By Scott Smith
We are in our infancy. Much like new born lambs, we are knobble-kneed and disoriented and ripe for the picking by the wolves that surround us. And don’t be mistaken, we are surrounded. We are surrounded by state legislators, governorships, Congresspeople, Senators, and a President-Elect that are as antithetical to our ideologies as the wolf is to the lamb.
Natural selection dictates those lambs that stay blurry-eyed and confused are the first to be picked off. Those quickest to action and quickest to learn will thrive.
This lamb wants to thrive.
So, let’s get started.
At the onset, we should understand the 2016 election isn’t over. There is still one precious Senate seat for the taking. A run-off election is underway in Louisiana for the final seat. Democrat Foster Campbell is in a heated race with ironically-named Republican John Kennedy. If Campbell can squeak out a win, that would bring the Senate to a 51-49 split between Republicans and Democrats, respectively (with the slight caveat that two of those are Independents who caucus with the Democrats). Here is a link to donate before the election on December 10th. A powerful minority in the Senate is nothing to laugh at.
There. One small step forward. But, let’s keep going.
The President-Elect is currently filling his cabinet with all sorts of wolves. All are important to pay attention to, but there are a few we should keep an extra close eye on. The first being the appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. While this is not the individual I would wish to be AG, it does leave a valuable Senate seat open. Under Alabama law, the governor would appoint an individual to position until a special election date can be confirmed. An Alabama Senate seat is not the most optimistic of prizes, it is something to hope for, fight for, and strive for. Also, pay close attention to the potential appointment of Bob Corker, Republican Senator from Tennessee, to a cabinet position. While under Tennessee law the governor, a Republican, would appoint an individual that would serve until 2018, this is still an opportunity. Don’t discount what the power of changing demographics in Tennessee and lack of a true incumbent with name recognition can do to a very valuable Senate seat. November 6th, 2018 is only 60,480,000 seconds away, we are running out of time.
But what if we want to make an impact closer to home? Well, there is good news: 2018 is tough sledding for Republican Gubernatorial races and state legislatures.
Are you a resident of Wisconsin, Michigan, or Ohio that is upset about the 2016 election? Take out that frustration on your Republican governors. Those states, and many others, have governorships up for reelection (or are term-limited out). Beyond that, most state houses are up for reelections in 2018. This is not only a prime example of how you can make your state better, but these races in 2018 have a particular importance this time around.
Why? Well, because of the sexiest topic that will be covered: the 2020 United States Census.
The official census that occurs every ten years is pivotal in the redistricting of US Congress seats. Gerrymandering will continue to be an issue for the Democrats until we win control at the state level. This is where the linkage between all of this comes into play. The vast majority of states will vote in 2022 to redistrict their congressional districts based on a majority vote of their state legislators, some requiring governor approval, others only majority vote. If we can impact the state houses and governorships in 2018, that sets us up to be in control when the redistricting comes into play.
In between all of this you can still be involved. Organize a women's empowerment group that can regularly meet to discuss important topics. Donate to groups that you believe in (here is the John Oliver list to get you started). Talk with your friends that differ with you politically, understand where they come from and how that fits in your view of the world. Subscribe to an actual newspaper that will work to inform you over the coming months. The actions you can take are innumerable.
Just remember that small actions compound to create great outcomes.
So, what do we do? Do we cry out in unison as we are corralled to the slaughterhouse, or do we shed our itchy wool confines to reveal that we are, in fact, the wolves?
Well, this lamb is going to fight. This lamb is going to recruit others because lambs are stronger together. This lamb stomps with the fervor of ten thousand hooves. This lamb is going to win.
This lamb is a wolf.