That’s an important date.
It’s when the Democratic party is anticipating taking back the congressional majority.
But as the saying goes, “All politics is local.” Congress is not enough. That’s why the Democratic party is in full career focusing on local and state elections, hoping to turn red municipalities blue.
Ten years ago the Republican party was licking its wounds after the country elected its first African American president and Democrats controlled both houses of Congress.
So they came up with a strategy: concentrate on 16 states and gerrymander them so badly Democrats have little to no mathematical chance of winning in the 2010 mid-term elections.
And it worked. Republicans reclaimed their lost seats, and have held them ever since. Now they have the White House too.
Be that as it may, facts don’t lie. President Trump has abysmal poll numbers; Americans who never previously considered themselves “political” are joining grassroots organizations, running for office, and engaging in the political process; the Republican party is quickly losing its facade as the “party of the people” as it sells out even more to the evangelical Christian right, white supremacists, and the gun lobby. We needn’t look any further than this last election day.
Earlier this month, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NRDC) revealed its 2018 strategy—target legislatures across in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin to force Republicans to negotiate sharing power.
According to the NRDC, founded by former Attorney General Eric Holder:
“During the last redistricting process in 2011, Republicans had trifecta control [the governor and both legislative chambers] in 19 states, which gave them complete power over the drawing of 213 congressional districts. The NDRC is committed to changing that and making sure Democrats have a seat at the table in the 2021 redistricting process. This is a critical election year for redistricting because it is the first cycle where the officials elected will serve during the redistricting process in 2021. NDRC is targeting 12 states during the 2018 election cycle, including 9 gubernatorial races, 20 legislative chambers, 2 ballot initiatives, and 2 down-ballot races. There are 8 additional states on our Watch List [Arizona, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah].”
David Daley, author of Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy said:
“People need to keep in mind that the GOP has key structural advantages. Turnout [next fall] matters. Democrats need to run everywhere, while prioritizing ruthlessly: if they miss these targets in 2018, they will not have another shot at the maps in many of these states until 2031. They also need to understand taking back the House and having a seat at the table in redistricting are two different things. The first could happen. But the second is arguably more important — and that’s a harder, longer fight that needs to be measured in flipping state legislative chambers in key states, and winning seats at the table in 2021.”
Eric Holder told the New York Times:
“From my perspective, success is if you break a trifecta… I don’t think that in December of 2018, you measure success by whether you have assumed control of a particular state.”
NDRC is targeting open governors’ seats in Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and Maine; wants to keep Democratic governors in Minnesota and Pennsylvania; and challenge Republican governors and legislators in Wisconsin and New Hampshire.
In Ohio, the secretary of state and auditor positions are also important since they are crucial to drawing electoral maps.
In Michigan, Ohio, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and South Dakota, the NRDC is setting its sights on ballot initiatives.
David Daley agrees this is the right approach. He said:
“The NDRC is targeting the right states. This isn’t brain surgery. The states in which Democrats have a serious gerrymandering problem have become pretty obvious. Add up the congressional delegations of competitive swing states Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan and Wisconsin, and they send 49 Republicans and 20 Democrats to Washington [for House seats]. It’s hard to make serious inroads into the GOP majority without making gains in those states.
“This strategy appears focused and realistic. Democrats need a seat at the table in 2021 when new maps are drawn for state legislatures and Congress. They fell asleep in 2010, and have paid the price all decade. They appear to have understood what happened and how they needed to organize this time around.”
The release of a new congressional district map in Pennsylvania last week is predicted to help Democrats pick up several seats. The prior map the Republican legislature drew in 2011 allowed the GOP to take 13 of the state’s 18 congressional districts in 2016. Donald Trump carried 12.
Last month, federal judges ruled North Carolina’s congressional district map disproportionately favors Republicans, violates the 14th Amendment‘s Equal Protection Clause, the First Amendment, and Article I of the Constitution, ordering the state’s Republican-controlled General Assembly to redraw its 13 districts.
In 2016, judges determined two North Carolina districts were drawn to intentionally disenfranchise Black voters.
The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a redistricting case from Wisconsin, and is expected in the near future to also hear a complaint from Maryland Republicans.
Republicans have another problem–money.
Republicans raised more than $100 million in the first nine months of 2017, providing a significant advantage over Democrats. Trump voters contributing $50.00 to the RNC were basically helping to defray Trump’s legal fees for the Russia probe. But just as the RNC finished those payments, it began dumping nearly $40k a month to Trump’s company and thousands more to Mike Pence’s nephew.
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