There is going to be a special election next year and that is a big deal. Many observers have pointed out that it may not necessarily be a boon for Democrats across the state. The Republican legislature will have the opportunity to draw even better maps for themselves and may attempt to draw out rising stars and double-bunk current legislators.
It will probably be a few months before we know exactly what the new lines will look like. Until then, we don’t know if any new opportunities for Democratic wins will arise in the legislature. But we do know for certain that municipalities across NC will be holding elections next year and we know what those lines look like.
As we’re thinking about the political landscape next year and pondering strategy, we shouldn’t forget the City Councils. National and State elections are critical, but our prospects there in the short term aren’t great. Thanks to Trump and a Republican legislature, we can’t expect to see progress coming from the National Government any time soon. Even though Cooper appears to have won, Republicans still have a large majority in the legislature and are still in charge of drawing the lines. We should fight, but progress is going to be hard to come by in State Government.
City Councils may be our best bet to enact progressive change in North Carolina. And — maybe — the special election could help drive up Democratic turnout and improve our chances in local races.
I’m not saying we should view the legislative races with any less importance. But if we push progressive candidates at the municipal level we may be able to promote good policy from the ground up, empower strong voices for change across the state and build the bench for later years.