As Featured on News Cult: How You Can Help Get Bernie Sanders Elected

If you’re #FeelingtheBern as much as I am, there is a lot you can do to help get Bernie Sanders elected. Here are some ways you can get involved.

Volunteer

Volunteering is probably the best thing you can do. Click on the link above to sign up, and see below for several specific things you can do as a volunteer.

1. Phone banking

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This is one of the most important ways people can volunteer for Bernie. Phone banking is basically cold calling people on behalf of the campaign. It sounds intimidating, because most of us don’t give anyone who cold calls us the time of day. But it’s 100x easier and better than you fear. It’s a simple process and you get to use a tool called the “Bernie Dialer” (how BOMB is that). The above link provides step-by-step instructions, including a script of what to say, and you can do it from basically anywhere, for however long you want during the designated hours on the site, as long as you have a computer or tablet and a phone (perpetually sweatpant/PJ-wearing people, unite! You can literally change the world from your couch).

You’re not even necessarily trying to convince people to vote for Bernie or asking for money, so it doesn’t even get that awkward—you’re primarily gathering data that will be helpful to the campaign, like identifying Bernie supporters and non-supporters, or encouraging people to get out and vote, and so on. The goal of phone banking changes depending on the day (because it relates to which state primaries and caucuses are coming up), which is all updated on the website so it’s easy to understand what the directive is for whenever you decide to do it.

It’s all part of an empirical process, which is not only cool to learn about, but also means that you won’t be doing anything inappropriate—you’ll only be calling people who have made their contact info available to the campaign, (whether by registering to vote, affiliating with a political party in a certain geographical area, or otherwise), so it’s not like you’re illegally invading their privacy. And even if they react negatively, all you have to do is politely thank them for their time, silently curse them, and put them down as “do not call” for the future (you enter the results of each call using the Bernie Dialer so the campaign knows who to not call again, if someone no longer lives at their listed number, and other things like that).

The best part is that people hold phone banking parties, where a bunch of you get together to do it, so you can commiserate, eat and drink (we’ll literally do anything if it means we get fed). And most people who attend phone banking parties don’t already know each other, so you don’t have to worry about feeling out of place. But you’ll basically become family—there are a few things in life that bond people like none other: going to war, raising a child with someone, and phone banking. And trust me, you’ll only get one or two people who yell at you about how they hope Trump wins and “gets those Arabs out of New York,” so don’t even sweat it!

Check the link^^ to find a phone banking party near you. Or host your own! And try to get in some calls before the New York primary tomorrow if you can!

2. Register voters

You can find a training session to attend on the above link so you’ll be equipped to get out and register voters. This is important because when there’s a high voter turnout, Bernie does better. And with all of the voter fraud that’s been going on, it’s important that people are given fair access to their right to vote, and understand what registering under certain political parties means for when/where they can vote, as well as deadlines, voter ID laws, etc.

3. Go to events

There are tons of events you can attend in support of Bernie—rallies, voter registration drives, marches, canvassing opportunities, etc.—where you’ll meet great people and learn of all sorts of volunteer opportunities and other important election info. Check the above link to find an event near you.

4. Spread the word

Information is power, so use any avenue you can, including social media, to spread the word about Bernie, his policies, pertinent election info, etc.

Learn about the delegate process

The delegate process is confusing and largely inaccessible. What most of us don’t realize is that we can take part in it. We can have a hand in choosing who the pledged delegates for our candidate will be. For example, in California, on May 1 we have caucuses to select delegates from each congressional district who will represent Bernie at the state and national Democratic conventions. While the delegate selection process varies state-to-state, it is important to be involved because we need delegates who are strong Bernie supporters to go to bat for him on the floor at these conventions. In some cases, when not enough delegates are elected by the public to fill the designated quotas, the Democratic party will assign them. Which is unfortunate because the Democratic party (i.e. DNC and its surrogates) isn’t very Bernie-friendly—so it may end up assigning Bernie delegates who might not show up when they’re supposed to or decide to switch sides.

