Friday, December 30, 2016

Where do we go from here?

America is currently in the worst political position we have ever found ourselves in. The current President-elect is not supported by the majority of Americans before he even sets foot in the White House, which hasn't happened for the past three Presidencies. This could help us succeed if he moves forward to destroy our civil rights policies and our economy, which is what he as talked about doing since he started his campaign.

My biggest concern for next month is that there are currently 107 vacancies in our Federal Court System.

  • 1 Supreme Court justice
  • 2 on the Court of International Trade
  • 3 on the DC circuit court (the most prestigious of all the Appellatte Courts, the source of more Supreme Court nominees than any other court)
  • 6 on the Court of Federal Claims
  • 95 from district courts across the country.
When Donald Trump appoints people to fill these vacancies, you can be sure they will not be moderate and be less willing to approve civil rights legislation. They are going to stay on these courts until they hit retirement age (with the exception of the Supreme Court), so you can expect that they will be younger judges in their 40s which will give him a guaranteed 20 years of influence when he enters the Presidency. No other President in history has walked into so many court appointments. This is due to Congress refusing to give Obama any appointees for over a year, and the American People did not punish them for violating the Constitution. In my own district court for the Western District of Washington, Obama was supposed to have three appointtees which were denied from him by Congress. We are going to have a 100% conservative court here in one of the most liberal parts of the country. This concerns me as much as the elimination of civil rights laws in this country, gerrymandering, and the terrible economic proposals by Trump, because these court appointments are going to make it much more difficult to get progressive policy passed after he leaves office.

The gerrymandering which currently exists is going to continue to be a massive barrier to getting progress done. Most of the gerrymandering has been done in states which do not have initiative laws. We can definitely make progress in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Washington, on eliminating gerrymandering and implementing ranked voting at the state level. In Illinois, we could implement ranked voting as a constitutional amendment via the initiative process. Implementing ranked voting in these states and putting in laws which eliminate gerrymandering, such as single-split line method, multiple members per district, eliminate voter discrimination, and of course Ranked Voting will make it much harder for Republicans to steal future elections. The states which are the mosdt important to get these passed in are Michigan, Ohio, and Florida given how their elections have been stolen through gerrymandering and voter discrimination will be a significant barrier against Trump getting a second term and eliminate a lot of his support in Congress. Making those legislatures competitive as well will be an important step forward in ensuring democracy lasts in our country. If we get just a few more states we will be on track to matching the progress we made with gay marriage a few years ago and protect our country from more foreign electoral attacks.

This is the first and easiest thing we can do in order to get back our freedoms and improve America for the future.

State governments are vital to getting influence on the national stage. The Democratic Party needs to work hard on locating and raising strong liberal leaders across the country who are ready to be strong leaders of our country at the state and local level. Huffington Post ran an article which listed every Governor from most to least liberal. We should work on replacing the most conservative governors in the country, in Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Nebraska. These are not swing states, but if we put forward more centrist candidates from these states who will give them better government we could turn the country around quickly. Indiana and Wisconsin are swing states, so it could be possible to flip them. Kansas is bleeding economically and we could put a strong Democrat in office. If these are highly qualified governors who will focus on building strong economies and reducing corruption in these states the Republican Party could be weakened potentially. Social policies can be worked on at the federal level and work on more significant progress in states where citizens already support American values. We have easy gubernatorial pickups in Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Florida in the next cycle. We already picked up North Carolina and if everything goes as I expect, we could make North Carolina a solid blue state in 2020 which will be vital in defeating Trump.

2017 we will pick up New Jersey for a total of 17 governorships
2018 we will pick up 14 governorships in Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Vermont, and Wisconsin for a total or 31 governorships and a majority.
2019 we might be able to pick up Kentucky (economy willing) and will need to retain Louisiana for 32 governorships.

Finally, state legislatures are extremely important for being able to test out policy and train strong leaders for Congress. There is a lot of work to be done here, which is where fighting gerrymandering and making elections fair is going to make the biggest impact, even more than getting a Congress which represents all Americans. There are a lot of state legislatures Democrats should have control of. Democrats only control 12 state governorships right now. Here are the legislatures we can gain:

  1. Washington, a majority of both houses are held by Democrats, but a power sharing agreement prevents Democratic control.
  2. Wisconsin
  3. Michigan
  4. Ohio
  5. Pennsylvania
  6. Virginia
  7. North Carolina
  8. Florida
  9. Colorado
  10. New Mexico
  11. Minnesota
  12. Iowa
  13. New York
  14. Maine
  15. New Hampshire
This will give Democrats 27 state legislatures for a majority. This can be done by 2018. If we succeed in making elections fair it will be easy to give Americans the government we want.

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