one of my main comfort episodes of The West Wing. 

Highlights include: Bradley Whitford in giant PJs, C.J. Cregg confusing the words psychics and physicists multiple times (same, babe), and a few adorable Josh and Donna moments.  

 

The Debate

(Season 7, Episode 7)

This episode takes place during the fictional presidential debate between the Republican candidate, Senator Arnold Vinnick (played by Alan Alda), and Democrat Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits). It was aired live twice, once on the East coast, and once on the West coast. While the candidates may interrupt each other several times, the fictional debate is way less frustrating to watch than the total dumpster fire we experienced in real life a few weeks ago. 

Highlights: IDK? Neither candidate had to ask the other to shut up. The moderator actually moderates. The most exciting part was something different than a fly? Take your pick. 

Let Bartlet Be Bartlet

(Season 1, Episode 19)

Hear me out, most of the plot of this episode sounds like it comes straight out of today’s news cycles, but it’s still a perfect escape. After an internal memo about all of the president’s flaws gets leaked, the press has an absolute field day, and the administration comes to a screeching halt. Instead of the president firing all of his staff members and losing his shit, like our real-life president would, the memo is a wake-up call to the administration and ends up motivating them to come up with a new agenda based on their values. 

Highlights: honestly, overall, it’s just great motivation to watch people get their lives together, even if you’re lying in bed and on your second bag of popcorn for the night while doing it. 

Celestial Navigation

(Season 1, Episode 15)

Without a doubt, this is my favorite episode of The West Wing. It balances really heavy plotlines about racism with some of the funniest moments of the series. While it’s obvi all fictional, it is a little cathartic to see cops forced to apologize for profiling a Hispanic Supreme Court nominee and Democratic officials straight-up calling Republicans racist. In the meantime, Sam and Toby get lost in Connecticut while trying to bail the administration’s nominee out of jail, and Josh tells Georgetown students way too many details about the week he had in the White House. 

Highlights include: Alison Janey’s C.J. Cregg recovering from an emergency root canal, Dule Hill as Charlie trying to wake up the president, and Rob Lowe foreshadowing his role as Chris Traeger while talking about dental hygiene. 

…. and, in no particular order, honorable mentions: In This White House (Season 2, Ep. 4), Two Cathedrals (Season 2, Ep. 22), The Cold (Season 7, Ep 13), and The Supremes (Season 5, Ep. 17).

Again, there’s no excuse for checking out of the real politics that are happening around us, but there’s nothing wrong with taking an hour or so to take care of yourself. Maybe Yeah, it’s a low bar, but watching a competent administration in the White House is one of the most relaxing things for me at this point. 

(Images courtesy of Giphy, NBC)

 



Presidential Debate Recap: Will You Shut Up, Man?

If you’re reading this on September 30, last night was the first presidential debate, and holy f*ck am I emotionally exhausted. However, democracy doesn’t take mental health days so, here I am. 

Last night’s debate was in Cleveland, Ohio (go Cavs), and was moderated by Fox’s Chris Wallace. Heading into the debate, Wallace planned to focus on the candidates’ records, the Supreme Court, COVID, the economy, race, and election integrity. Trump was also expected to be asked questions about discoveries regarding his taxes. However, the debate’s main themes ended up being fragile masculinity, gaslighting, and interrupting each other. 

For some context, with only five weeks left until November 3rd, over a million voters have cast their ballots, and 86% of voters have made up their minds, according to Politico. So, we’re not sure how informative or influential this shit will end up being in the election. Quite honestly, if I wanted to see three guys yell at each other incoherently, I’d watch frat guys argue. 

Whether you watched it and got too wrapped up in our ‘drink or donate’ game to remember most of it or you decided not to subject your mental health to the sh*t show that was last nights debate, I’m here with what I think are the most importantly insane moments from the debate. Let’s talk about where this wild ride took us. 

