At The Nation, Joan Walsh writes—The 7,383-Seat Strategy: Taking inspiration from Virginia, Democrats are finally running to win in the states. But will the party make room for a different kind of candidate?

[…] as we head into the first national elections since Trump’s inauguration, Democrats are talking less about “the Trump effect” than they are about “the Virginia effect”—the unprecedented surge of women, minority, and millennial candidates running for seats in their state legislatures, many in deep-red districts long written off by the Democratic Party establishment. These candidates have been buoyed by a raft of outside and resistance groups, including Indivisible, Emily’s List, Run for Something, Forward Majority, Sister District, and BlackPAC, among many others. But party leaders have also taken note of this wave and are finally beginning to invest meaningfully and systematically in local candidates.

It’s about time. The Democratic Party is in a deep, deep hole at the state level. Since 2009, it has lost a net 968 seats in statehouses across the country, giving Republicans control of the legislature in 32 states, 25 of which are also led by a Republican governor. This imbalance has had devastating and widespread repercussions. It’s allowed Republicans to further gerrymander districts, consolidating their lock on state legislatures and the US House of Representatives. The creation of these safe, polarized districts has in turn brought to power a new breed of far-right lawmaker—people like Representatives Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin, Blake Farenthold of Texas, and Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows of North Carolina.

Meanwhile, states where Republicans enjoy trifecta control—of the governorship and both houses of the legislature—have been turned into laboratories for extreme right-wing policies: regressive tax cuts, harsh voter-suppression laws, punitive labor restrictions, anti-LGBTQ legislation, and cruel health policies, especially on the issue of abortion. And, perhaps less studied, the loss of so many statehouse seats has dampened Democratic energy, shrinking the pipeline of potential candidates while also contributing to losses further up the ballot. Elections have consequences.

Arguably, this up-ballot effect extends all the way to the presidency itself. Since 2010, Republicans have had a stranglehold on state legislatures in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, even though all three states have reliably voted Democratic in presidential elections since 1992. That is, until 2016. […]

Nationwide, there are 7,383 state legislative seats, and 6,066 of them, in 87 out of 99 chambers, will be on the ballot this November. Democrats aren’t quite running a 7,383-seat (or a 6,066-seat) strategy—at least not yet. But after years of frustration and neglect, it’s no longer impossible to imagine the day when the party contests every single statehouse seat in every state in the Union.

Party insiders, activists, resistance groups, and candidates—from Maine to Minnesota, from Arizona to Georgia, and all the GOP-dominated states in between—are gearing up for an unprecedented number of races in 2018. In dozens of states, Democratic leaders are vying to bring about “the next Virginia,” in the words of North Carolina Representative Graig Meyer, who is part of a recruitment effort that has enlisted a Democratic challenger for every Republican incumbent in both houses of the state’s General Assembly for the first time in recent memory.

In 2014, by contrast, 34 GOP incumbents in the State House of Representatives and 12 in the Senate went unopposed. Ohio Democrats have likewise recruited a challenger in every legislative district in the state. And in Pennsylvania, the number of Democrats who have filed to run for the State House and Senate outnumber Republicans 56 percent to 44; most of the Republicans are incumbents. […]

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BLAST FROM THE PAST

On this date at Daily Kos in 2010—Strategy Memo: putting a silver lining on GOP obstructionism:

As debate on the reconciliation “fix” bill winds down and Senate Democrats have been unifying around a strategy of defeating all amendments (including a public option amendment, which is why we won’t see it offered) so that the bill remains intact, I’ve been wondering whether that strategy could or should change if a Republican amendment were somehow adopted despite the plan.

The adoption of any amendment anywhere along the line would make the question of whether or not the reconciliation bill would have to go back to the House moot. Any change would send the bill back to the House. So if the bill were amended at any point, it would basically be costless to attempt to send the bill back to the House with a public option attached.

But it now occurs to me that the points of order the Republicans are threatening might not be handled until the end of debate on the bill and any amendments, so it may well be the case that Democrats are able to prevail against all amendments and keep the bill intact until that point, and only after the opportunity for amendments to be offered had expired would any of the changes that points of order could force actually be made. So it could be that supporters of the public option in the Senate would feel constrained from offering it until it was too late. The “costless” opportunity to add it by amendment might arise only after amendment time had come and gone.

But if the bill does have to be amended due to Republican points of order, that just creates an opportunity for public option supporters in the House. Yes, the path of least resistance at that point would be for the House to concur in the Senate’s changes and pass the reconciliation bill without further amendment. But if the House is going to have to take another vote on the bill, it might as well extract some price for it.

Monday through Friday you can catch the Kagro in the Morning Show 9 AM ET by dropping in here, or you can download the Stitcher app (found in the app stores or at Stitcher.com), and find a live stream there, by searching for “Netroots Radio.”

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