Change is coming.
No wonder President Trump worked hard to narrow the U.S. census, which in particular may have resulted in an undercounting of Latinx voters. Republicans found they were catching up in some places – but not as much as they'd hoped. Texas and Florida won seats, Democratic states lost – but the effects are still difficult to see. Unfortunately, there is a "woe to me" reaction from too many Democratic believers that the poorly conducted census will lead to a disaster for Democrats.
However, what if it opens up opportunities that we haven't seen before? Many of these states are facing major demographic change. CNN notes that here:
This latter shift in particular poses an existential long-term threat to Republican control over the Sun Belt states, where they have had the upper hand for years: Colored children now make up a clear majority of the under-18s in Arizona, Texas, and Georgia Florida, and nearly half the Carolinas, according to analysis by William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program. Alone in Texas local experts appreciate that around 200,000 Latino citizens will be 18 years old and will therefore be eligible to vote every year until at least 2028
And 200,000 potential new voters are a great potential opportunity for democratic campaigns. The bigger problem for Republicans is that the next generation of voters is coming.
Frey's calculations of the change are strong: since 2010, Georgia has lost approximately 90,000 white children and added 103,000 colored children; Arizona lost nearly 47,000 white children and added more than 58,000 colored children. North Carolina lost 76,000 of the former and added over 95,000 of the latter. Even fast-growing Texas has about 16,000 fewer white children today than in 2010; Around 550,000 colored children were added during the same period.
Georgia voted for Joe Biden by 16 votes in 2020. Ohio chose Trump at 18. Democratic efforts will spend more time holding and building states like Georgia that are undergoing population shifts, and that scares Republicans. We have a lot of time ahead of a presidential election, however, but what if – and what if we could focus on gaining control of local ward, town and county offices?
It is important, very important, that we pass HR1, the most rigorous voting law in decades that allows people to vote in our elections without ridiculous hurdles. The legislation is popular with Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. What if, until the HR1 came into existence, democratic efforts focused for the moment on using locally elected officials who could lay the groundwork for future elections?
Many states hold their municipal, county, and district elections in odd years. States like Virginia and New Jersey hold their state elections in odd years. What if Democratic voters and candidates focused on local races where they have the opportunity to have a serious impact on the way elections are conducted? From the National Association of Counties:
Elections in the United States are conducted in a highly decentralized process, with each state formulating its own electoral law. This in turn shapes the role of the districts in the months and weeks before election day. In the United States, The country's 3,069 counties traditionally administer and fund elections at the local level, including monitoring polling stations and coordinating election workers for federal, state and local elections. County electoral officials work diligently with federal, state and other local electoral officials to ensure the security of our electoral systems. County electoral officials endeavor to conduct elections in a way that is accurate, safe and accessible to all voters.
These smaller elections traditionally have a low turnout. I have seen elections over the past decade that were decided on:
A victory with one voice
A tie that was resolved by a coin toss
An election where preliminary ballots changed the outcome
These offices have a real impact on our daily lives. They also affect our voting rights. The better our city is run, the friendlier and more open our communities are, and the higher the standard we have in the local offices, the more likely we are to get people to vote. Democratic work in electing county and town commissioners can determine polling stations, a task that can go a long way toward improving voting for everyone in the community. There is a huge difference between placing a voting facility on the police station and a schoolhouse, and yet small movements like this can affect who votes.
What if we took the time to make an effort now? Give me your thoughts below and I'll try to answer!