A recall sign paid for by Car DeMaio’s Reform California organization. Photo by Chris Stone

If you’re like us, you’re alarmed by the Republican Party‘s calculating gubernatorial power grab. Next month’s recall election will pivot on voter turnout. But recall elections don’t favor incumbents. Recall elections are inconveniently timed. Thriving on anger and ingratitude, they can generate a perfect storm of political chaos, particularly in today’s hyper-partisan political arena.

Let’s face it: The Republican Party and its allies have turned the political arena into an uncomfortable, unwelcoming space for anyone but partisan ideologues. Nontraditional political actors, including small business owners, nonprofits, and churches, have been pushed to the sidelines of the political narrative, undercutting our participation in the democratic process. 

Most Americans recoil at the anger and selfishness driving the Republican Party’s political narrative. We’ve allowed the GOP to divide us by driving good-hearted community champions into our respective corners. This dysfunction benefits one political party and hurts the rest of us. It’s silencing our voices of hope, compassion, and collaboration. It’s tearing at the fabric of our democracy.

Small businesses, churches, and nonprofits are incubators of community. They’re safe harbors where people gather, connect, and grow together without fear of being drawn into partisan brawls. These civic spaces are the connective tissue of resilient democracies. 

How can displaced and disheartened voters reclaim our rightful space in the political arena? We believe the answer lies in our power to reimagine the art of voter engagement.

This transformation of voter outreach is inspired by a simple yet powerful idea: The more Americans who turn out to vote, the stronger our chances of electing political candidates aligned with the values held by a convincing majority of the American electorate. By welcoming more voices into the political conversation, we can increase voter turnout, celebrate the democratic process, and defeat the tyranny of the Republican minority.

Consider the flyer pictured below as one tool in an evolving Get Out The Vote toolkit, right alongside postcards, canvassing, yard signs, and text and phone banks. Engaging and nonpartisan, the flyer can be shared on social media, sparking one-on-one conversations with family and friends. Businesses can post it in their storefront windows. Nonprofits can integrate its message into collaborative calls to action. Churches can include it in Sunday bulletins. We’re mounting ours on cardboard and displaying it as yard signs.

Election Day flyer

The flyer is timeless. With a simple change-of-date, it can be deployed in election after election. Upbeat and empowering, its message is a refreshing counterforce to the sound and fury of partisan political theatre.

Politics isn’t a bad word. It’s an evolving conversation about our shared American experience. What matters is who is driving the conversation: We, the people, or self-serving political actors determined to divide us when the constant search for common ground is our highest calling?

A second-generation San Diegan and nonprofit consultant, Molly Bowman-Styles is the President of Windansea Communications. Rev. Tim Seery is the pastor of the Congregational Church of La Jolla.

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