(plus where to donate and how to volunteer!)
Like so many of us, I’m deep in the throes of grief right now. I’m mourning the loss of one of my heroes, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and terrified of what her death means for our country.
I’m furious that Republicans will try to ram through a Supreme Court nomination with only 45 days to go until Election Day. (Don’t forget they refused to vote on Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee, when he was nominated 237 days before the 2016 election.) And I’m so sad that Justice Ginsburg’s final thoughts had to be about protecting the courts and our country.
The urge in a time like this is (and should be!) to do something. So I’ve put together a list of the best places to donate and volunteer. And if you’re feeling like rage shopping? Yeah, I’ve got you covered. I put together a roundup of the best election and voting merchandise to rock for the next 45 days and beyond.
The first thing I’ll say is that there is no point donating to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s opponent Amy McGrath. I know you are angry, I know you want to screw with McConnell, but she will not win. The best way to diminish his power is by regaining control of the Senate and removing him as Senate Majority Leader.
If you donate here your contribution will be distributed between the Senate races where your donation can make the biggest difference. The best part about this link is that the races change as funding changes. For example, while Mark Kelly’s race in Arizona is extremely important, he has more than enough money so the fund no longer distributes money to his campaign.
That said, this fund has already raised over $13 million since Justice Ginsburg died last night. There comes a time when so much money has been raised that candidates literally won’t be able to spend it before the election. A good alternative is to donate to the ACLU. Justice Ginsburg worked for the ACLU in the 70s so a donation to them would be a wonderful tribute to her.
Note: Long established groups like the ACLU aside, here’s evergreen advice on donating to independent groups – don’t do it. It will always make the most impact to donate directly to campaigns. PACs have far less oversight and often spend too much on overhead.
Last thought – if Justice Ginsburg’s death teaches us anything it’s that we need to strengthen democracy at all levels. We can never again be in a position where our fate depends on the health of an 87-year-old woman. So, while I know it’s not sexy, I’d suggest donating on the state level to take control of legislatures in states like Georgia and Texas which will deny Republicans the chance to gerrymander House seats in the future.
Oh, and wondering why I haven’t suggested donating to the Biden campaign? Trump’s re-election campaign has burned through almost all the money it has raised. And Biden and the Democratic National Committee are currently out-raising the President’s campaign and the Republican National Committee – in August they raised almost $365 million while the Republicans raised just a little over $150 million. So, your donation just won’t make much of a difference to the Biden campaign.
Sending letters to voters is one of the most effective forms of voter engagement. I like to do it through Vote Forward but there are plenty of other organizations that do the same thing, including Postcards to Voters.
If you’d prefer to call or text voters, visit the Biden campaign’s Action Center. Through there you can select whether you’d prefer to make calls, send texts, host virtual events, and more. You can even choose which state you’d like to focus on. No matter how much or how little free time you have, there is a way for you to get involved.
Now for the fun part. For years I’ve been amassing a tidy collection of voting merchandise. T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs – you name it. If you’re in the mood to shop today, here are some of my favorite pieces of election and voting merchandise, from sweatshirts to bookmarks and everything in between.
This Clare V. x When We All Vote t-shirt was the first voting merchandise that I purchased this year. The fit is kind of strange and it’s way too expensive for what it is (although 10% of the proceeds go to When We All Vote), but I just love it. Très chic. I wore it when I voted in a primary runoff in July.
I also love this Hooray for Voting t-shirt that’s made in partnership with Amanda Kloots whose husband Nick, a former Broadway actor, died of COVID earlier this year. 50% of the proceeds go to I Am A Voter.
And I just got this one as well. I couldn’t resist – 100% of the proceeds go to the ACLU! (The arms are a little tight so I’d size up.)
The piece of voting merchandise I’m most excited to wear this year (and for years to come) is a Lingua Franca ‘Good Trouble’ sweatshirt that I ordered a few weeks ago. While that exact item is no longer for sale, they have tons of other great items including a line that benefits I Am A Voter and a sweater that pays tribute to Justice Ginsburg’s famous saying that “there will be enough women on the Supreme Court when there are nine”. If Lingua Franca is out of your budget, this sweatshirt is a more affordable alternative.
If Barbie wanted to show her support for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, this sweatshirt is what she’d wear. It runs really large so be sure to size down. The design comes in multiple other colors and can also be purchased as a t-shirt or crop top if that’s more your style.
I’m a big believer that nice pajamas helps you sleep better, and when I embrace a theme, I really embrace it. So I love these starry pajamas that make me feel patriotic even in my sleep. They also run large so I’d suggest sizing down! (PS: They’re on sale this weekend for under $30 with the code ‘SHOPNOW’!)
My face masks feel like the biggest fashion statement I make these days, so of course I have a number of voting themed ones, including these from Ripley Rader. They come in black as well and while the fit leaves a little to be desired, it’s nothing a little face mask adjustor can’t fix. $2 from the sale of each mask goes to When We All Vote.
I think buttons are one of the cutest ways to add some voting flair to any outfit. If red, white, and blue isn’t really your preferred color palate, you might enjoy this sweet floral button. (The design also comes as a t-shirt!) The official Biden campaign store also has lots of cute buttons to choose from, and this set of 8 ‘vote’ buttons is a total bargain.
And readers, if you want to represent even in your off hours, I love this set of social justice bookmarks that includes one that says ‘vote’. They are the perfect size and also super sturdy. You can use them while reading some of my favorite political books!
I hope this gives you some ways to channel your grief and your spending this weekend. Leave me a note below and let me know where you decide to donate and volunteer and what goodies you end up buying!