On The Supreme Court

The debate started with a discussion over the Supreme Court that focused on Amy Coney Barrett, health care, and election results. While Trump claimed that he, as President, has the right to nominate a new justice, Biden held that the American people have a right to have a say in who gets to make the nomination, especially since people have already started voting. 

Trump also said that filling the late Justice Ginsburg’s seat was crucial before the election if the Supreme Court is tasked with a ruling on election results. This very much fits with the Republican party’s goal of politicizing the Supreme Court and court system in their favor rather than neutralizing the institution. 

On COVID

Last night, the President continued to demonstrate his concerning misunderstanding of and desire to distract from the coronavirus pandemic. Voters have overwhelmingly disapproved of the Presidents’ handling of the virus, which has now killed over 200,000 Americans and 1 million people worldwide. Trump continued pushing the unsubstantiated claim that children and young people aren’t affected by the coronavirus. 

Donald Trump also claimed that his rallies that completely ignore social distancing guidelines have “no negative effect” as if Herman Cain didn’t just die after possibly contracting COVID at, wait for it, a Trump campaign event. The President tried to distinguish between his rallies and Joe Biden’s in a way that made Biden look weak and unpopular. IDK about anyone else, but I feel like following social distancing guidelines, taking precautions to make sure attendees are safe, and modeling mask-wearing behavior is a little more presidential than pretending that the virus doesn’t exist.  

On The Economy

Vice President Biden’s weakest moments were during discussions over the economy, if for no other reason than the fact that he made some exaggerated claims. While the economy in 2016 was not horrible and unemployment was falling, it certainly wasn’t at its best. However, President Trump’s claims that he “had to close the greatest economy in the history of the country” (due to the pandemic) were also incorrect. Trump came into office during a period of economic expansion that was in trouble before COVID-19. 

Trump also claimed that he brought back 700,000 manufacturing jobs, which is blatantly incorrect. According to the Washington Post‘s fact check of the debate, at most, 480,000 manufacturing jobs have been created during the Trump presidency. However, due to recent unemployment rates, Trump is responsible for a net loss of 252,000 jobs. 

On His Taxes

He did it again! President Trump claimed that in 2016 and 2017, he spent millions of dollars in federal income taxes as if the New York Times doesn’t have the receipts saying he paid $750 both of those years. When asked to back up his claims that the New York Times report about his taxes was fabricated, Trump decided to latch on to his excuse that his tax returns/audits are in progress. Sure, Jan.

On Family Matters

Like the true heartless asshole he is, the President had no issue attacking Joe Biden’s family. The President repeatedly brought up the Moscow mayor’s wife, unsubstantiated claims about Hunter Biden’s board membership with a private equity firm that has links to the Chinese government, and implied issues with nepotism. And, as much as I wanted to see Biden absolutely destroy Donald Trump’s adult children and the Trump family’s own issues with nepotism, Biden took the high road, which was probably the smart thing. 

Instead of absolutely dragging Ivanka, Eric, and Don Jr., Biden turned to face the camera and reminded viewers that this debate and the presidency were not about the Trumps and the Bidens but about American families, many of whom have suffered devastating losses due to the pandemic. 

Biden did, however, take this chance to discuss Beau’s military experiences in context of the disrespect with which the President talks about people who are enlisted in the military and veterans. Instead of, like, apologizing for being extremely disrespectful to the people who risk their lives for America, Trump responded with an out of pocket and unnecessary attack about Hunter Biden’s history of addiction. Biden responded with compassion, acknowledging the toll drug abuse has taken on his and so many other American families but noting he’s “proud of his son” for his recovery. 

On White Supremacy

Unsurprisingly, when asked if he would condemn white supremacists’ actions, Donald Trump refused to do so. It’s not that he didn’t answer the question; he gave us a pretty clear answer by telling Proud Boys, a white supremacist/nationalist group, to “stand back and stand by.” Call me radical, but I feel like condemning white supremacists and telling them to f*cking stop doing what they’re doing should be the primary litmus test for Presidential candidates? 