This is a broad and far from comprehensive overview of the delegate process, and doesn’t even mention the Superdelegates, which are  equally incomprehensible and I’ll get to below, but it gives you a glimpse of how important it really is. So to find out more about it, please visit the website for your state’s Democratic party to learn about their specific delegate selection process (you can access this info by Googling [Insert state here] democratic party delegate selection process). For example, here is the link to CA’s democratic party’s delegate selection process.

You’ll probably have to do a lot of digging, because this information is intentionally made hard to find, so if you have specific questions, let me know in a comment and I’ll help.

Help woo the Superdelegates

Superdelegates are chosen based on their position within a political party. They are unpledged, meaning they can choose to support whichever candidate they want. So they have a lot of power and are not obligated to reflect the popular vote. Thus, it’s important to strategize a way to woo them.  Here are 4 ways you can help us. Please share:
 
1. Sign and share all 16 petitions addressed to the 16 states won by Senator Sanders. Here is the Google doc with the petitions.
 
2. Sign and share this petition that is asking the Superdelegates to consider voting for Bernie as he has the better policies and a higher chance of winning the general election.
 
3. We are looking for 25 people to write personal letters to the Non-Politician Superdelegates (i.e. non-elected officials who don’t hold office). Please let us know if you would like to help with this by filling out this form.
4. We are also looking for 25 people to help us call / contact Politician Superdelegates (i.e. elected officials who hold office). Please let us know if you would like to help with this by filling out this this form.

The average contribution to Bernie’s campaign is $27. More than 2 million people have contributed almost 7 million times. This campaign is a true grassroots movement, and any little bit helps. We’re showing the world that the power does not belong to those who pay $353,400 to have dinner with a presidential candidate. It belongs to us.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/can-help-get-bernie-sanders-elected/

As Featured on News Cult: How to Manage Social Media

Social media is a weapon. It can be used for good or evil (symbolically speaking—because I have no idea what “good” and “evil” really are, and frankly does anyone? If the current state of the world, or actually any state the world has ever been in ever, is any indication, then no). It’s a fucking minefield—hard to navigate. It seems like it’s mostly used by people to promote images of themselves and their lives that are idealistic. And everyone buys into it—it’s a race to seem the best. And the saddest part is that we all know this—we’re all in on the joke, and yet we ferociously play along, trying to be the prettiest, the most popular, the happiest, the most well-traveled. It’s actually kind of sad, not to mention futile and self-destructive, so I’m a firm believer in finding productive ways to use social media, or not use it at all.

I think one of the best uses for social media is activism. It really is an amazing tool we’ve been given that we could use for vapid purposes like showing off how bangable we look on our way out for a night on the town, or how big our engagement ring is because the size of the diamond must be proportional to how lovable we are, or how we went on this really like spiritual, life-changing journey to India and saw just so many poor brown people and lots of sweeping mountainscapes—or—we could use to it advocate for social, political, and environmental causes—things that actually matter. Not just to us, but to everyone.

On social media, we can share news, articles, petitions, activist efforts, etc., about what dire circumstances our planet is in, how our political systems are corrupt and social injustice plagues our communities, and how we can change those things—how we can improve them. We can spread these messages like wildfire, and use the viral aspects of social media to the world’s advantage. Get out there and start discussions, engage with people, mobilize, and get shit done. Don’t just use technology and the Internet to self-promote and subscribe to materialistic, media-driven obsessions. Use it to spread the word about politics, volunteer opportunities, sustainable living; to debate with people about why Hillary Clinton doesn’t deserve votes and Bernie Sanders does, and be told that you’re simply wrong, without any reasoning why, and then respond with a 500-word essay on all of the reasons, evidence, and facts to back up your stance, and then never hear back. Multiple times! The possibilities are endless.

Another way I think social media is advantageous is in creative pursuits. If you aspire to be your own boss, own a business, or create content, social media is a great way to promote and share that. Start a shop on Etsy and dedicate your social media accounts to building that business. If you want to be a photographer, writer, musician, or artist, etc., start your own website or blog so that you own your own content, and then use Facebook, Twitter, etc. to share it; (and a side note about photos—Instagram says it owns every photo you put on it, so consider copyrighting your photos on your own site and either not sharing them on Instagram or sharing “teasers” of them, like screen shots, partial shots, or watermarked shots).

