California Road Trip (Daily Updates)

A series of short video dispatches from my road trip to California.

Day 1

Seattle, WA to Grant’s Pass, OR

Note: I do not own the rights to the background music — “Hero” by Family of the Year — but it is sooooo perfect for this video.

Day 2

Grant’s Pass, OR to Carmichael, CA

In which I brave smoke from California’s 18(!) forest fires to support CA-7 candidate Ami Bera.

Day 3

Los Angeles, CA


Rest day + tourism with mi amiga Valerie

Day 4

Modesto, CA

Canvassing for Josh Harder in CA-10.

Exit your Comfort Zone…for Democracy

We all need to do more than we’re comfortable with, right now, to protect our democracy.  It’s that simple, right?

In this video, I explain how my road trips project is moving me outside my comfort zone in the hopes that you will move outside your comfort zone to take action (canvass, phone bank, donate, etc.) during the midterms.

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Swing Left Academy

This past weekend I participated in an awesome training by Swing Left, an organization dedicated to swinging the House of Representatives to the Democrats in November.

The training had sooooooo much useful information for activists this election cycle.  It was also three hours long.  (Here’s a link to the full training.)  So I’ve made what you might call a TL;DR version, which hits all the key points in 19 minutes.


Here’s the full outline so you can jump to what interests you most:

0:00 – INTRODUCTION
…..0:42 – Sections Overview
1:21 – ORGANIZING
…..1:24 – The Organizing Fish
…..2:30 – Organizing Definition
…..2:39 – Organizing in Everyday Life
3:00 – VOTER CONTACT
…..3:10 – 5 Types of Voter Contact
…..3:57 – Research on What Works
4:22 – CANVASSING
…..4:36 – What to Bring
…..4:43 – Time Required
…..4:57 – Staging Location
…..5:08 – Walk List
…..5:14 – Canvassing Myths
…..5:51 – Data
…..6:51 – Script
…..7:13 – Canvass Buddies
…..8:09 – How Many Doors?
…..8:18 – How Conversations?
…..8:42 – Lit
…..9:01 – Out-of-District Canvassing
…..9:48 – 3 Types of Voters
11:13 – VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT
…..11:38 – The Hard Ask
….12:12 – Different Kinds of No’s
13:14 – TEAM-BUILDING
….13:45 – Ladder of Engagement
….16:20 – A Pyramid, Not a Column
….16:45 – Group Structure
17:35 – CALL TO ACTION
….17:43 – Get Local Alerts from SwingLeft.org
….18:03 – Canvass for TheLastWeekend.org
18:52 – END

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Democracy Road Trip #1 – Spokane, WA

Here’s the first of my democracy road trips, which I’ll be taking in the coming months to volunteer for Democratic candidates in swing (flippable) districts.

This first trip is to support the campaign of Lisa Brown, who is running to unseat Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers in Washington’s 5th Congressional district.

As Jason Kander says, “the #BlueWave is not a weather event”  We need to get out there and make it happen. I’m going to make it happen by making these videos and taking these trips.

I hope you will too.

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Self-Care Deep Dive

TGIF!  This Friday we go deeper into self-care for activists, asking (and answering) such questions as:

  1. What if I don’t know what self-care I need?
  2. What if the self-care I need isn’t accessible to me?
  3. What if I feel guilty about taking time for self-care?

Our expert in answering these questions is Kathy Clayton, who has over twenty years’ experience coaching individuals to be change agents.

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Take a Moment to Breathe

This has been a brutal few days and I’ll be posting a more in-depth self-care video next week.

For now, here’s a 30-second breathing exercise I use to quickly ground and calm myself so I can get back into the fight.

I hope you like it.

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Primary Report: 8 Amazing Women

The media has dubbed this election the “pink wave,” and has written reams of stories about how female candidates are running and winning across the country.

While this is great, it doesn’t leave much room for nuance.  Women, despite being of the same gender, are extremely diverse, as the candidates from yesterday’s eight-state primary show.   Here are some of their stories.

PS: Not all women have vaginas, but I believe these women do.

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Something Exciting is Happening in the South

The news from yesterday’s primary in Georgia goes much deeper than Stacey Abrams’ win. It’s also about her dominance of candidates from both parties, including the more “viable” Democratic pick and the anti-immigrant candidates on the Republican right.

The final results are a very hopeful sign for the South, and for November.

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Dem Primaries Show #BlueWave and Rebellion

The primary train moves on, yesterday to Idaho, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, and Oregon.

Two stories to emerge on the Democratic side are that yes, there was evidence of huge enthusiasm (the eponymous #BlueWave), but Dem primary voters are also not too keen on the sensible, could-win-the-general, more right-leaning candidates their party is supporting.

On the left and right, primary voters are polarized, a longterm trend that seems particularly stark this cycle.

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Primaries Indicate Trumpiness Will not Save Republican Candidates

The first multi-state primary happened yesterday in North Carolina, West Virginia, Indiana, and Ohio.

Each party voted for the candidate they will send to the general election in November and one pattern became clear… Republican voters do not like Republican Congressmen, even very Trumpy ones!

They still want to drain the swamp and they do not want to promote Washington insiders, even very pro-Trump ones from their own party.

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