Trump also took this moment to talk about how ANTIFA and “the left” is a more significant threat and cause more violence than extremist groups on the radical right. Biden responded that, of course, he condemns white nationalists, opposes violence, and that “ANTIFA is an idea, not an organization.” As a fun reminder, ANTIFA quite literally means Anti-Fascist. 

TL;DR

Trump’s pre-debate strategy seemed to be setting an incredibly low bar for Joe Biden’s performance. The thing with this is that it was just a stupid idea because all Biden had to do was the bare f*cking minimum to overcome expectations. 

While Trump behaved like a bizarre combination of an out-of-control toddler and gaslighting ex, voters got a glimpse of the same Joe Biden who said “this is a big f*cking deal” during a bill signing. Biden may have made comments that would traditionally be considered inappropriate and crossing a line (read: “would you shut up, man?”) with a sitting president, his frustration was totally called for. Since Biden undoubtedly cleared the incredibly low bar the President set for him, the consensus seems to be that the former Vice President came out on top. 

Like Jake Tapper said, the debate “was a hot mess, inside of a dumpster fire, inside of a train wreck.” But, if you’re asking my opinion: 

Losers: Biden, Trump, Chris Wallace, and The American People

Winner: The viral tweets and memes that were made among the way



Images: Photos by Jim WATSON and SAUL LOEB / AFP; Giphy (7)

We Have To Talk About Trump’s Antisemitism

My Jewish identity has been a huge part of my life since I was born. I was lucky enough to grow up somewhere with a large Jewish community. I went to a Jewish summer camp, participated in youth groups, and now go to a college with a relatively large Jewish population. So, while I grew up aware of antisemitism, I’m privileged in that my own experiences of it have been pretty limited. 

Unfortunately, this is not super common for American Jews. As the Anti-Defamation Leauge (ADL) reported, antisemitic attacks are only becoming more frequent across the United States. In 2019, a recorded 2,107 anti-semitic incidents took place across the country. This was a 12 percent rise from the year before and the highest number since the ADL began recording.

Antisemitism is widespread across both major parties in the United States. Sometimes, it seems like attacks on Jewish people are coming from all sides. While we would expect a normal president to denounce all types of hate, including antisemitism, this isn’t the case with Trump. Instead, he covers up his antisemitic policies and behaviors with pro-Israel policy. 

For his entire presidency, Donald Trump has leaned on being “good for American Jews” because he is “good for Israel.” This week alone, during an annual pre-Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) call with Jewish leaders, Trump said, “We really appreciate you… we love your country also.” 

I'm American. https://t.co/bWUCJBDSKR

— Sam Vinograd (@sam_vinograd) September 16, 2020

This isn’t the first time he has said something like this. Over the last several years, Trump has repeatedly implied that Jewish Americans should be grateful for his actions in the Middle East and his strengthened ties with the current Israeli Prime Minister. And, peace is a great thing, no matter who the President is, part of their job is helping further peace plans whenever possible. My problem isn’t with that, and honestly, I’m not even here to write about conflicts in the Middle East. 

My problem is that when Trump views Jewish Americans’ electoral support as tied to Israel, he is perpetuating the idea of ‘dual loyalty.’ The concept of dual loyalty is an antisemitic dog whistle that implies that Jewish people are inherently disloyal and place the global Jewish community over the countries in which they live. In the United States, it is used to imply that American Jews can’t be 100% loyal to America because some of their loyalty is owed to Israel or the international Jewish community. 

Trump’s attempts to win Jewish people’s electoral support are all based on the extremely reductive assumption that American Jews’ top policy concern is Israel. While it may be the case for some members of the Jewish community, it certainly isn’t true for everyone. By only attempting to appeal to Jewish voters through Middle Eastern policy, the Trump administration actively ignores dangerous forms of antisemitism in America. 

White supremacy and antisemitism are inextricable from each other. We all remember what Donald Trump said after the Unite The Right rally in 2017: “you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.” Many of the “very fine people” that Trump was talking about were carrying Nazi flags and shouting, “Jews will not replace us.”

