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The important 2020 elections not talked about: state legislatures

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The most important election of 2020 arguably isn’t for the White House — it’s the battle for control of America’s state legislatures.

Historically overlooked by national Democrats, local legislatures have been under Republican control in a majority of states since 2010 (a majority they expanded on in 2014). Republicans now have total control of 30 state legislatures — both the House and Senate — compared to just 18 by Democrats. Just two states, Minnesota and Alaska, have split chambers.

This has massive consequences for national politics: In many states, state legislatures draw new US congressional maps every 10 years after the Census. The 2010 elections resulted in severely gerrymandered maps in states like North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin, where Republicans have hung onto outsized congressional majorities even as their states have gotten more purple.

A recent Supreme Court ruling said federal courts can’t rule on partisan gerrymandering maps, handing more power to state courts and legislatures. And with the 2020 election coming up, Republicans have the chance to solidify those lopsided majorities — as long as they can hang onto power in the states to keep drawing the maps.

“The state legislatures are probably just as important as the presidency,” Harvard professor and political scientist Theda Skocpol told me. “In a lot of ways, they’re the whole ballgame.”

Skocpol describes the 2020 stakes in stark terms: With gerrymandering, politicians have the ability to pick their voters rather than the other way around. Democrats in Maryland are also guilty of gerrymandering, but by and large, Republicans have been the biggest practitioners of the practice — demonstrating they aren’t much interested in majority rule.

“It’s kind of late in the game, it’s the fourth quarter. The Democrats are behind by two touchdowns, and they have biased referees on the sidelines,” Skocpol said. “They have to win the game anyway. 2020 and 2022 are the most important elections in American history in my opinion, probably right up there with 1860.”

1860, in case you need to Google it, is when Abraham Lincoln was elected. It also set the stage for the American Civil War.

Amanda Litman, a co-founder of progressive recruitment organization Run for Something, described the stakes another way.

“If we don’t win these state legislatures, it doesn’t matter who the fuck the president is,” Litman said. “That’s the end of functioning government in Washington.”

Democrats have historically ignored state legislatures to their peril

Democrats largely agree that for years, Republicans have far outgunned them with organizing and fundraising when it comes to state legislative races. In the past, Democrats have been much more focused on winning the presidency and Congress.

The big wake-up call came in 2016. The party had been feeling confident Hillary Clinton would win the White House; instead they were dealt a devastating blow with Donald Trump’s election the presidency, alongside solid Republican majorities in the US House and Senate. Facing two more years out of power, Democrats were forced to confront what they were doing wrong.

The answer was complicated, but one glaring oversight was a lack of consistent investment in smaller state races. In pursuit of the White House and Congress, Democrats had neglected to build up a bench in the states. Republicans, on the other hand, recognized that real power lies in state legislatures — both to make policy and to preserve their electoral power. (The Republican State Leadership Committee didn’t comment for this story.)

“Conservatives have been better investing in these organizations continuously,” said Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, a political scientist and professor at Columbia University. “As soon as [Democrats] gained power in Washington and the presidency, the attention shifted back there. Conservatives have been much savvier at enacting policies that either boost their electoral chances or diminish the power on the left.”

The consequences for policy have also been dire: Republican legislatures across the country have gone after public sector unions with right-to-work laws, and passed a raft of strict anti-abortion laws (the most strict was a recent Alabama law essentially banning abortion).

Democrats don’t want to make the same mistake again.

“In ‘15 and ‘16 I think people really started to wake up,” said Jessica Post, executive director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. “I think Democrats at large started to review our strategy.”

They have a very limited window to fight back; the next year and a half is crucial.

