Confidence Breeds Confidence (and Don’t Buy the Clickbait Headlines About Democrats Being Doomed)

Your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude. ~Michelle Obama

One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation. ~Arther Ashe

I just got out of the car from a long, long road trip.

So I thought I’d tell you a quick story about singing.

When I was a kid, I sang a lot. Like, a lot, a lot.

I was in every ensemble, swing choir, musical and talent show. In college, I even sang the national anthem at the boys’ basketball games, leading an entire crowd of Mizzou fans – literally tens of thousands of people – in song.

So I wasn’t a terrible singer. And also not shy.

Fast forward a few decades.

I’m no longer in a choir. I haven’t been in a musical in decades. I don’t even sing in the shower anymore.

And I don’t really sing in the car, either.

That’s partly because my son has … errr … different … taste in music. There’s not much for me to sing along with when we listen to his music. And when I do sing, he tends to scrunch up his little nose and roll his eyes. (He’s 10. I think it’s the age.)

So even though I used to belt out You Are My Sunshine at the top of my lungs in car rides with him, over the years I’ve gotten softer, more muted…

Until finally … I lost my voice altogether.

It realized it when I tried to sing to a song on the car radio a few weeks ago, when our family went on a rock hunting expedition. An old song was on the radio, and I started to sing along.

To my dismay, the notes I croaked out were off-tune and hollow.

That has never happened to me before.

Embarrassed, I remained silent.

Over the next couple weeks I mumble-sang a few more times, in the car with the kiddo, with the same off-key, sad results.

I resigned myself to the idea that I was just no longer a singer. And that was sad.

But then yesterday and today I had a long-ish – solo – road trip. For once it was just me and the radio and a few hundred miles.

And the funniest thing happened.

Guys, there’s nothing wrong with my voice.

Not one thing.

I was – and am – very pleasantly surprised about that.

But I was puzzled as to why and how my voice suddenly, spontaneously returned.

And I think I’ve landed on the culprit.


When I was singing in the car with the kiddo (who, as I said, scrunches his nose and rolls his eyes when I sing these days) I’d been holding back, being tentative, quiet and oddly unsure of myself.

And that meant the notes I managed to croak out sounded thin and wispy … because they were thin and wispy. I made them that way.

I was so tentative in my mind that my body … just followed along.

Once my confidence returned, the strength in my voice came back, too.

And so, driving down the highway, it occurred to me just how important confidence is. And just how easy it is to lose. How easy it is to get quieter and quieter, and more apologetic – for absolutely no reason at all.

Other than you listened to someone else’s (bad) opinion.

It was right around mile 230 of my trip I realized that Democrats may be having a confidence crisis. Or at least there are plenty of folks who are trying to get us to have one.

You’ve seen the headlines.

Biden’s poll numbers historically low! Gas prices up! Economy in shambles! Democrats are going to have a terrible, awful, no-good-very-bad midterm! (They don’t include the nose scrunch or eye roll like my son would, but it’s the same effect.)

You can almost feel the desperation for clicks behind those headlines. They’re one-sided and dramatic interpretations of the current state of affairs. It’s just more clickable (and thus profitable) to frame everything as: Democrats are depressed and down, our numbers are in the toilet, and nothing can be done.

The problem is that those headlines obscure the other half of reality.

And it’s that reality where we get our confidence.

Democrats are out there getting some excellent legislative wins, and laying out policy positions by forcing votes on them. Assault weapons bans, contraception, abortion, same-sex marriages – Democrats have staked out their position on those issues, and the majority of Americans agree with us.

(And of course there’s the reconciliation package that Manchin and Schumer hammered out while McConnell was planning his next dastardly deed, and plenty of other actual legislative wins that if my brain wasn’t altered by a few hundred miles of driving I’d lay out for you.)

Long story short: Democrats are delivering for the American people in a way the GOP has not, and is not willing to.

We are not perfect. I often wish that we would reach higher, too.

But we have accomplished a lot. We have delivered.