Throughout his presidency, Trump has clung to white supremacists’ support, endorsed their actions, and continuously given them platforms. The most recent example of this is Trump’s embracing of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which has blatantly anti-semitic roots. The theory pushes the narrative that the Rothschild family holds control of every bank in America and alleges that a secret ‘elite’ class dominates other important industries such as the media. 

A few weeks ago, when asked about the conspiracy group, Trump said, “I don’t know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate.” This is just another case of Trump not only dismissing dangerous antisemitism, but giving it a platform. 

American Jews are not a monolithic group, and we care about a lot of things. Like I said, the top priority for some Jewish people may be the state of Israel, and that’s ok. However, it is neither mine nor many of the Jewish voters I talk to. In fact, around 75% of Jewish voters supported Hillary Clinton in the last election, and Jewish voters consistently make up a large Democratic party base. 

This baffles Trump, who, despite his claims of being a great ally to the Jewish community, said that he thinks that if “any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”

If the President actually cared about Jewish voters, he would stop perpetuating the incredibly dangerous narrative of dual loyalty and denounce white supremacy. But, I’m not really holding my breath. 



Here Are Links To Register To Vote And Request A Mail Ballot In Every U.S. State

Amid a global pandemic that will see unprecedented levels of mail-in voting, it’s more important than ever that you plan your vote now. Below, you will find direct links to your state’s Board of Elections to register to vote (39 states will let you do so online right now) and/or request your absentee ballot.

The deadlines listed below are deadlines to register to vote. Some states continue to extend deadlines for requesting or returning your absentee ballot, so make sure to check that regularly. In any event, you can absolutely still vote in person on election day or earlier in many states. If you plan to vote by mail, we cannot stress this enough: request your ballot ASAP. Fill it out ASAP.  Return it ASAP. You can return your absentee ballot in the mail or drop it off at a safe location in your area.  And if you never receive your absentee ballot or forget to fill it out, you can still vote on election day in person.



Alabama

General Election Deadline: October 19, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot. 

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

 

Alaska

General Election Deadline: October 4, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

 

Arizona

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Arkansas

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

California

General Election Deadline: October 19; also offers same-day registration 

Every registered voter in California will receive a ballot in the mail — make sure your address is updated.

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Register online now. 

 

Colorado

General Election Deadline: October 26, 2020 but also offers same-day registration for those who want to vote in person on election day. 

Every registered voter in Colorado will be sent a mail ballot — make sure your address is updated.

Register online now and check your absentee ballot deadlines.

 

Connecticut

General Election Deadline: October 27, 2020 or same-day registration.

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

 

Delaware

General Election Deadline: October 10, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

 

Florida

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020.

Register online now or request your absentee ballot.

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Georgia

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Hawaii

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020, also offers same-day registration.

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Idaho

General Election Deadline: October 9, 2020

*Can register to vote in person on election day

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Illinois

General Election Deadline:

By Mail: October 6, 2020

Online: October 18, 2020 

Also offers same-day registration to vote in person. 

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Indiana

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Iowa

General Election Deadline: October 24, 2020, also offers same-day registration for in-person voting

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Kansas

General Election Deadline: October 13, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Kentucky

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Louisiana

General Election Deadline:

In person/by mail: October 5, 2020

Online: October 13, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Maine

General Election Deadline: October 13, 2020, also offers same-day registration for in-person voting.

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Maryland

General Election Deadline: October 13, 2020, also offers same-day registration for in-person voting.

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Massachusetts

General Election Deadline: October 24, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Michigan

General Election Deadline: October 19, 2020, but also offers same-day registration for in-person voting on election day.

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Minnesota

General Election Deadline: October 13, 2020, also offers same-day registration for in-person voting on election day.

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Mississippi

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Missouri

General Election Deadline: October 7, 2020

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Montana

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020, offers same-day registration to vote in-person on election day. 

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

 

Nebraska

General Election Deadline:

By mail or online: October 16, 2020

In person: October 23, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Nevada

General Election Deadline: October 6, 2020 to vote by mail, also offers same-day registration for in-person voting on election day.

