The Midterms Are Over... Now What?

The midterm elections are over, and you might be jumping for joy at the new change in government or mourning the defeat of one of your favorite candidates. Either way, just because it is no longer election season does not mean that it’s time to put your leaflets back in the box.

Political activism is imperative no matter what time of year it is. Here are some ways to continue being involved.

1. Register people to vote

I cannot stress how important this is. There is always a rush of people running to help people register to vote in the months leading up to an election, but that is not the most effective way to register voters. So many people were unable to vote because they registered too late or had problems with their filing later on. If this issue had been addressed earlier, these individuals would have been able to vote, so it is crucial to register voters all year long. Rock the Vote is a great organization to volunteer with if you are interested in helping people register to vote.

2. Volunteer with organizations that specialize in causes you are interested in

The best way to have your opinions heard is to inform others of your opinions. There are so many organizations out there meant to educate others that need more volunteers. If you are a big proponent of a policy issue, voting season should not be the only time you voice your opinions. Real change happens after the polls close. It is the voices in the community that can create policy changes. By volunteering with organizations, you would be able to help people learn more about the issues you care about and bring more awareness to the community, hopefully creating future change.

3. Learn about your representatives

So many people don’t actually know who their representatives are and what policies they support. You might end up learning a lot about problems facing your community as well as becoming more aware of ways that your representatives could  do a better job to support the issues you care about. Here's a resource to find out who your representatives are.

4. Learn how to contact your representatives

If you have a problem with the way your representative is dealing with an issue or if your representative is not doing enough to address a problem, the best thing to do is to contact them. If your representative gets enough calls, they might change their vote. With that said, please do not be hostile towards the people on the phones. Many of them are interns who do not deserve to be screamed at. Make sure to get the contact information for your representative.

5. Attend a town hall meeting

If you have something to say, let your representative and the other members of your community hear it! While many people say that town hall meetings are outdated and useless, they allow for direct face-to-face contact with your representative. They also allow you to hear about other issues in your community, and in many cases, your representative will inform you about the ways they are combating the issues. The truth is, people in power will likely not return your phone calls, but if you address them at  a town hall meeting, they will be unable to ignore what you are saying.

6. Subscribe to political news source to stay informed

A major reason that Americans are not active in their government is because they are  unaware of the major issues that our country faces. By subscribing to a news source, you will  be informed and become a better participant in the democratic process. Make sure you check mediabiasfactcheck.com or other fact checking websites in order to confirm that your chosen news outlet is credible first.

7. Raise money

Do you care about the environment? Raise some money to support wildlife conservation efforts. There are wonderful people working at non-profits all over the country and the world who make change every day. By fundraising for these organizations, you can help them increase their outreach and capability to do more good in the world.

8. Protest

As Americans, we protest about almost everything. There is nothing more American than yelling, "Free speech!”, grabbing your picket sign, and heading to your local park to protest. While this method is used a lot, protesting is actually a great way to collectively present an idea to the public and the government. There is power in numbers, and protesting proves that a group of people care about a cause. While you can’t guarantee that policy change will come out of your protest, it gives the issues that you care about more publicity.

9. Use Facebook for good

It does not matter how much you don’t like what your fifth cousin twice removed is saying about the president. Stop fighting with people on social media, and instead, use it as a platform to spread information about issues and people you are passionate about (fact check your articles first: you don’t want to spread fake news). Social media was made to unite people, not divide them. If you are able to find a group of like-minded individuals or convince even one person to look at an issue in a different way, you are using social media as a vehicle for positive change.

10. Inform others in ways to continue to get involved

Change begins with one person. The best way to make a bigger impact is to make your initiatives sustainable. By spreading the word about ways to become more involved after the midterms, political groups will have less of a problem getting individuals engaged with politics. There is no better way to stand up for your civil liberties and become more politically active than participating in the democratic process.

Let’s become better Americans and continue to stand up for what we believe in, no matter what year it is.