Ask yourself: Can I give more? The answer is usually yes. ~Paul Tergat, Kenyan Professional Marathoner
Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose. ~Lyndon B. Johnson
If you’ve ever trained for a marathon, you probably know what a “fast finish” is.
It’s a term for saving a wee bit of energy to use to during that last bit of road right before the finish line. It’s exhiliarating to end a 26.2 mile race sprinting down a chute – spectators screaming for you as you pass by this runner and that one, crossing the finish line just as you expend that last bit of juice. (At least, that’s the goal.)
The tricky thing is timing it just right.
If you start your sprint too soon, you’ll fade and break down before you hit the finish line.
If you start too late, you’ll have left something on the table. You won’t have reached your potential.
The goal is to be able to run full speed through the tape, with nothing left at the end.
It’s a delicate balance.
It’s a balance that we need to strike now, too. We’re almost at the end of a two-year, 24-month marathon. We started with a bang, and we’ve been logging miles ever since. Sometimes it felt like it was never going to end. Sometimes the miles just flew by. All along the way we’ve met folks, made friends, met goals and made new ones.
But here we are – we can see the finish just up ahead. On the other side of that line is a cool sip of water and a place to rest in the shade. Right now we’re still on hot pavement, overtired and dehydrated, cranky and hungry and damn ready to get off our feet already.
It’s time to start the sprint.
I know that some of you are feeling the impact of these many months and miles. You’ve knocked doors and made calls and attended marches … and it all feels like so much. How much farther? How can we keep going? Can’t we just stop and rest for a moment?
But take a second now, and look behind you. Do you see all those miles that you traveled? The places where you kept going even when you thought you couldn’t? Do you remember that time when you fell over, and someone helped you up – or when you helped someone else who was falling behind?
You’ve come so far. So very, very far.
We’re almost there. You can see the finish line.
So now, look ahead – to the faces of the people on the other side of the finish line. The friends and neighbors that you’ve been working for. Your best friend with cancer; your friend’s son with anxiety. They’re waving you on, from just beyond that finish line.
We’re almost there. You can see the finish line.
Your children – who at dinner one night proudly described how very quiet they are during active shooter drills. They brought signs to cheer for you – they’re so proud of all that you’ve done, how hard you’ve trained for this moment.
We’re almost there. You can see the finish line.
The grandmother who depends upon medicare and social security. The people whose voting rights have been curtailed. The baby just born that will struggle with the impact of climate change his entire life.
They’re all there, at the finish line.
Cheering for you.
You’re not running this race for yourself. Your not running this race for a candidate. You’re running this race for them.
And it’s into their arms that you’ll collapse at the end.
Run through the tape.
Let’s get to work.
First, a special (sortof) in person pep talk message! It’s me! To you! On video!
(You can also go to this youtube link: https://youtu.be/8OuMMNWN4WE)
And a little p.s. – on the video I say that my email is hello@smalldeeds – I neglected to include the “.com” at the end. It should be firstname.lastname@example.org. *Sigh.* It’s my first video. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself.
And now on to actions – all of which from here until the election will be, as you’d expect, election-related. The most effective thing we can do right now is to mobilize as many voters as we can to vote on November 6.
Tuesday: Vote With Me Redux
This is the second week in a row that I’m sharing this app, because it’s completely worth the extra hype. I literally chased after a canvasser in my neighborhood last week to show it to him. (And yes, he thought I was crazy. It’s fine. I don’t care. We have two weeks to GOTV and I’m not messing around.)
So if you have already downloaded Vote With Me, consider this a reminder for you to send messages to all of your friends and contacts.
If you’ve not heard of Vote With Me before, prepare to be impressed.
It’s a free app that will sync your contacts with information in the publicly-available voter database. It uses that info to find out which of your contacts can vote in upcoming elections – including which folks are in highly contested races (which is indicated with a little fire symbol).
Then it gives you a sample text for you to edit or send as-is, reminding your friend or contact to vote. And there you have it. Done.
On its own, that’s fantastic. But it gets better!