Every registered voter in Nevada will be sent a mail ballot — make sure your address is updated.

Register online now and check your absentee ballot deadlines.

New Hampshire

General Election Deadline: October 21, 2020, also offers same-day registration for in-person voting on election day. 

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

New Jersey

General Election Deadline: October 13, 2020

Every registered voter in New Jersey will be sent a mail ballot this year.

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

New Mexico

General Election Deadline:

By Mail: October 6, 2020

In person: October 31, 2020

Register now and check your absentee ballot deadlines.

New York

General Election Deadline: October 9, 2020

Register now (online if you have an ID) or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

North Carolina

General Election Deadline:

By Mail: October 9, 2020

In Person: October 31, 2020 

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

North Dakota

To vote in North Dakota, you just need to bring a valid proof of ID and residency to the polls. 

Find your polling location or request an absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Ohio

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Oklahoma

General Election Deadline: October 9, 2020

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Oregon

General Election Deadline: October 13, 2020

Every registered voter in Oregon will be sent a ballot in the mail.

Register now and check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Pennsylvania

General Election Deadline: October 19, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Rhode Island

General Election Deadline: October 4, 2020, also offers same-day registration for in-person voting, but for the presidential election only.

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

South Carolina

General Election Deadline:

In Person: October 2, 2020

Online: October 4, 2020

By Mail: October 5, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

South Dakota

General Election Deadline: October 19, 2020

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Tennessee

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Texas

General Election Deadline: October 5, 2020

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Utah

General Election Deadline: October 23, 2020, also offers same-day registration to vote in-person on election day. 

Every registered voter in Utah will be sent a mail ballot — make sure your address is updated or register online now 

Vermont

General Election Deadline: November 3, 2020, also offers same-day registration to vote in-person on election day. 

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Virginia

General Election Deadline: October 13, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Washington

General Election Deadline: October 26, 2020

Every registered voter in Washington will be sent a mail ballot. Register online now and make sure your address is updated

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Washington, D.C.

General Election Deadline: October 13, 2020, also offers same-day registration for in-person voting. 

This year, every registered voter in Washington, D.C. will be sent a mail ballot. Check the deadline to return by mail, or drop off at a dropbox location.

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

 

West Virginia

General Election Deadline: October 13, 2020

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Wisconsin

General Election Deadline:

By Mail or online: October 14, 2020 

In Person: October 30

also offers same-day registration for in-person voting on election day. 

Register online now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

Wyoming

General Election Deadline: October 19, 2020 by mail, also offers same-day registration for in-person voting on election day. 

Register now or request your absentee ballot

Check your absentee ballot deadlines.

U.S. Territories

Voter registration and absentee ballot deadlines here.

We Can’t Afford to Ignore Kamala Harris’ Asian-American Identity

As an Asian-American woman, I was embarrassed that it took me until late into the 2020 presidential election primaries to learn that Senator Kamala Harris is half South Asian.

The mainstream media had been primarily focused on the fact that she was a Black woman running for the highest position of office in the country. However, what has been way too often omitted from the coverage is her Indian heritage. Upon being named Joe Biden’s vice-presidential pick on Tuesday, Senator Harris became the first Black woman and the first Indian-American, South Asian, and Asian-American person to be on a major party’s presidential ticket. All these factors contribute to the insurmountable significance of this historic vice-presidential nomination.

Senator Harris is a daughter of Shyamala Gopalan, an Indian-born doctor and activist, and Donald Harris, a Jamaican-born economist and activist. Her parents divorced when she was a child, and she and her sister Maya were raised primarily by Gopalan.

In her memoir The Truths We Hold, Harris mentions that her mother was her most significant influence. The family often visited India when she was young—her mother’s family “instilled us with pride in our South Asian roots,” Harris writes. Kamala Devi Harris shares her first name with a beloved Indian flower, a Hindu deity, and a Bihari river. Her middle name Devi means goddess in Hindu.