Democrats’ map to take back state legislatures

The Democratic Party and DLCC flipped eight state chambers in 2018 and broke Republican supermajorities in three other states. Post says they’re planning to expand on that in 2020, with a targeted list of 12 states:

  • Arizona: Democrats are two seats away from taking majorities in both the state House and Senate.
  • Florida: Democrats are 14 seats away from a majority in the state House.
  • Georgia: Democrats are 28 seats away from taking a majority in the state House, but they’re hoping to gain seats in 2020.
  • Iowa: Democrats are four seats away from a majority in the Iowa state House.
  • Kansas: Democrats are trying to break Republican supermajorities in both chambers; Democrat Laura Kelly won the governor’s seat in 2018.
  • Michigan: Democrats broke a Republican supermajority in the state Senate in 2018 and are four seats away from flipping the chamber.
  • Minnesota: Democrats are two seats away from a majority in the state Senate. They won control of the state House in 2018.
  • North Carolina: Democrats are six seats away from taking control of the state House.
  • Pennsylvania: Democrats broke a Republican supermajority in the state Senate in 2018. They gained 11 states in the state House in 2018, but are still 17 seats away from a majority.
  • Texas: Democrats are nine seats away from a majority in the Texas state House.
  • Virginia: Democrats are two seats away from a majority in the state House of Delegates, and elections are coming up in 2019.
  • Wisconsin: Democrats are three seats away from a majority in the Wisconsin state Senate.

There are two big things that could make a difference for Democrats in 2020: increased fundraising and galvanized progressive groups. 2018 showed the blue wave was real, and Democrats need to build on that to do well in 2020.

The DLCC is already planning to match its Republican counterpart the RSLC in fundraising: they’re planning to match the RSLC’s $50 million fundraising goal. That’s a significant increase from the $35 million the DLCC spent in 2018. They’ve also increased staff and resources exponentially from past years — but in 2020, they’ll be joined by a lot of other progressive groups spending money focused on flipping state legislatures.

Liberal groups are energized, and focusing on local races

Luckily for the Democratic Party, the shock of Trump’s election caused voters to organize in a way the party hadn’t seen in years. National grassroots group Indivisible established member chapters across the US, and many other groups popped up to help recruit and train candidates for local races. That organizing was crucial to help Democrats take back the US House in 2018, but it was also key in state elections.

These groups are the Democratic Party’s last best hope to salvage state legislatures going into 2020, according to Harvard professor Skocpol.

“It’s very important what happens, and a lot of the answer is going to lie in whether these citizens groups that have popped up since 2016 … whether they keep the energy going to run for office,” she said.

Some outside groups focused specifically on state legislatures are targeted on a smaller number of states and districts that will matter especially for redistricting in 2021. Liberal Super PAC Forward Majority is focused on a number of districts in Texas, North Carolina, and Florida — three states that are consequential to the US House map.

“We’ve become laser focused on a strategic set of races that we determine if we succeed in winning in 2020, we can essentially put an end to Republican gerrymandering in America,” said Forward Majority spokesperson Ben Wexler-Waite. “A lot of it depends on whether or not we become so consumed by the presidential that we let what has happened the last few years happen again.”

In 2018, Forward Majority spent $2.2 million in Texas alone — their largest investment in any state that year. They’re planning to invest heavily there in 2020 as well.

“It’s totally possible we could flip the Texas state house,” Wexler-Waite said. “If we actually start to compete we have a shot.”

Groups like Run for Something, Sister District, Emerge America, and Emily’s List are forming a large network to recruit, train, and give new local and state candidates resources to compete and win.

“Our long-term 20-year goal is to build permanent candidate recruitment infrastructure in all 50 states,” Litman said. “I think we are at a turning point. This isn’t a fad, this is an on ramp.”

“It’s the everything stakes,” Post said. “American democracy is on the line in 2020.”

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16 Striking Photos That Can Touch Your Heart

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Photos keep our memories safe and every time we look at them we can immerse ourselves in the moments that have been captured in them. They can also help us to understand what’s really important in this world. And it doesn’t matter whether these photos are from your personal album or belong to somebody else. Their messages, feelings, and emotions can be perceived in one glance.

Here at Bright Side, we believe that the following photos will really touch your heart.

This couple has battled leukemia for 15 years since they were children. Now they’re husband and wife.

This fireman gave a cat that got hurt in a fire mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and saved it.

“My dad, who has dementia, trying to remember my name”

His owner passed away but the dog continues to sit near his bed and wait.

This is what depression looks like over 24 hours.

Have you ever seen a blind dog enjoying the sounds of a lake?

An Iranian girl cheers for her favorite football team from behind the fence since Iranian women aren’t allowed into stadiums.

