You don’t need to wait four years before you get your next say in how the government is run. Presidents get a lot of coverage, but there are also plenty of day-to-day decisions in government, both national and local, that shape our laws and lives. Here’s how you can make your voice heard before election day rolls around again.
Call Your Congressperson
Before a law ever graces the President’s desk, it needs to be written and passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives. Three of those congresspeople—two senators and one representative—work for you personally. You and your neighbors elect them, which means you’re their boss. And you can tell them what to do. After all, they have to please their constituents if they want to hold on to their jobs.
So if a bill is coming up for a vote in the Senate or the House, or if the Senate is holding confirmation hearings for, say, a Cabinet nominee, you can call up the people that work for you and tell them which way to vote if they want your support. They and their staffers will calculate how your message balances out with what they have heard from other constituents, so there’s no guarantee your representative will do what you ask. But if you can get a large enough group of people to flood her with the same message, she’ll have to pay attention.
You can learn the basics of how and why to do this with Emily Ellsworth’s primer on how to effectively lobby your congressperson. Another great resource is the Indivisible guide, written for Democrats but based on tactics that worked successfully for Republicans when they were the underdogs. It’s full of tips for…