How to actually make a difference if you’re nervous about the election

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A person in a “Vote” mask at a candlelight vigil for late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the steps of the Supreme Court building on September 18. | Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Constructive alternatives to doomscrolling.

Bitter memories of 2016 and President Trump’s authoritarian rhetoric about the election have every liberal I know anxious and on edge about the final month of the campaign.

Doomscrolling and dwelling on worst-case scenarios help illuminate problems and can inspire constructive action, but screen time alone doesn’t help people feel better and doesn’t help safeguard American democracy, either.

To get some ideas that might be more constructive, I talked to Sean McElwee, the co-founder of Data for Progress, a think tank that focuses on helping politicians and activists be more strategic — including on what people should actually do with their time to deliver the kind of overwhelming defeat for Trump that will stabilize democracy and force changes.

His surprising answer draws from William MacAskill’s concept of “earning to give.” The idea is that rather than idealistic young people taking jobs in the charitable sector, they should go…


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