We are moving closer and closer to the kickoff of the 2020 election. This seems almost unbelievable because I am not sure all of us have recovered from 2016. So far, A LOT of candidates are jumping in feet first. In all likelihood, you’re going to have several friends, family members, and/or co-workers planning to vote for a different candidate than you. (Probably even from a different party or an independent run.) Meanwhile, you probably just made peace with that co-worker who wrote in Bernie Sanders instead of voting for Hillary Clinton. In that spirit, I thought I would share some tips/tricks/ideas to get you through the next year/ 18 months. Consider these gentle reminders or suggestions:
- DON’T be afraid to cut one or two people out of your social media feeds: In case you were wondering if I was going to be one of those writers telling you all those people chanting about walls and MAGA just need a hug and to be told they matter, you can rest assured that’s not me. If someone is constantly arguing with you on everything political you post, or nitpicking about tiny details in arguments, or all around making checking your posts a miserable experience, feel free to click “Delete Friend.” You can still be cordial in real life. My only caveat: If you find your friend life down to five people, you may want to reconsider what you post and who you spend time with.
- DON’T argue with strangers or bots: There’s already evidence that there’s a clear disinformation campaign being waged against certain prominent Democratic candidates. That means the potential for more plants on news sites and Facebook groups. Also, even if they are actual people, some people on social media just like to get everyone in a frenzy. I know it’s hard, but resist the urge to argue with the guy posting that he won’t be voting for your favorite candidate because she doesn’t put a curl when she writes the number 2. Your sanity will thank you.
- DON’T get caught up in the horse race: Political coverage in the media sometimes seems like a sporting event: Candidate A is ahead, but Candidate B is gaining on him! Can they make it? Nothing will make you more anxious than checking every single straw poll or analyzing every word said in a debate. Don’t feel like you have to be present every single moment of the election to be informed. If a debate is coming, but you’re having a stressful week, wait until the highlights come out the next day. Sometimes it’s okay to just gloss over and get the important stuff. A year and a half is a long time for your anxiety to be at a 10 every day.
- DO your research: Why are you voting for your candidate? If you can’t give a concise answer to that question, people aren’t going to take your views as seriously. Try to find out the different candidate’s platforms and what makes your candidate different. With so many candidates, more than likely there is going to be a lot of overlap, so why is your candidate special? Is it their experience? Their background? Something else? You don’t even have to spend lots of time on this; a few Google searches and checking sites like Ballotpedia should suffice.
- DO donate money and volunteer your time: As much as ranting on Facebook or Twitter feels good sometimes, the best way to make a difference for your candidate is through your time and money. Even if you don’t have a lot of either, you can get involved. ActBlue allows you to donate as little as $1 to your favorite candidate. During 2016, you could make phone calls to key voting districts from home, so feasibly you can make a difference in your pajamas sitting on your couch.
- DO Practice Self-Care: Hopefully by now with the stress of our current politics, you have a routine to disconnect when life becomes too intense. Follow it or take these suggestions: Unfollow charged conversations on social media. Take walks. Watch a silly movie or your favorite television show without looking at social media. Indulge in a snack or a glass of wine. Do something that gets you out of your current headspace.
Happy Election Season! Hopefully, 2020 will be better than 2016!