How To Be Relevant Even If You Are Not In a Swing State
There are 10 swing states that are being blitzed by the Presidential candidates. They are tracked on all of the polling sites. Some people are discussing swapping votes using families or internet sites. But there are many other ways that you can influence the Presidential vote and the other important legislative positions.
If you donate money to your favorite candidate, they will allocate the money to the most sensitive areas of the swing states to give a favorable outcome. Despite the influence of big donors, many of them are bypassing Trump, and smaller donations are adding up for Clinton also.
The Senate is crucial to advising and consenting on treaties and Supreme Court justices. It also is a check and balance on the very lopsided Republican House. Some of the key close Senate races are also in the swing states. You can also contribute to individual Senate races, or to your parties’ Congressional Election Committee. They will direct your contribution to the close races in which it will be most useful.
The large House Republican majority will take several elections to restore to a balance that can effect compromises to get things done. However, with Trump’s unpopularity, some fraction of Republican voters may sit this one out, making some districts closer than imaginable before. With Clinton’s unpopularity, she is expected to draw less votes than Obama did in some areas, again opening some districts up.
The Republican sweep of 2010, a non Presidential election year, also carried over into State Legislatures. With the 2010 census allowing new gerrymandering, many Republican Congressional districts and state legislature districts were designed to be secure. This is an election that can start to work back on that majority. In the next Presidential election of 2020, there will be a new census and an opportunity to remake the districts in a non-partisan way as California has. This could lead to more representative states across the nation.
We all get mailings from non-governmental special interest groups to bring about policies that we are especially concerned about. Most of these do lobbying to inform legislators and government agencies about benefits of meeting those special interests. Supporting such agencies is a useful way to help bring about progress in those issues. It also doesn’t hurt to email your representative on their website, send them a letter, or call their office. Such communications don’t have to be long or detailed.
With my concern that climate science be listened to, and climate change effects being mitigated and adapted to, I see one local race in which voters can make a difference. At UC Irvine, being next to the Newport Coast, we hear from many coastal conservation organizations, from many local researchers, and observe the allocations needed to stave off flooding and coastal erosion from sea level rise and fiercer storms.
There are two coastal districts in California that are represented by climate denying Republican Congressmen. One of these, the California 49th, North of San Diego, is represented by Darrel Issa. For a climate denier, it may seem odd at first that he is Chairman of the Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Environment. But all of the Congressional committees dealing with Energy or Environment have been headed by Republican science deniers. It turns out that Issa is now in a close race, leading the polls by only 48% to 46% over Doug Applegate. Darrel Issa will be tough to beat, since he is the richest man in Congress, worth $768 million. But there will never be a better time to try. Another thing about Issa, he was formerly the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, that investigated Secretary Clinton over Benghazi, only to find that she did not bear responsibility over what happened there. Issa’s opponent is Doug Applegate. He is a retired Marine Corp Colonel, a lawyer, and a strong advocate of funding research in Southern California.
We see that there are a plethora of ways for voters in the 40 states that are not swinging to be very relevant in the Presidential election, the Congressional elections, state elections, and in backing candidates with special interests to those of the voters.