ESCAPE FROM COVIDLAND
Writing these letters gets more voters to the polls—and helps me work off some of my outrage. Learn about Vote Forward. Are you in the US? Sign up with Vote Forward.
Fired Up to Fire Trump?
Want to Do Something About It—Now?
With so many customary campaign activities curtailed by COVID-19, people are finding creative ways to motivate undecideds to go to the polls. I’m part of Vote Forward, a group working with Indivisible and Swing Left to organize a massive letter-writing campaign (2.6 million so far).
Does it work? Yes! In multiple randomized trials, voters who received a letter were significantly more likely to vote. It only boosted turnout by a point or two, but in close contests, that’s enough to matter. If you’re in the US this summer, this is a great way to make an impact.
How does it work? They provide the names and addresses of people likely to be on the fence and a template for a letter that you complete with a short, handwritten note. You mail them just before the election, when they’ll do the most good. Can’t wait? Right now there’s a hot primary in Florida, with Vote Forward letters going out in the next few weeks.
Whenever I’m enraged over the latest madness from the White House, I pick up a pen and write another letter. As you can imagine, I’m writing a lot of letters these days.
John Lewis at the annual Bloody Sunday March across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 1, 2020. Lewis made expanding access to the ballot his life’s mission. A bill to restore the Voting Rights Act he championed has been sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk for 225 days. (JOSHUA LOTT/AFP, Getty Images)
Escape from Covidland
I finally got back to Spain this week, after 5 months in the US. I will miss aspects of my shutdown life in Pittsburgh—vegetarian dinners with the cuñado, Monster Movie Night, porch-to-porch chats with the neighbors—but it’s good to be home! I hope the folks back there can stay well; let's vote our way out of this leadership catastrophe when November comes.
99% Invisible: Freedom House Ambulance Service (Podcast + transcript)
The world’s first paramedic crews, young Black men from the Hill District of Pittsburgh, were comprehensively-trained first responders at a time when “swoop and scoop” ambulances were manned by police, firefighters, or funeral home workers.
Armed and Dangerous:
OPB: Research Tentatively Links COVID-19 Gun Sales Spike To Increased Violence by Jason deBruyn
Researchers estimate that Americans bought 2.1 million more firearms than normal during the months in which the coronavirus pandemic began to hit hardest in the United States. Firearms violence increased by 8% in that period, including shootings, homicides and suicides.
Lost in the Mail:
ProPublica: The Postal Service Is Steadily Getting Worse — Can It Handle a National Mail-In Election? by Ryan McCarthy and Maryam Jameel. After years of budget cuts and plant closures, mail delivery has slowed so much that ballot deadlines in many states are no longer realistic.
Just for fun: On the Road with Jimmy the Crow
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