And we can do even more, if we keep the House and expand the Senate. We’re certainly not going to do that by being making mousey, tepid, timid appeals. And we don’t need to be meek! We can be confident and proud in what we’ve accomplished so far in the last two years.

I’ve been really pleased over the last week or so to see folks in the Beltway finally come to terms with the reality: Democrats have momentum.

Now the goal is to keep that momentum going.

On that point…

Let’s get to work.

Actions for the week of August 2, 2022

Call Your Senators and Demand They Pass the PACT Act

No doubt you’ve seen the outrage that the GOP voted down the legislation that provides health care for US Veterans suffering the after effects of burn pits. After the bill was voted down by Republicans, they fist-bumped and celebrated.

Imagine celebrating denying healthcare for vets.


And make no mistake – it was purely driven by spite.

In June, the same bill passed the Senate with flying colors. The bill they voted on last week included no additional spending or changes to spending. That has been the GOP Senators’ talking point (because they are freaking out that they’re being called out on their vote), and it’s BS.

So call them today and tell them to get their butts in gear and vote for healthcare for vets. And then tell your friends to do the same.

If we need to shame them into action, so be it. Our vets deserve the help.

August 2, 8pm EST: Attend Birddog training

Lots of great stuff from Indivisible this week – including this “birddog” training. Bird-dogging is a powerful tactic used by grassroots activists to get candidates and elected officials on the record.

There are no shortage of things we need to get our elected officials on the record about! So sign up for this training to learn more:

We Called it, We Need to Call About It: Same-Sex Marriage and Contraception

Last week the House passed the Marriage Equality Act to codify rights for same-sex marriage into federal law by a vote of 267 to 157 with support from all House Democrats and just 47 Republicans.

(So 157 Republicans voted NO.)

Last week the House passed the Right to Contraception Act to codify access to contraception into federal law by a vote of 228 to 194 with only 8 Republicans voting in favor of contraception.  

(So 194 Republicans voted against access to contraception.)

When Dobbs came out and Clarence Thomas invited challenges to both same-sex marriage and contraception, (mostly male) pundits and politicians assured us “hysterics” that neither was in danger from Dobbs.

When you see this many members of the GOP caucus vote in the other direction… well. I hate to say “we told you so,” but suffice it to say we can’t take anything for granted. 

Do either of these bills stand a chance in the Senate? Who can say. But you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, and I don’t know about you – but I think fighting for being able to marry whomever you want to and having the right to contraception (I MEAN REALLY???) should not be controversial in 2022.

Good lord.

So, get out your phone and call your Senators. You can make it a really simple call. Just tell them to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, S. 4556.

Support the Reconciliation Package

Last week, Sens. Schumer and Manchin announced that they had reached an agreement on a reconciliation package, including details on how this bill would lower health care and energy costs for families.

Here are the really good things in this bill:

  • A 15% Corporate Minimum Tax ensuring the ultra-rich pay their fair share
  • Closing the Carried Interest Loophole that is a giveaway to Wall Street investors, and cracking down on wealthy tax cheats
  • Investments in cleaner energy solutions that put us on the path toward a 40% reduction in emissions by 2030
  • Permission for Medicare to negotiate drug prices (lowering prescription drug prices)
  • Continued lower Affordable Care Act premiums for millions of Americans

Because this is reconciliation, Democrats can pass it with just 50 votes in the Senate, meaning Mitch McConnell and his Republican friends will be furious, but there’s nothing they can do to stop it.

But it is only potential. We need to put in the work to make sure it gets across the finish line over the next two weeks.

That means you need to get out your phone again! Call your Senators and tell them that you support it. Schumer is going to get this on the calendar in the next week so make sure your Senators know you support it.

One Last thing:

This is an excellent guide, and I’ll be sharing more about it next week. But in particular I wanted to point out the section about how to use Laughtivism – humor melts fear. Check it out!


P.S.: Why don’t you make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two? I bet they need it.

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!

P.P.S.: If you want to help support this work 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 email! We’re in this together. Don’t you forget it.

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