Because 2020 is a Census year, the maps for Congress and every state legislature must be redrawn starting in 2021 to reflect the nation’s population shifts over the last 10 years. Those new districts will play a critical role in determining who will be elected for the coming decade.
In most states, those lines are drawn by state lawmakers themselves. Not only will they craft new maps for the House of Representatives, they’ll also come up with the very districts they’ll use to elect members of their own legislative bodies. Is it a terrible system? Oh yes. Is it the one we have to wage this battle under? Yes again. And is it the one we’ll do everything we can to blow up once we win? Oh you better believe it.
After careful research, these are the chambers we believe are most important for Democrats to target to ensure an end to Republican gerrymandering, along with the number of seats we need to win in order to take control:
In Arizona, a once-red state that has become a tossup this year, Republicans have long sought to destroy the state’s independent redistricting commission. They even impeached its tiebreaking member—a move the state Supreme Court thankfully ruled was unlawful. To guarantee the GOP can’t try to sabotage the commission again, Democrats need to flip at least one chamber of the closely divided legislature.
Michigan voters also approved an independent commission two years ago, but the Supreme Court is poised to strike it down—and any panels like it: In a 2015 case, the justices upheld Arizona’s commission by just a 5-4 vote. Since then, Anthony Kennedy, who was the deciding vote, has been replaced by Brett Kavanaugh. There’s no way we can trust Kavanaugh to do the right thing.
Minnesota Democrats already control both the governorship and the state House, so if we can flip the Senate, we can turn the whole state blue for the first time since 2014. That would allow lawmakers to set up an independent commission that would be insulated from the kinds of attacks that could undermine Arizona’s and Michigan’s, which the Supreme Court questioned because they were put on the ballot by ordinary voters. (Funny how the conservative justices seem to hate citizen activism, huh?)
Few can top the North Carolina Republicans, however, when it comes to sheer awfulness. Their extreme gerrymanders were repeatedly struck down by the courts for discriminating against Black voters and Democrats, so this year, they’re finally using new districts that are fairer—but still far from truly equitable. If Democrats can flip one chamber, that’ll put an end to outrageous GOP maps. If we can win both, we’ll have full control of state government.
In Pennsylvania, Republicans have clung to power thanks to some truly cynical maps even as Democrats have managed to win almost every statewide office. Only the governorship, currently in Democratic hands, stands between the GOP and further gerrymandering, but if we can take back the state House, we can make sure Republicans can’t take a shot at a re-redistricting gambit mid-decade.
Finally, there’s Texas. Yes, Texas. Democrats have a real shot at reclaiming the state House for the first time in almost 20 years, thanks to an ongoing rebellion in once-red suburbs against the GOP’s hideous transformation under Trump. If we win, then the entire Republican agenda in the second-largest state in the nation will come crashing to a halt. It’ll be a political earthquake like none other. Let’s make ‘em tremble.
Daily Kos has never rolled out a slate this large before, and we know we’re asking a lot from you. But we’ve also never seen our community this pumped up before. Progressive activism is at an absolute fever pitch everywhere, so we knew it was go big or go home—and we definitely ain’t going home.
If you want to turn legislatures from red to blue, this is your one-stop shopping opportunity. It’s also a chance to build a more reflective Democratic Party that looks like its voters: Most of our endorsees are women, people of color, LGBTQ, immigrants, and first-generation Americans. (A full list is below.)
You’re going to be hearing a lot from us about this slate in the final two months of the election, because every last one of these candidates is going to face a barrage of Republican attacks, and they’ll need the resources to fight back. For grassroots donors, though, you’ll get tremendous bang for your buck, since legislative races have much smaller budgets than statewide contests. A little really does go a long away. We’re counting on you—and so are they.
Can you give $1 to each of these amazing Democrats running to flip state legislatures from red to blue? Can’t give to all of them? Go “3 for 3”: Choose three candidates and send them $3 each!
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