Ways to stay sane during the primaries

As the presidential primaries get underway, it’s easy to get burnt out or overwhelmed by all the candidates and their platforms. Here are 9 ways to stay sane through the madness of the presidential primaries.

1. Look for a candidate with the right ingredients to inspire you and others. The next president will have to be someone who can bring together Americans from all walks of life—across race, class, gender, ethnicity, and religion—into a movement against the hatred, bigotry, and cronyism that now pervades Washington.

2. Don’t get distracted by the horserace, who’s up or who’s down in the polls. Focus on the substance: What their vision is for the country and how it will affect all of our lives.

3. Reach out to independents. Avoid political labels, and talk kitchen table issues like the rising cost of health care, housing and education. Focus on solutions rather than slogans or what you hear on cable news.

4. Get involved. Devote your time and energy to getting others organized and mobilized. It’s going to take a grassroots movement of Americans to take our country back from those who seek to divide us.

5. Study up on the candidates and their positions on issues you care about and see if they align. Visit their websites to explore their policy positions, read independent analyses of their proposals, dig deeper into their records in elected office.

6. Take a deep breath. The most important goal is to reclaim our democracy and forge an economy that works for all. Don’t succumb to divisiveness or carping criticism of other primary candidates. And remember that you can stay centered, mentally, regardless of how close you are to the political center.

7. Make sure you’re registered to vote, and know when and where to vote. The work you put into learning about the candidates means little if you don’t actually show up on Election Day. Once you’re registered, make sure your friends and family are too.

8. Follow the money. Some candidates have already pledged not to take money from wealthy donors or corporate political action committees. Make sure all of them follow suit.

9. Lastly, don’t lose faith in America. We’ve been through dark times before, but we have come out stronger on the other side. We will do so again.

This post originally appeared at RobertReich.org.

Robert B. Reich is the chancellor’s professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley and former secretary of labor under the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the 10 most effective Cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause. His film, Inequality for All, was released in 2013. Follow him on Twitter: @RBReich.

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