In 2016, I had to wake up for a 7 a.m flight to Orlando, Fla. I had barely slept two hours the night before. My mom shuffled into my room, nudged my shoulder and proceeded to drop The New York Times on my bedside table. “TRUMP TRIUMPHS.”
The ride to the airport was quiet. While I was checking out at an airport kiosk, the cashier said, “Have a good day. We all need each other right now.”
That day, I immediately began writing a letter to Hillary. I wanted to write something that encompassed the sadness I felt that she didn’t win. More than anything, I wanted to thank her. She did not wait a single day to reaffirm her deep faith in all that is good about America — and her fierce belief that the promise of this country is a promise to everyone.
That afternoon, while strolling through the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, I passed a young woman wearing a Hillary 2016 shirt. I shot her a faint smile, she nodded, and said: “This fight’s not over.” She’s right; it’s not.
In 2018 young people voted in historic numbers, and because we voted and volunteered, we have the most diverse Congress in history. We took back the House, and now real people see themselves reflected in positions of power in government, significant policies have new champions and we’ve put a real check on the power of Trump and his administration.
A Democratic-controlled House is already making a real difference in our nation. But tackling the issues we face — from student debt to unaffordable housing to healthcare to immigration — requires regaining progressive power in all the legislative houses of our government.
In 2020, we can take back not only the White House, but also the Senate and the statehouses needed to control the drawing of fair maps in the 2021 redistricting, undoing some of the worst cases of Republican gerrymandering. If we do things right, we’ll not only beat Trump and the GOP; we’ll also set ourselves up for a decade of progressive wins. What does regaining progressive power in our government look like? And how do we get there?
Democrats will likely win the popular vote again. But to win the presidency, Democrats need to win in 6 presidential swing states — North Carolina, Arizona, Florida, Wisconson, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Currently, there’s a 53-47 Republican majority in the Senate. We need to flip 4 Republican seats and maintain all Democratic seats. If there’s a Democratic VP, we really only need 3 to advance a progressive agenda. Seats in North Carolina, Maine, Arizona and Colorado look winnable.
In 2010, the GOP elected governors and state legislators who redrew district maps to unfairly favor Republicans. If we can flip state houses in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, and Ohio, we can get fair maps after the 2020 census that actually represent the electorate, and we’ll see more progressive wins.
Last cycle, Swing Left pointed you towards your closest swing district as the most effective place to focus your volunteer time and donations. You might be familiar with swing states. But the 2020 cycle is giving us something new and exciting: what we’re calling the “super states.” By focusing on them, we can maximize the impact of our efforts, working on many or all of these critical contests at the same time.
In presidential elections, over 90 percent of registered voters vote, so we have to register new voters in the super states. Guess where a bunch of new voters are? *Whispers* — “colleges.”
Young people have an extraordinary opportunity to reach new voters and make a difference this election. I believe this is how we’ll take back our country, begin to heal from the Trump administration, and begin to progress again. Convinced? Want to learn more? Visit swingleft.org/fellowship to learn how to get involved at Wake Forest.