Yet, there are still some folks who might be surprised to discover Harris’ Indian-American identity.

During her 2010 bid for California attorney general, many in San Francisco’s Indian American community were surprised to learn about her Indian ancestry. Until this week, the media often omitted her South Asian identity and merely identified her as the first Black woman so-and-so. During the presidential primary race, reporters and analyzers seldom referred to Harris as the “Asian American candidate”–such title only went to Andrew Yang. 

When the speakers were announced for next week’s Democratic National Convention, many claimed – incorrectly – that the event included no Asian American speakers. Kamala Harris’ name was clearly listed. (One person to represent an entire minority group is, of course, is far from adequate, and Yang has since been added to the line up as well.) 

Even as a U.S.-born East Asian American, I never fully felt a part of the American culture while growing up. To this day, strangers underestimate my ability to understand and read English, even though I write for a living, and English was the first language I learned as a child. Growing up in a predominately white town, I was one of the few “oriental-looking” students (as teachers phrased it) in school. My childhood best friend was South Asian, and we initially bonded over the fact that we were always “othered” by our peers.

Coming of age during the aftermath of 9/11 and a few years later, the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting, my Asian-American peers and I were seriously confused about our place in America. Bullied and named-called by our peers as a “terrorist” or “shooter,” it was challenging to grapple with our identities or ethnicities. America was the only place that we knew to call home, and so to be told to “go back to your own country” was so confusing and disheartening.

We would never have fathomed to see ourselves in the highest office. I get goosebumps just thinking about what this historic moment means to today’s kids who might be in similar shoes as I was back then.

Although there is no one right way to discuss or portray Harris’ identity, it does a massive disservice to her ancestors and the overall Asian-American community to completely ignore this aspect of her heritage and identity. To give attention to only her Black heritage feeds into the entrenched and outdated “one drop” rule from centuries ago, a practice that identifies and segregates people with the slightest African blood.

Harris herself has explicitly said that she doesn’t want to choose one identity over the other, but wishes to identify as simply American. However, from her childhood, when she was bused to another school district as a part of a desegregation plan, to her whole career as a politician where her Blackness has been a topic of contention, her racial identities have been at the center stage of public discourse. 

We are far from being past Trump’s obscure obsession with birtherism, which has resurfaced again. In a news conference on Thursday, Trump wrongfully said that, “I heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements,” It was a decade ago when he spread another race-based conspiracy theory that sowed mistrust in the background of another politician of color: President Obama.

Unfortunately, in today’s America, the reality is that anti-Blackness and the controversies of a biracial identity will continue to surface during the campaign trail.

The year 2020 has exposed the fact that most of America still doesn’t have the language or knowledge to speak about difficult racial topics, nor admit to the extreme level of white supremacy that still exists. Amid the outbreak of the coronavirus, hate crimes against Asian Americans have been at an ultimate high. Pundits (and our own President) have referred to Covid-19 as the “Wuhan flu,” “Chinese flu,” and “Kung flu.” In the following months, the brutal killing of George Floyd mobilized hundreds and thousands of people to protest against the overt racism and mistreatment against the BIPOC community.

Against this backdrop, we cannot afford not to explore the nuances of Kamala Harris’ identity and what her vice presidency would mean at the time in history we are at right now. Just like Barack Obama’s presidential win in 2008 was an unthinkable achievement, Kamala Harris’ hopeful VP win will illuminate similar sentiments for years to come. Over the next few months and years, the meaning of being an American in the 21st century must fundamentally develop into a new kind of paradigm.

Our democracy needs you. Take the first step now by committing to staying informed. Sign up for the Sup newsletter for a daily breakdown to actually make you laugh (instead of cry) about the news. 

Everything You Need To Know About 2020’s Biggest Senate Races

When we talk about elections, we often put most of our focus on the top of the ticket. Obviously, who the president is is very important, but putting a Democrat in the oval office won’t mean much if Mitch McConnell still gets to keep control over the Senate. Meanwhile, the progressive change Dems have already brought to the House won’t mean as much if legislation doesn’t pass in the Senate. 

