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Mon Sep 28, 2020, 09:08 PM

To protect our democracy, Democrats must win state legislative elections

ovember’s state legislative races were always going to be important. Now they are an existential imperative. With Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, we mourn not just the death of a brilliant scholar, feminist and progressive trailblazer. In the absence of a court willing to strike down unconstitutional and harmful laws and enforce federal protections, states may be our last line of defense. Eighty percent of this country’s state legislative seats are up this year. We must act now, quickly, to shore up these critical chambers.

For decades, Democrats prioritized federal elections over state-level races, and left-leaning interest groups often fought through the courts, not local elections. Ginsburg, after all, won her icon status after becoming an attorney and crusading to establish human rights in court. That tactic worked well for many progressive causes. In the 1970s, litigation against corporations worked so well, in fact, that libertarian billionaires responded by building an entire political apparatus designed to stack the courts with ideological judges opposed to environmental and labor protections. Meanwhile, conservative interest groups began cultivating anti-abortion and anti-gay rights judges and political connections. The Republican party’s transformation of the judiciary under Trump is the culmination of those decades-long efforts.

At the same time, Republicans and their donors have kept a laser focus on winning state legislative races – especially in redistricting years like this one. By gerrymandering districts, Republican strategists have almost guaranteed that their candidates can pass unpopular legislation without risking their seats or control of their states. This trend is especially alarming given that a central goal of conservative jurisprudence is to eliminate federal protections and give states more leeway to write their own laws.

Consider this stark example of how the conservative judiciary and Republican legislatures can dovetail to oppress: In November 2018, through a ballot amendment, Floridians overwhelmingly voted to expand voting rights to include formerly incarcerated people, ending a vestige of Jim Crow. But the next year, the Republican-controlled legislature enacted a law designed to void those voting rights – and the will of the people. A federal court recently upheld the state legislature’s actions, thereby effectively denying the right to vote to tens of thousands of formerly incarcerated people – in a swing state, in a major election year. One of the federal judges who made that decision to restrict Floridians’ voting rights, Barbara Lagoa, is on Trump’s shortlist to replace Ginsburg.


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Reply To protect our democracy, Democrats must win state legislative elections (Original post)
RandySF Sep 28 OP
blm Sep 28 #1

Response to RandySF (Original post)

Mon Sep 28, 2020, 09:35 PM

1. We have that chance in NC.

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