Three Life Hacks To Solve the Trump Problem
The #resistance to Donald Trump’s presidency has sparked a new movement inspiring people, particularly in the tech and startup world to launch apps and tools to empower people to channel their anger into actions.
Reid Hoffman, cofounder of LinkedIn helped start Win the Future, which will help connect political organizers and “shore up progressive candidates and causes ahead of the 2018 midterm and 2020 presidential elections.”
The Tech Pledge, launched by Sam Altman of Y Combinator, Debra Cleaver of Vote.org, and Michelle Miller of Coworker.org is “tech’s collective response to President Donald Trump.” The tech sector has “clashed repeatedly since Trump was sworn into office, most notably over immigration policies and access to a host of user data.”
With so many new apps and tools emerging to #resist Trump’s anti-democratic policies, here are three life hacks (and some bonuses) that will help solve the Trump problem.
Hacks That Work
1. Funding Nonprofits on the Frontline
Donate $5 or $25 to nonprofits who are on the frontlines and fighting Trump and his racist, Islamophobic, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, anti-choice, and anti-environmental political agenda. You can be a part of the communities who help fund the legal battles that these nonprofits are taking on.
Medium has over 10 million users. Even if half of us on Medium donated $25 to social justice nonprofits right now, the nonprofit sector would gain $125M overnight.
Don’t know where to start? Here’s some good resources.
Online Nonprofit Portals:
There are a few established online databases where you can learn about registered charities. Good resources include:
Apps and Bots
Looking for something with a social media twist? WeCanResisit.It is a new web app that turns President Trump’s tweets into donations for the nonprofit organizations that are under attack by Trump and his administration.
Think of it like America’s swear jar. But against toxic ideology. The web app funds grassroots organizations including 350.org, Black Lives Matter, BYP100, Clean Water Action, Crisis Text Line, Hollaback! Trans Equality, Nat'l Imm Law Center, National Organization for Women, URGE, and Voto Latino.
Full disclosure: I helped build this as a way to channel people’s anger and sustain the nonprofits who need funding to fight Trump's harmful policies.
Do you play the stock market? Max Braun, a software lead for robotics at Google X built a bot in his spare time that buys and shorts stocks based on Trump’s tweets about publicly traded companies.
The gains go to the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Resources Defense Council, and Planned Parenthood. You can follow the bots stock plays over on Twitter at @Trump2Cash
2. Meeting With Your Members of Congress
Face-to-face meetings are one of the most effective ways to share your views and concerns with the Members of Congress who represent you at the local, state, and federal levels.
Good resources include:
- Town Hall Project tracks and displays a comprehensive list of public meetings for Members of Congress that constituents can easily access.
- Popvox, cofounded by Marci Harris and Rachna Choudhry will help you learn more about upcoming bills your Members of Congress are voting on.
- Countable, cofounded by Bart Myers and Andrea Seabrook has useful legislative bill summaries.
3. Supporting Candidates Running In Midterm Elections to Flip Congress and State Legislatures
In the last twenty years in the U.S., between 50% to 55% of the eligible voting population actually voted in Presidential elections. In midterm elections, this number’s even smaller.
One of the best ways to stand up to this Administration’s harmful policies is to vote Trump’s minions out of office in the 2018 midterm elections. If you’re not already registered to vote, take 2 minutes and register on Vote.org. It will be the best two minutes of your life. :)
Equally important is contributing to candidates’ campaigns after they announce they’re running for office. The Koch brothers are expected to donate $400 million to support conservative candidates in midterm elections. This is exactly why we need people like you helping to fight back.
Good resources include:
- Democracy In Color founder Steve Phillips and President Aimee Allison pored through the 2016 voting data and identified 17 frontline states that Democrats won or lost in the 2016 Presidential election by less than a single-digit percentage margin. There’s an enormous opportunity to win these states in 2018.
- Flippable, cofounded by Catherine Vaughan and Joseph Bandera-Duplantier, lists which races are most important, who’s running, and how you can support them.
4. Bonus Hacks: Boycotts and Protests
Boycotts can be effective in hurting businesses where it impacts them most — their pockets. The Boycott Trump App, created by the Democratic Coalition Against Trump, allows users to search through 250+ companies and people to see how they’re directly connected to Trump.
Protests can also be effective, though this Administration is tone deaf. However, there is power in numbers, and the media documenting people speaking out against the Administration’s attacks on basic human rights is critical to keeping Trump, Pence, and Congress accountable.
Hacks That Don’t Work
Don’t waste your energy on faxes. There was a time and a place for blast fax campaigns back in the 90's but not anymore. Back in the late 1990’s when I was working on advocacy campaigns to stop big tobacco from marketing to kids, we shut down the White House fax machine. We were thrilled. Then, we began using this tactic more often with Members of Congress. Shortly after, we learned that Congress turned off the fax machines during these campaigns. Then, we learned that they put garbage cans under the fax machines.
Today, faxes are automatically converted into emails and sometimes a spreadsheet. Legislative Correspondents use these spreadsheets to tabulate support (or not) for a bill. This data is delivered to a Legislative Director and verbally shared with the Member of Congress. The Legislative Director might share a few faxed letters as an example, but don’t count on it as they are inundated; though you will get a nice form letter back.
2. Online Petitions
My friends who are in the online petition business will be annoyed with what I’m about to say, but online petitions have very little impact on Members of Congress. Many Legislative Directors and Members of Congress see them as form letters that a nonprofit has blasted out to their constituents to sign. These petitions may as well be deleted or thrown into that garbage along with the faxes.
That said, online petitions are an effective acquisition strategy for nonprofits who are looking to acquire new volunteers, activists, and donors — and even earned media if the petition spreads. They can also be useful for corporate accountability campaigns.
3. Not Voting
If you want to see change happen, then you need get out and vote. Your vote has a big impact on what happens to your community and this country. If you don’t vote, you give your power to other people who may elect terrible candidates who advocate for harmful policies against the environment, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, and more.
We Really Can Do It
A lot of techies and entrepreneurs joined millions of people across the world and marched for women, human rights, and science this year, then asked, “What can we do next?” Now you have the tools and hacks to fight back and crush it!