Resistance is not futile: How blue statehouses can protect Americans


Unwilling to accept the politics of division and cynicism stemming from the White House, state Democrats have been on the frontlines across the nation fighting for the politics of inclusion and optimism in our statehouses. Despite the constant barrage of attacks on American’s rights from the White House and Congress, state Democrats have held firm and led the country forward on issues such as health care, gun safety, and education. While Republicans continue to endorse Trump’s divisive, destructive, and discriminatory policies, state Democrats have passed policies to improve the lives of every American.

Health Care

While Republicans in Congress repeatedly try to repeal the Affordable Care Act and strip millions of Americans of their coverage, state Democrats are fighting to expand health care coverage. After flipping 15 seats from red to blue and nearly erasing a Republican majority in the Virginia House of Delegates, Virginia Democrats were able to expand Medicaid to an additional 400,000 people, overcoming five years of GOP resistance to join 32 other states that have already expanded the program.

The expansion of Medicaid is a victory for ALL Virginians. Today our Commonwealth is safer, it is stronger, and it is healthier.

— Democratic Party of Virginia Chairwoman Susan Swecker

In Oregon, state Democrats pioneered one of the most comprehensive pieces of health care legislation by passing the Reproductive Health Equity Act, which guarantees full access to preventative reproductive services regardless of income, citizenship status, gender identity or type of insurance.

Standing up for working families

While Trump and the Republican Party’s policies line the pockets of only the wealthiest Americans, state Democrats have fought for the working families the GOP has left behind. At the beginning of 2018, 4.5 million low-wage workers in 18 states saw an increase in their paychecks following efforts to increase the minimum wage, with three states set to phase in a $15 minimum wage. Democrats have also ensured equal pay for equal work in California, New Jersey, and Oregon. And to insulate unions from the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME, California, Maryland, New York, and Washington all preemptively passed polices to blunt the decision’s impact on American workers’ right to organize, which is essential to ensure workers are paid a living wage, can have retirement security, health care benefits, and paid leave to care for loved ones.

If there is one lesson we must learn from this decision, and the recent actions of the U.S. Supreme Court, it is that New York must step up and take action because our values and rights are under attack in Washington.”
— New York Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

Gun Safety

While our nation seen gun tragedy after gun tragedy, Republicans at all levels of government continue to only offer their thoughts and prayers — but state Democrats are answering those thoughts and prayers with policy and action. Since the shooting in Parkland, Florida, state Democrats have helped to pass over 50 new state gun safety laws. These new laws include policies to ban bump stocks, keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, and restrict the sales of assault weapons. State Democrats are taking concrete steps to protect lives.


While Republican-controlled legislatures have sabotaged and eviscerated their states’ public schools, state Democrats are investing in our future by ensuring more students have access to quality education and teachers are treated fairly. California and Maryland both passed significant funding boosts for public education, and New York Democrats were able to secure a $1 billion increase for K-12 education while the state Senate was under Republican control. And after the DLCC flipped both chambers of the Nevada legislature in 2016, Nevada Democrats were able to protect public education by blocking Republican attempts to subsidize private education with taxpayer dollars.

As the number of teachers running for elected office continues to swell, and with nearly 100 educators and education advocates featured on the DLCC Spotlight Races page, teachers are ready to fix the damage done to our schools by turning red states blue.

You can read more about the disastrous policies and budgets passed by state Republicans that led to the teacher walkouts earlier this year and inspired educators and school administrators to step up and run to replace them in statehouses across the country in a new memo from the DLCC.

Standing with Immigrants

In response to Trump and the Republican Party’s attempts to dehumanize immigrants, Democrats in state legislatures have swiftly enacted policies that are reflective of our collective identity as a nation of immigrants. California and Illinois both recently became sanctuary states, joining Oregon, and states like Vermont, New Mexico and Hawaii all introduced legislation to prevent state law enforcement from enforcing federal immigration laws. And as Trump began to escalate his threats to increase deportations, California approved $45 million to expand legal services to immigrants.

And after Trump launched his cruel zero-tolerance policy that separated families on our southern border, state Democrats didn’t only voice their outrage, states like New Jersey and Vermont acted and swiftly passed resolutions to formally condemn the atrocity.

LGBTQ Rights

As Trump proposes policies that would move America backwards for the LGBTQ community, Democrats have taken steps to lead the nation forward and ensure every American is treated with dignity. In 2018, a wave of states acted to ban the practice of conversion therapy, a widely discredited and detrimental practice that attempts to change an individual’s sexuality or gender identity, bringing the total of states that have banned the practice to 14. And in response to Trump revoking civil rights protections for transgender students, Hawaii became the first state in the nation to provide additional protections to LGBTQ students under Title IX. And this effort to stop discrimination in its tracks doesn’t end in blue states. State Democrats in the deep-red state of Texas defeated anti-transgender legislation that was proposed during a special session.


Despite Trump’s relentless efforts to roll back environmental regulations to benefit big fossil fuel companies, state Democrats are taking matters into their own hands to protect future generations and the future of our planet. In response to Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, Democratic governors from New York, Washington, and California created a bipartisan coalition of states committed to uphold the agreement.

With or without the president’s leadership, our country must continue to lead the fight for climate action. Working together across multiple states, we will ensure our great nation does not go backward and meets or exceeds the Paris Agreement.
— State Legislators United for Climate Action

And in a direct rebuke to Trump’s efforts to revoke California’s ability to set more stringent fuel efficiency standards, California is planning to take legal action and fight back.

Voting Rights

Voting is a fundamental tenet of our democracy, and despite Republicans’ attacks to disenfranchise voters following the rollback of the Voting Rights Act, Democrats have been doing everything they can to protect Americans’ constitutional right to vote. Since 2018, state Democrats in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Washington joined nine other states and D.C. by passing automatic voter registration legislation.

State Democrats Are Leading the Resistance

State Democrats have proven that with more Democrats leading statehouses nationwide, we can resist Trump’s agenda and enact America’s agenda — an agenda that isn’t focused on scoring political points on the backs of the nation’s most vulnerable, but an agenda that is dedicated to improving the lives of every American. With Democrats only 17 seats away from flipping eight chambers, the DLCC is committed to expanding our blue wall of resistance and leading our country forward with progressive policies reflective of our American values.

To see more ways state Democrats are leading the resistance, visit