By Shaniqua McClendon, Political Director at Crooked Media
Donald Trump is awful. Fact. But it’s exactly that awfulness that presents another real danger. The spectacle of an unhinged and dangerous man in the White House threatens to draw attention from a bigger problem in 2020: Electing a Democratic president won’t save us. Not if we fail to elect Democrats up and down the ballot, especially in state legislatures.
Republicans in state legislatures who gerrymandered themselves into power are inflicting widespread and long lasting damage — and they’re very hard to beat. Take my home state of North Carolina as an example:
North Carolina was once an enlightened beacon of the South, but in 2010 Democrats got wiped out after failing to prioritize legislature elections, giving Republicans control of both chambers for the first time in more than 100 years. What’d they do? First, drew some of the most gerrymandered districts in the country to eventually secure a six-year supermajority. Then, as expected, they went absolutely crazy.
After the Supreme Court ruled Medicaid expansion under Obamacare optional, they rejected Medicaid expansion even though the state wouldn’t have to foot the bill.
Next, they passed a voting rights law so terrible, it was described as having disenfranchised African Americans with “surgical precision.” They snuck anti-abortion provisions into a motorcycle safety bill. Finally, they earned national attention for the infamous bathroom bill that forced transgender people to use bathrooms according to the gender listed on their birth certificate instead of the gender with which they identify. It’s so bad in North Carolina that the state isn’t even considered a democracy anymore. (Learn more about their antics here)
Things don’t go well when we ignore state legislatures. But this time around, momentum is on our side.
Last year Democrats took full control of five state legislatures and we can do it again in 2019 and 2020.
Start by going to votesaveamerica.com and finding out how to support 2019 legislature races in places like Virginia, where we only need to flip two seats per chamber.
Don’t fail to spend your energy everywhere it counts.
Shaniqua is the political director at Crooked Media and is hosting a podcast mini series on NC Republicans. Listen here: go.crooked.com/6KJcP1