“My mom painted dementia.”

When all you have is memories:

The 3 social classes in The Philippines in one photo

“My buddy, a glass blowing artist, used my dad’s ashes to make a keepsake marble I can take with me anywhere.”

“She gave me the best 11 years of her life and I can only hope that I was able to do the same thing for her.”

“A year ago, my little sister left this world. This weekend her heart recipient met my mom and shared her heart beat.”

“The moment your dog comes out of the fire you thought he died in”

“3 months ago we were told our newborn was blind. 2 weeks ago we found out the doctors were wrong. Today, she got her glasses.”

“I’m just so proud of you!”

Today my daughter graduated from pre-K. After the ceremony, my son walked up to her and gave her a hug. “I’m just so proud of you,” he said. Then, of course, my daughter started crying. As we wiped away our tears, my husband asked her, “Pumpkin, why are you crying?” She responded, “I’m just so happy.”

Each photo has its own story. Which of them touched you the most?

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Komünist Başkan, Aldığı Kararla Sosyal Medyada Trend Topic Oldu

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Mehmet Fatih Maçoğlu’nun belediye başkanı olduğu Tunceli Belediyesi Meclisi, ‘Tunceli’ yazan belediye tabelasının ‘Dersim’ olarak değiştirilmesine karar verdi. Bu karar sonrası Maçoğlu, sosyal medyada Trend Topic oldu.

Tunceli Belediye Başkanı TKP’li Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu başkanlığında belediye meclis üyeleri toplantısında alınan kararla Tunceli Belediyesi tabelasının ‘Dersim Belediyesi’ olarak değiştirilmesi kararı alındı. Karar tartışma yaratırken ‘DersimdeğilTunceli’ etiketi sosyal medyada Trend Topic oldu.

BELEDİYEDEN AÇIKLAMA YAPILDI

Belediyeden yapılan açıklamada Dersim ibaresiyle birlikte Zazaca ve Türkçe beleriye hizmetleri verileceği duyuruldu. Açıklamada şöyle denildi: “Kentimizin kültürü, tarihi ve inanç biçimini yaşatmak adına belediyemiz hizmet binasında bulunan tabelada yazılı ‘Tunceli’ ibaresinin değiştirilerek yerine ‘Dersim’ ibaresinin yazılması oy çokluğuyla kabul edildi. Haber

https://www.haberler.com/komunist-baskan-aldigi-kararla-sosyal-medyada-12077127-haberi/

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15 Random People Who Look So Much Like Celebrities, You May Want to Take a Photo With Them

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It’s not an easy goal to meet a real celebrity in our everyday life. Sometimes they are too busy with their activities or simply prefer to avoid public places. But when you see one right in front of you, don’t be too quick to jump over the moon and ask for a photo. Try to check their IDs first, because we are ready to show you that there are too many ordinary people who look just like stars and who probably wouldn’t miss a chance to pose and giggle afterward.

We at Bright Side compared photos of celebrities to their clones to demonstrate that this isn’t a joke. IDs first, photos after.

15. Kylie Jenner and Kristen Hancher, but which is which?

14. “My dad actually does Jack Nicholson lookalike work in Hollywood as a hobby.”

13. Breaking news! It seems Kim Kardashian has cloned herself.

12. “This fella lives in my house. I think James Franco and he follow each other on Instagram.”

11. “My sister always gets asked if she’s Julia Stiles.”

10. Nope, those aren’t just 2 pictures of Steve Buscemi!

9. Here’s chance for those who are upset that Michael Fassbender is married.

8. We’re just interested to see if Meghan Trainor’s double has the same talents.

7. We know this is pretty unexpected for Taylor Lautner, but we can’t unsee it.

6. This girl claims that she gets compared to Katy Perry daily.

5. When Chuck Norris is on vacation.

4. “Never mind, I’ll find someone like Adele.”

3. If Cobie Smulders doesn’t want to shoot How I Met Your Mother 10, there’s a perfect replacement out there.

2. Wait, so you’re saying that isn’t Zooey Deschanel on the right?

1. Even Zach Galifianakis and Jonah Hill can see this resemblance.

Do you have any friends who look exactly like movie stars? Show us their photos!

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