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I think you’ve figured it out by now — this is not normal.

The global pandemic, the economic depression, the murder hornets, the mega storms. A president in Donald Trump whose negligent and cruel handling of this emergency has shown a shocking disregard for human life. The frighteningly rapid erosion of the rules and traditions of our democracy. The ever-more-obvious support from this administration of white nationalist politics. I could go on. No really, I could go on for about 10 pages, but that wouldn’t tell you anything you don’t already know.

What may not be on your radar though is what’s coming this November. It is almost certain that Trump, staring at a probable defeat at the polls, will try to steal this election. But make no mistake: Trump does not hold the power here. We do. I’m not saying stopping him will be easy, but I am saying that when we stand together, rise up and make our collective voices heard, we have an incredible and beautiful power. Here’s what we need to do:

Step 1: Push for a fair and secure election.

The Republican Party has been laying the groundwork for this for decades, ever since it became clear that as the nation gets browner and younger, their only chance of holding on to power is to rig the game. At the heart of it is a disdain for democracy itself.

At every level of government, Republican officials have embraced voter suppression as core to their strategy to win. They’ve disguised it in falsely packaged “voter ID” laws and they’ve closed polling locations in democratic precincts. Now the pandemic has given them the excuse needed to supercharge their efforts. We saw in the primary elections in Wisconsin and Georgia the havoc they can create. There were lines at the polls that stretched for hours in Black communities. This was intentional.

We need a fair and secure election that upholds the essential American rights of all voters — and this starts at the state level. Push your state and local election officials to keep sufficient polling places open on Election Day. Tell your U.S. Reps and Senators to fight back against proposed cuts to the postal service.

Step 2: Vote, Vote, Vote.

The bigger the margin of victory, the more pathetic Trump’s lies will be to cover it up. Our number one job in front of us is to make sure every single person who can vote does so. Register to vote and affirm your registration. Vote as early as possible by the means you are most comfortable with. And make sure your friends, family and network votes.

Step 3: Prepare yourself: November is when the real work begins.

Short of a landslide Biden-Harris win, experts believe Trump is sure to claim victory soon after polls close, contesting any loss through the courts, the media and Twitter. With the help of other Republican officials at the federal and state level, there are several levers he could pull to circumvent the will of the voters and threaten our country’s most basic democratic ideals.The Transition Integrity Project compiled a detailed report that is quite honestly terrifying, but it is a sober assessment of what we must be prepared for.

The report reminds us that even if Trump loses the popular vote in a key swing state like Florida, it is the Electoral College system that decides the presidency. Electoral College votes are officially certified by governors and state legislatures, then ratified by the U.S. House and Senate. That gives Trump’s allies in the Republican party, like Florida governor Ron DeSantis, a lot of chances to cause chaos and defy voters if they can.

But even though a handful of them may have blind loyalty to Trump, these state officials, senators and congress members answer to us — the voters — much more directly. We have the power to hold them accountable. And we’ve seen this year, undeniably, that old-fashioned public pressure on elected officials is still alive and well.

So that leads me to the single most important thing you can do after Election Day: show up, for as long as you can.

If Trump tries to defy the results, we must flood the streets and show palpable, visible, undeniable pushback to his false claims. We must join together with our neighbors, our community and our country to march to reclaim our democracy. If you can’t (because we all know this pandemic is more dangerous for some than others) then show up by calling your elected officials, emailing them, tweeting them and asking others to take to the streets.

I have faith that we will answer the call. We’ve been answering it since the first days of this administration, when huge numbers of us joined the Women’s March and protests of the Muslim ban. And we’ve marched with unprecedented solidarity this year to stand up for Black lives, starting a new wave of sweeping change that just a year ago seemed impossible.

Our country is greater than any one person, but this fall it will take all of us, us doing whatever we can, to prove it. I don’t know what we can do about murder hornets, but we can save our democracy.


Rahna Epting is the Executive Director of MoveOn.