I don’t know about you, but I didn’t feel great when I woke up on November 9th. I hadn’t slept much. How could I after watching Donald Trump win the presidency while losing my own race for the U.S. Senate in Missouri?
I remember waking up my wife, Diana, at three in the morning to talk about the fact that President Trump and the GOP Congress were really going to try to repeal Obamacare. We talked about how it would affect millions of people, but we also talked about what it would mean for my parents and my younger brother.
Nevertheless, Diana woke me up early that morning and took me out to breakfast. An hour later, I decided there would be no moping and no time off.
Everyone who cared about the future of the country needed to grab an oar, including me.
So I began traveling across the country (30 states so far this year) to lay out the case for Democrats. Along the way, I’ve lost count of how many times someone has asked me how better to persuade family members, friends, and co-workers who voted for President Trump to reconsider their support.
That’s why I decided I wanted to start a podcast to help answer that question, and to remind all of us that “issues” don’t exist in a vacuum—they make an enormous impact on actual people’s lives. That’s how Majority54 was born. Majority54 is about the issues dividing America and how we in the majority can better talk about our beliefs to those we have yet to convince.
Last year, at a campaign stop in rural Missouri, my friend and fellow veteran Will Fischer said: “A lot of politicians can tell you what’s happening in a combat zone, but guys like me and Jason, we can tell you what it smells like.”
His point was that there are real people at the center of every issue and the best way to understand an issue is to start by listening to and understanding those people. It’s why I founded Let America Vote–a nationwide organization that fights against voter suppression by making the political argument for voting rights. (Our volunteers knocked on about 200,000 doors in Virginia the last few months and we won every race we targeted.)
And it’s why I’ve been traveling to a different town each week, recording a conversation with one person about one issue and how it affects his or her life. Rather than seeking to determine the political implications for members of Congress, I have been and will remain focused on what life actually feels like on the ground.
I recently traveled to New York to speak with A.J. Twombly, a former CIA operative who worked undercover overseas, about national security. I went to Ferguson to see Bruce Franks, an activist who became a state representative speaking up for his community after Michael Brown’s death. In Somersworth, New Hampshire, I talked to a nurse named Tonya about how the opioid epidemic can devastate not just individuals, but families like hers. If you want to see where else I’ve gone and who else I’ve spoken with over the past few months, you’ll have to subscribe.
I want Majority54 listeners to be equipped to discuss issues and values, either by relaying these stories, or by becoming inspired to look inward, and tell stories about themselves.
Finally, I should probably tell you how I came up with the name “Majority54.” Every time someone tells me they don’t recognize America right now, I remind them that 54 percent of the country voted for someone not named Donald Trump to be president, and that we shouldn’t be confused about that just because he pretends to have a mandate to sow division and ignore the stuff that really matters.
I wanted to create a podcast that gives the 54 percent of us who voted for someone else a way to talk about the issues that made us vote the way we did, so that we can all be a part of the effort to grow our majority.
We need to make our argument. I’m excited to continue making mine in conversations with you each Friday, beginning November 17th, for 10 weeks. And I hope the conversation doesn’t end with each episode—you can visit Majority54.com.
We’ve always had our challenges in this country, but now President Trump and a complicit and spineless Republican Congress are creating new ones. The 54 percent are doing everything from fighting large battles like the fights to save Obamacare and protect DREAMer families, to denouncing Twitter tantrums aimed at gold star widows and hurricane victims.
I know it’s tiresome. I dread waking up to tweets from the President just like most people do. But as long as the President keeps trampling our national ideals, we have to keep fighting. These conversations are here to arm you.