Celebrate or Take Heart

Contributed by Amara Willey. 

It has been clear from the outset that we are playing a long game in the realm of healthy democracy. With the current president in the news every day with new and distasteful messages, it may be difficult to maintain optimism about our Republic and the fail-safes the founding fathers created to protect it. If nothing else, however, the last two years have motivated people to become more politically active and involved in the process, which is vital to the functioning of a healthy democracy in the first place.

NJ-7 Congressional candidate, Tom Malinowski, reassures us that we aren’t in the realm of dictatorship despite current worries about where the country is going. Malinowski came to the United States from Communist Poland when he was 6 years old and had the “human rights beat” in the State Department under President Obama. From that perspective, he said that even as a young boy, this country felt completely different from Poland.

At a recent coffee, Malinowski shared what he saw as the likely outcome if Democrats take the House and Republicans keep the Senate. As the majority party in the House, Democrats would have the opportunity to:

  • Set the policy agenda for the House,
  • Negotiate with Senate Republicans to get bills passed, and
  • Work to pass laws already approved by the Senate that the Speaker of the House has been keeping off the floor.

If the president chooses not to sign or to veto legislation passed by Congress, that will send a clear message to voters, Malinowski says.

Despite many complaints about the electoral college, our country’s emphasis on states’ rights can actually help us through the next decade. The good news for checks and balances is the number of gubernatorial races that are likely to go Blue. Having Democratic governors sets the stage for the Election in 2020, not just as an indicator of backlash and in terms of testing messages that sway voters, but also as a force to drive policy agendas at the state level. When a national election is close, state government can have an impact on the outcome.

Taking a longer view, state officials will begin the process of redistricting once the census is completed in 2020. This will set the stage through 2030 for fair voting. If state-level Democrats do well in this election and in 2020, much of the GOP gerrymandering that happened ten years ago can be reversed.

We’ve been working for two long years towards a saner government, and we hope the outcome of this election demonstrates that. We aren’t done, however. Whatever happens on Nov. 6, we can take a couple of days to celebrate or mourn, however we like, and then we need to get back out there doing what we’ve been doing for the last two years.

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