Once the Democrats broke the Republican gerrymandering of Virginia districts and fair elections were held in 2019, Virginia became a blue trifecta—meaning the Democrats controlled both houses of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion. Democrats immediately restored voting rights, made Election Day a holiday, and extended voting hours. These small actions ensured a Democratic majority for years to come; no dirty tricks, sabotaging institutions, or shady gerrymandering were required. Turns out that being responsive to the people, passing popular laws, and making voting accessible were all that was needed to keep Democrats in power. Novel concept.
North Carolina is on the exact same trajectory as Virginia: Its urban centers have grown steadily, and the suburbs, along with those of the rest of the nation, have turned sharply toward Democrats. The state population has become much younger, much more racially diverse, and increasingly progressive. On the other hand, the state Republican Party—under Michael Whatley and prominent Tar Heel Republicans like Thom Tillis—has followed Trump’s lead in retreating backward toward nativism, division, and racist rhetoric. Their fearmongering has not only backfired, it has been a driving force in turning younger progressives in the state into activists.
It’s easy to focus on the national races right now, but the change and the power comes from winning the state legislatures. Daily Kos has targeted 47 legislative candidates in several states this year to make that happen. In North Carolina, we have a very real opportunity to flip both the General Assembly and the State Senate from red to blue, meaning fully funded education, access to health care, rolling back attacks on women’s health, and automatic voter registration are all within reach. When Virginia obtained the blue trifecta, Democrats raised the minimum wage, expanded renewable energies, and granted legal driving privileges to undocumented immigrants—all in a single day. That can be North Carolina this year, and with the 2020 redistricting effort, this is our chance to turn this state blue for at least the next decade.