Of the 35 seats up for reelection, Republicans are defending 23, and Democrats are defending 12. For the Senate to flip, Democrats need to gain a net of four seats on November 3.  They only need three if Biden wins the presidency, as the Vice President serves as the Senate’s tiebreaker. 

There are a few really good signs that Democrats have a chance at taking the senate. Almost all Democratic challengers have raised a ton of money – which makes sense since everyone is pretty pissed at people like Susan Collins, Mitch McConnell, and Martha McSally — all three of whom rank as some of the country’s  least popular senators. Trump’s lethally botched response to the coronavirus pandemic has led to his record unpopularity — just as Senate Republicans have spent years hitching their futures to his wagon.

As a result, polls suggest Democrats could take Senate seats never expected to go blue in states like Georgia and Alabama. Let’s take a look at some of the most competitive races, and where each candidate stands:

Who’s running? The incumbent is Democratic Senator Doug Jones. His opponent is former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville who recently beat former Attorney General and current supervillain Jeff Sessions in the Republican primary. 

Why is this state competitive? The Democrats barely won the seat in 2017, and only because Jones faced off against accused child molester Roy Moore — which might be the only way a Democrat can win in Alabama. Alabama is a solidly red state and typically favors Republicans — with strong loyalty to Donald Trump. Jones also prosecuted the KKK members responsible for the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing 

So, what’s the deal? As of August, Tuberville is leading over Jones by about 10 points, and Trump has a massive lead over Biden in the state. Nothing is a done deal until November 3.

Who’s running? Former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party Jaime  Harrison is challenging Senator Lindsey Graham, and as of mid-August — the two were TIED

Why is this state competitive? Trump’s waning popularity with even Republican voters puts his most loyal allies at risk in November. Graham, who famously called candidate Trump a “xenophobic, race-baiting bigot” before supporting him unequivocally as president. 

So what’s the deal? A large percent of South Carolina voters polled said Graham is too supportive of Trump — but Trump won the state by nearly 15 points in 2016. 

 

Who’s running? The incumbent is Republican Senator Martha McSally, and she is being challenged by Democrat Mark Kelly. 

Why is this state competitive? Senator McSally was not elected but appointed to fill John McCain’s seat after losing to moderate Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in 2018. This is a special election because McCain was not supposed to be up for election this year. Kelly is a former astronaut married to former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was nearly killed by a gunman in 2011 while representing Arizona in the House of Representatives. Kelly has a huge fundraising war chest and Trump-allied McSally is pretty unpopular in the state, so Kelly has a slight lead over her, emphasis on ‘slight.’ 

So, what’s the deal? Both Kelly and Biden have slight leads over their Republican opponents, but as we know, the polls don’t really mean anything. Experts predict that Arizona’s recovery from COVID will play a significant role in the election. McSally has recently scored points throughout the state by expressing her commitment to expanding the CARES act, which is the coronavirus relief bill. But shifting demographics in the state look good for Kelly. 

 

Who’s running? The incumbent is Republican Senator Cory Gardner, who is facing the end of his first term. He is being challenged by former Governor and Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper. 

Why is this state competitive? Since Gardner won his seat in the 2014 Republican wave, the state has become increasingly blue. Clinton beat Trump by about five points in 2016, and the state legislature and governor are democrats). Colorado has a large immigrant population and strong ties to gun control, both are policy issues that are huge strengths for the Democratic party. Plus, Hickenlooper was a popular governor with name recognition in the state where protests against police brutality have emerged in every major city. 

So, what’s the deal? Nothing is guaranteed until people vote, but Colorado seems like the most likely state for Democrats to take from Republicans in November. 

 

Who’s running? Everyone’s least favorite person, Republican Senator Susan Collins, is being challenged by Maine’s Speaker of the House, Democrat Sara Gideon 

Why is this state competitive? Senator Collins has served in congress for almost 30 years and is currently ranked the least popular senator in office, inching ahead of Mitch McConnell. She has gained national attention over constant “disappointment” with the Trump presidency but failure to withhold any support from the administration whatsoever. Between her voting for Kavanaugh and constant expressions of concern for the president’s actions with no follow-through, it’s pretty safe to say that people are sick of Collins’ sh*t.

