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.
We can do it this year. And even though we're only talking about flipping a few seats, the impact would be massive.
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.
The Opportunity in 2017
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. The court has also ordered that new elections must be held for all new districts in November 2017 - creating an off-year, special election.
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. The only question is whether we can get folks to go vote in a special election.
So here’s the opportunity: Use the 2017 special election 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.
The new districts will be unveiled on March 15th. By then, we need to have already accomplished four essential tasks.
Accomplish Four 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.
First, join our Digital GOTV Team.
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 in 2017.
We'll also send you articles to share about the special election and why it's important, like these:
- Federal judges find NC legislative districts unconstitutional
- Court orders special legislative election in 2017 with redrawn districts
Join our Digital GOTV Team here:
Second, join our "NC Votes 2017" Facebook event.
This the easiest way to let your friends know there’s a special election and encourage them to go vote. Just join the event, share it on your Facebook page and invite your friends to join the event. In less than 5 minutes you could let hundreds of people know about the special election. Easy and effective.
Go to the Facebook event here.
2) Recruit Strong Candidates
We need your help to identify – and perhaps become – one of our 2017 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.
Future volunteers should be in touch here:
4) 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 four 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 email us at NCGameplan2017@gmail.com.