There’s no better way to receive free marketing than social media. And eventually, you can even monetize your content via social media, by paying to promote your website on social media (and then hopefully making the money back and then some from the resulting traffic to your site), or selling ad space on your site after it’s gotten big enough through your promotion of it on social media, or working with other brands on social media to cross-promote each other.

Now, I won’t rule out the possibility of using social media to your advantage in slightly less admirable ways, too. I just don’t think it’s worth getting too wrapped up in the black hole of comparing yourself to others and putting on facades. But, should, say, your ex-boyfriend start posting pics of his new trophy girlfriend and professing his love to her in over-dramatic ways, or someone chooses to use the public forum to talk unnecessary shit on/around/about you, or decides to make the mistake of ghosting you, you are well within your rights to ruin their life, and use social media to do so. You can accomplish this by waging a campaign of #bomb selfies, posting a smart, tactful thesis that shoots down every aspect of their being without even mentioning their name (because we’re the motherfucking ghosts—smooth, sly, and you’ll never see us coming), or becoming super successful and everything they want to be but aren’t and posting nothing but positive things on your social media to convey this, leaving them to choke and drown in a pool of their own tears. #ournameisFeliciabitch #byeeeeeee

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/manage-social-media-like-pro/

As Featured on News Cult: How to Survive Valentine’s Day

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The worst day of all, perhaps rivaled only by the day Amy Poehler and Will Arnett got divorced, is almost upon us: Valentine’s Day. Like, we get it, couples—you’re in love and want to be romantic and whoopdi-fucking-do, gold star for you. Try doing something that’s actually worthy of celebration, like being alone forever and having to cultivate fierce independence and kill every spider in your bathtub ever completely by yourself, and having to change every light bulb on your own and never having anyone to help wash the sheets. So for those of you who want to stick it to Hallmark, here’s how you survive V Day.

Pretend it’s not happening

It’s just another meaningless day in the drudgery that is your existence. Like cancer, that creepy guy staring at you on the bus, and the stack of bills piling up on your dining room table, if you don’t acknowledge it, it’s not there.

Be thankful you don’t have to plan anything

If you’re single, you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’re supposed to celebrate, and if so, how, and what kind of gift you’re supposed to give, and what kind of message the type of bouquet you pick sends (I mean can we talk about the WORLD of difference between roses and carnations), and blah blah blah blah blah. You can just proceed with your regular nightly ritual of collapsing with a box of wine on your floor and falling asleep by 8 PM, 8:15 if you’re feeling adventurous.

Eat lots of chocolate

I mean, you may as well benefit from the surge in candy availability circa Feb 14. #youdon’tneedamantobuyyouchocolate #ourgorgingknowsnobounds

Look at this as a money-saving opportunity

The last thing your broke ass needs is a fancy gift or expensive dinner added to your credit card bill. #beingsinglecostshalfasmuch #cutthatdeadweight #we’releanmeancouponingmachines

Make sure to point out all the drawbacks of being in a relationship

To everyone around you who’s celebrating. I.e.:

•”You know it’s just such a pity, the divorce rate. But I’m sure you two will be the exception!”

•”Being in a long term relationship is just full of so many perks—like never having any personal space or time, having to pretend to like your boyfriend or girlfriend’s POS friends and family members, needing to keep up the facade of supporting their futile hopes and dreams, witnessing every gross thing about them (and there are a LOT of gross things about them). It’s a treat.”

•”Congratulations on your engagement! You only ever get to have sex with the same person’s shitty body for the rest of your life! That is, if he doesn’t cheat on you…”

•”Wow, that is such a considerate card he got you. It’s so nice to stick with something simple like a card—gifts are overrated. They just over-complicate things. And it’s even better that he didn’t write anything personal in it—you know, that’s what they make greeting cards for—coming up with your own thoughtful, heartfelt message is just a waste of time.”

•”I commend you on your ability to fully embrace your denial of your solitary existence. I mean, the fact that you can pretend like you actually believe you’re not going to die alone is so neat.”

•”Awww it’s so great that he proposed on Valentine’s Day—not cliché at all!”

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/survive-valentines-day/