So, what’s the deal? Even though Collins is the literal WOAT, she’s kind of the Senate’s cockroach and survives under the most treacherous conditions. On the one hand, Biden is leading Trump in the state by close to 10 points, which may affect down-ballot elections. On the other, Collins managed to hold onto her seat in 2008 despite Obama winning Maine by more than 17 points. 

Who’s running? The incumbent is Republican Senator Thom Tillis. His challenger is veteran and Democrat Cal Cunningham. 

Why is this state competitive? North Carolina is a swing state that consistently has super thin margins, especially for Senate elections. Senator Tillis has a history of cutting unemployment benefits and opposing Medicaid expansion. These two issues are extremely important to North Carolina residents, especially considering rises in unemployment that are related to COVID-19. North Carolina turned blue for Obama in 2008 but broke for Trump in 2016, which some attribute to Democrats’ failure to offer voters of color motivation to turn out for Hillary Clinton.

So, what’s the deal? While Tillis’ weaknesses may make it seem like a done deal, the GOP is holding on pretty tightly to the state. Both Biden and Cunningham have small leads over their Republican opponents, but there is not enough distance that would totally give the state to the Democrats. 

Who’s running? The incumbent is obviously the evil lizard man himself, Mitch McConnell, and his opponent is Amy McGrath. 

Why is this state competitive? As Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell is like, enemy number one. While Kentucky usually wouldn’t be in play, the Democrats have run a long campaign to fundraise for his opponent. However, after a competitive primary between Amy McGrath and Charles Booker, it has become abundantly clear that Democratic turnout is up in the state and that Mich McConnell’s seat might be in pretty hot water. 

So, what’s the deal? While Kentucky is definitely a red state, the growth of the Democratic party within the state and national attention around the race might mean good news.

Iowa

Who’s running? Real estate developer and urban planner Theresa Greenfield is challenging Republican Senator Joni Ernst

Why is this state competitive? Ernst’s job approval has slipped while her loyalty to Trump has risen as Iowans see her as increasingly disconnected from their needs. Greenfield was a 24-year-old mother of two when her husband died suddenly in a work-related accident, and she relied partially on government benefits that are a lifeline to so many communities, but the GOP is not known for supporting. 

So, what’s the deal? Greenfield has polled ahead of Ernst, and her message of protecting things like Social Security benefits that Republicans like Ernst look to privatize could appeal to older suburban voters. 

 

Michigan

Who’s running? The incumbent is Democratic Senator Gary Peters, his opponent is Republican and Veteran John James.

Why is this state competitive? Michigan is huge in the presidential election, especially this year. Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer has drawn attention on both sides of the aisle for her COVID response, which caused lots of praise from the left and resentment on the right (remember: protests about haircuts). Michigan also voted for Trump in the last election, but only by about 10,000 votes. Increased pressure on the state for the presidential election on both sides will probably trickle down to Senate races. 

So, what’s the deal? In general, Michigan leans Democratic, and both the incumbent and Biden are leading in the polls. If Republicans want to flip the state, they will have to work harder than I did to learn the ‘Savage’ TikTok dance. 

 

What Does This All Mean? 

 

Even if you don’t live in these states, voting all the way down the ballot is crucial to make sure you are doing your part in 2020. This is super overwhelming, but while we obviously want to turn the White House and Senate blue, we also are defending the House and have to consider local and state officials. 

If you’re interested in helping out in these states and aren’t a resident, there are plenty of ways to participate in these races. You can donate to campaigns and sign up to phone bank for Democratic candidates or check out Crooked Media’s Adopt a State program here. We also have a dope “Flip The Senate” sweatshirt and t-shirt here — 20% of sales (ex. tax and shipping) benefits the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project.