"What Can I Do?"
Since the election, that's the question people keep asking.
Here’s my answer: If you live in North Carolina, your best shot at making a big difference is to help break the GOP supermajority in the state legislature.
Why? Because now that Roy Cooper is Governor, if we break the GOP supermajority in either the state House or the state Senate, he can use his veto to shut down the far-right agenda coming from our state legislature.
Here's how we do it.
The Political Situation in North Carolina
In the North Carolina state legislature, Republicans have supermajorities in both the state House (74-46) and state Senate (35-15). That means they can pass any bill and override any veto.
It’s important to understand that the GOP supermajorities in our state legislature are not the result of the GOP’s popularity, but are rather the result of the extreme gerrymandering they conducted while implementing the new districts in 2011.
In short, they were in charge of drawing the districts, and they drew them to pack as many Republicans into the state legislature as possible. As one of them recently said, “I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats. So I drew this map in a way to help foster what I think is better for the country.”
As a result, the GOP is in total control of the legislative process. As you know, this has led to a slew of far-right bills that have brought our state considerable negative attention, most prominently including HB2.
But there’s an opportunity to change that. A federal court has ordered a new round of redistricting due to the unconstitutional manner in which the GOP used race the last time they drew the districts.
While not every district in the state must be redrawn, almost every district near a major city will be. And despite the fact that the same folks who drew the maps last time will be allowed to draw the maps this time, the result will almost certainly be a significant increase in the number of competitive seats.
So here’s the opportunity: Use the new districts to break the supermajority in at least one of two chambers. If we can do that, we will be able to sustain Gov. Cooper’s vetoes, and that will completely change the political landscape by putting a crucial check on the absolute power currently held by the GOP.
We know we're getting lots of new districts, but there is still some uncertainty about whether the next set of legislative elections will be in 2017 (as the court initially ordered) or 2018. We should know soon.
However - no matter when the next election is - the basic strategy will remain the same: win enough seats to break the supermajority.
Our Essential Tasks
1) Join Our Digital GOTV Team
We're launching a digital get-out-the-vote (GOTV) effort, and we need your help in two ways.
As the election approaches, we’re going to send team members articles, infographics, and ready-made social media content about the upcoming election. You’ll have the opportunity to pick and choose what to post and send to your friends – we’ll just supply you with content. Over 40% of the electorate gets their news from social media, so your posts can make a big difference!
Here's an example of an infographic that shows how close we are to breaking the supermajority in the Senate. You could post this to any of your social media accounts and add a couple sentences about why it's important to vote.
Join our Digital GOTV Team here:
2) Recruit Strong Candidates
We need your help to identify – and perhaps become – one of our candidates.
Start by taking a look at your hometown and seeing who represents you. Here’s a map of the state Senate.
And here’s the state House.
If it's easier to type in your address to find out what district you're in, you can do that here.
Once you know someone who might be interested in flipping a red seat blue (even if it's not you), let us know so we can answer any questions and, if they decide to run, start supporting them as soon as possible.
For those with little to no experience running a campaign, please know that we have a full-time staff that works with our candidates and helps them become competitive. Even before you decide to run, our staff is more than happy to review the district with you, go over the numbers, and help you build your own gameplan. That’s their job, and they’re good at it.
Prospective candidates should be in touch here:
3) Build a Volunteer Base
We can give our candidates a strong start by connecting them with a group of volunteers who are ready to go as soon as the campaign begins - and having a built-in volunteer team will go a long way in helping us recruit strong candidates.
If you’re willing to be a future volunteer for a candidate in your area, let us know. When there is a declared candidate in your area, we will send you their contact information so you can get involved.
(By the way, here's What It Means to Be A Volunteer in A State Legislative Campaign.)
Future volunteers should be in touch here:
4) Build a Skill Bank
To be clear, the most important job our volunteers will have will be contacting voters (see What It Means to Be A Volunteer in A State Legislative Campaign). However, if you're interested in taking on a bigger volunteer role in a campaign and you have a background in campaign management, volunteer coordination, field organizing, graphic design, video production, social media management, website production, or any other helpful skill, please reach out here.
5) Promote Strategic Fundraising
What if there were a fund that only existed to support highly competitive candidates in the closest races? A fund whose sole purpose was to be highly strategic in making the difficult decisions about which candidates have the best chance of winning and then only funding those candidates?
Well, there are two. One is for the Democrats in the state House, and one is for the Democrats in the state Senate.
If you have particular candidates who you know and feel strongly about, please support them. But if you don’t know a candidate – or if you’re the type of person who wants to make sure every dollar is used strategically – then you should give directly to either the House or Senate Democrats.
If we accomplish these essential tasks, we will have an excellent shot at breaking the GOP supermajority and completely changing the political landscape of our state.
If you have any ideas for items we should add to our Gameplan, please contact me at Jacksonforncsenate@gmail.com.
Gameplan in the News