How? Because it gives you past voter data for everyone in your network. It tells you how many times Aunt Bea has voted and how many midterm elections your sister has missed. (This is all public information, by the way – VWM just makes it easy for you to find and use it.) That means you can – with authority – send your friends a text letting them know that YOU WILL KNOW if they voted in this election or not.
I love it when technology meets democracy! Dang cool app. You should download it today. Go to https://votewithme.us to learn more.
Wednesday: Share Helpful Links With Friends
Not all of our friends have the time or inclination to be as steeped in our political world, so it’s great to be able to share your knowledge with your friends. Here are some links to share via social media:
Rock the Vote (at https://www.rockthevote.org/voting-information/) is an excellent resource for polling place information, state voting rights, important deadlines – it’s a veritable smorgasbord of important voting-related data. That’s a great one to bookmark.
Vote Save America (at www.votesaveamerica.com) is another excellent resource – both for polling place information and to see what’s on your ballot. My favorite feature allows you to save your choices and e-mail or print them. Such a time saver!
Vote 411, a feature by the League of Women Voters, also has a sample ballot that describes the issues for you. It goes even further, by providing upcoming events (like candidate forums) that are great to know about. Just go to https://www.vote411.org and enter your address on the left panel.
Voting with felony convictions: Here’s one that a lot of folks don’t know a whole lot about, but is really important. States differ dramatically on their voting restrictions for people who have been convicted of felonies. You can find out where you state stands by going to https://campaignlegal.org/restoreyourvote/ Then do your network a huge favor and let them know, so that we can spread the word about who is eligible to vote. Many people simply assume that people who have been convicted of felonies simply can’t vote – and that’s not true. Let’s help ensure that those who can vote understand their rights.
Thursday: Rides to the Polls
First off, both Uber and Lyft are going to be offering free or reduced-fee rides to the polls on November 6. Check out their announcements (Lyft here and Uber here) and install or update their apps. Please share with your friends so that they can take advantage too!
But – and especially if your community does not have Uber or Lyft, there’s Carpool2Vote, an initiative of Women Voters USA (https://womenvotersusa.org/carpool2vote-5/). It operates like Uber or Lyft, but with volunteer drivers that will take you to and from the polls. You can sign up to be a volunteer driver on the app itself! You can download the app at the app store and find more information on their website here.
And finally – let your friends, family and neighbors know that you are going to the polls and that you can give them a ride. People are more likely to vote if they know that others around them are, so just by asking around you’re helping GOTV. (And you’re providing a valuable service if they need a ride!) Consider other places where you can make the same offer – church groups, book clubs, and resistance organizations. (Obviously, please be safe when making these offers, ok?)
Friday: Make Your List. Check It Twice.
So, if you watched my somewhat awkward video above, you saw that I encourage everyone to create a list of what your going to do in the next two weeks to help turn out Democratic voters.
I think that’s important for a few reasons. First, because it helps you get organized. That sense of structure may help you feel more in control over the next two weeks when everything is swirling faster and faster. But it will also help you see just how much of an impact you’re making.
On November 7, I want to be celebrating all of the gains that we made – not having crisis meetings to talk about what we wish we would have done, or what we’ll do differently next time. The time to do all of those things is now.
So get out a pencil and paper, and start writing down different actions you want to take in the next two weeks. Vote Save America has a great list of canvasses and other in-person events near you, as well as remote options like text and phone banking. So if you’re not sure where to start, start there. (https://votesaveamerica.com/dosomething)
P.S.: Yes, I am indeed a copywriter! I take a limited number of clients, and with the political cycle ending, I’ll have some openings soon. Visit www.mhornish.com to learn more.
P.P.S.: If you want to help support this work (and help me “keep the lights on,” so to speak), you can do so via Patreon at
or via paypal at
My deepest gratitude in advance.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. I read and respond to every e-mail. (Really! I really do!) We’re in this together.
If you want one more quick action, make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two.
If you’d like to sign up to get this pep talk and action list in your in-box each week, you can do that here. Welcome, friend!