There are three main things you can do to fight the Trump agenda during this fall's midterm elections: Hit the phones, knock on doors, and give money. "It's old-fashioned work, but guess what?" says Washington State Democratic Party chair Tina Podlodowski. "It does work and it will continue to."
There are a bunch of campaigns that want your help. Below, we've laid out the four big areas where you can get involved. Google the candidates and figure out who gets you going, or visit wa-democrats.org/volunteer and they'll put you to work.
FIGHT THE NRA
Initiative 1639 would raise the age required to purchase semiautomatic weapons to 21. It would also expand waiting periods, background checks, and training for some gun purchases.
The National Rifle Association has already spent $100,000 to fight the initiative, and the campaign hasn't even really started. So far, that's not much compared to the pro side, but it's likely to keep pouring in. To learn more about the initiative or get involved, visit yeson1639.org.
Memorize these numbers: 3, 5, 8. Three. Five. Eight. Got it? Good. Those are the congressional districts in Washington State that Democrats want to flip to help retake the US House.
The 3rd District covers Southwestern Washington, including Vancouver. Incumbent Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler has an A rating from the National Rifle Association and represents a district that Trump won by seven points. She faces a challenge from Democrat Carolyn Long, an associate professor at Washington State University-Vancouver.
The 5th District covers Eastern Washington, including Spokane, all the way from the Canadian border down to Oregon. Incumbent Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers—a Trump supporter and the fourth-highest-ranking Republican in the House—usually wins her seat easily. This year, she faces a serious challenge from Lisa Brown, a former state legislator who also worked as chancellor of Washington State University-Spokane.
The 8th District is the one that's closest to Seattle. Three-time loser Republican Dino Rossi is trying to replace incumbent Republican Dave Reichert, who is retiring. At press time, Democrat Kim Schrier looked likely to make it through the primary to face Rossi. Between the purple makeup of this district and Rossi's ability to hide from debates, the Dems will face a tough fight here—and one that will get ugly.
KEEP REPUBLICANS OUT OF POWER IN OLYMPIA
Podlodowski has spent the last year and a half touting her plan to make sure Democrats compete all over the state—even in districts long held by Republicans. The primary results indicate that plan is working.
At press time, Democrats led Republicans in more than a dozen state legislative races. Some of them are in districts Republicans have sometimes been able to take for granted. Pick a district close to you and get to it. "We're done just playing defense," Podlodowski says.
DO SOMETHING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE
Initiative 1631 offers the chance not only to try to reduce carbon emissions (by taxing them) but to help the people who will be affected by those emissions and the ongoing efforts to change our economy to something less awful for the environment. The initiative would create a fee of $15 per metric ton on carbon emissions beginning in 2020, and then increase that fee by $2 per year until 2035.
The revenues from that fee would then be invested into clean energy and clean water projects, financial assistance and training for fossil-fuel workers, and assistance for low-income people whose energy costs may increase. (The use of the term "fee" instead of "tax" was intentional by the authors of the initiative, who say it allows them to direct the revenue toward specific programs.)
A group opposing the initiative has already raised nearly $2 million, largely from oil companies. If you want to stop them, go to yeson1631.org.