Congratulations! You made it through what was one of the most insane and unsettling political news weeks in a recent history filled with insane and unsettling political news weeks. Remember on New Year’s Eve, when you said that maybe 2018 wouldn’t be as batshit as 2017? That was only a week ago, and that notion has already been blown out of the water!
Somehow, Trump comparing dick nuclear button sizes with Kim Jong-Un is old news, and one of the least-discussed events of last week. The release of Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury, made clear that Trump is absolutely ill-equipped to hold any office, let alone the most powerful position in the world… and all the GOP can do is fall further in line with his delusions, pushing the FBI to investigate the Clinton Foundation yet again, as well as trying to bring criminal charges against the brave intelligence officials who tried to warn the US about Russia’s involvement in the election.
So it’s clear that toppling Trump in 2020 is not going to fix everything, or restore any sort of integrity to our fast-fading democracy. The GOP is now a far-right group of dangerous ideologues who go along with Trump because they agree with him. State and local governments have been infiltrated by these maniacs. And so in order to put America back on a progressive path, we need to take back governments all across the nation.
The GOP’s evil swindle of a tax bill hurts just about everyone that isn’t extremely rich, and it’s even more damaging to residents of blue states like New Jersey. You’d think that politicians, regardless of party, would fight tooth and nail to stop laws that would make their constituents lives’ significantly worse… but c’mon, that’s just now how it works these days. And so really, it should come as no surprise that New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, surrendered what should have been significant influence and backed the GOP tax bill, despite it wallopping his home district.
Frelinghuysen has represented a moderate district since the GOP wave in 1994, and has become more and more out of touch with the voters in his home state. His actions this past year have only cemented his uselessness. Luckily, Democrats have an amazing candidate to replace the sell-out GOP lackey: Meet Mikie Sherrill, a former Navy pilot and federal prosecutor who devoted her career to preventing crime in local communities and helping prisoners successfully re-enter society.
A mother of four school-aged children, Sherill left the federal prosecutor’s office in 2016 to work on criminal justice reform. That’s an even more important issue now that Jeff Sessions is ramping up an already lost war on marijuana and the prison industrial complex is flourishing under Trump.
Freylinghausen is a travesty, and has totally forgotten his constituents in New Jersey, opting instead to buy into the GOP’s racist kleptocracy. Sherill, a pro-choice champion with real experience in foreign policy, would be a major — and much needed — change for the district.
Local Candidates: Restore a Stolen Democracy in North Carolina
New North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued 14 vetoes in his first year in office… and 10 of those vetoes were overridden by the gerrymander-powered GOP supermajority in the State House. If that doesn’t sound like a functioning democracy to you, well, you’re not alone: A 2016 study by Harvard’s Electoral Integrity Project ruled that North Carolina, thanks to gross redistricting and other ballot access issues, can no longer be considered a full democracy.
The disgraceful state of affairs began in 2010, after Republicans took the state legislature for the first time since Reconstruction. That big victory was part of a GOP wave, and as in many states, newly elected Republicans didn’t just focus on installing new policy — they began work to undo fair representative democracy. The redistricted maps they drew up and used in 2012 and 2014 to get a supermajority were ultimately ruled illegal. And though the Supreme Court stopped special elections in 2017, the state will likely be forced to re-draw its districts based on recommendations from non-partisan experts.
The tussle over the exact district borders is still playing out in court, but the fact is that the best way to guarantee true democracy over the long term is fighting at the ballot box, winning elections, and drawing up fair and representative districts that won’t be subject to judicial decisions.
To that end, Cooper has launched the Break the Majority project, which is raising money to help local candidates and Democratic parties run competitive races across the state. With real backing and infrastructure, Democrats have a better chance of inspiring great new candidates (like DD Adams, a Progressives Everywhere pick!) and contesting every election. And as we saw in Virginia this fall, that makes all the difference.