By Carl Carter, APR
Folks in Alabama have always been suckers for a good con. And right now, we’re falling for the biggest scam yet — one that will keep Democrats locked out in the cold until at least 2030.
All eyes are on President Trump, when the really important game is right under our noses. I’m talking about the 2018 state elections. All 105 members of the Alabama House of Representatives, and all 35 members of the Senate, are up for election. We have less than 11 months before the primaries in that election, and hardly anybody seems to care.
Forget 2016. It’s the 2010 elections we need to reverse.
Going into that election season, Democrats owned the Alabama Senate 20-15. But the Republicans had a plan, and they targeted Democratic incumbents. They flipped the Senate by beating seven Democrats.
It was even worse in the House. Democrats went into the 2010 elections with a 60-43 edge over Republicans. But 14 of the 15 incumbents defeated were Democrats, leaving the Republicans with a 66-39 advantage.
Throw in the newly elected Republican governor, and they were clear to go about their real objective — redrawing the districts to pack all the Democratic-leaning voters into as few districts as possible, making it easier to elect Republicans.
Alabama’s GOP takeover was part of a nationwide plan, and the result is that we now have a U.S. House of Representatives controlled by Paul Ryan.
I actually have to salute the brilliance of the Republican plan and its execution. The Republicans looked at the demographic changes occurring in our country and realized that they were outnumbered. Their only chance to get — and stay — in power was to keep Democrats from voting (through voter suppression laws) and to dilute Democrat votes through gerrymandering.
And the path to that was through the state houses. They succeeded, and we’re down to our only chance to reverse that. The winners in 2018 will draw the districts. But I can hardly find a Democrat who seems to care. Everybody wants to be out demonstrating and organizing town hall meetings for members of Congress, but when you try to talk about Alabama Senate District 11 or House District 50, you get a blank stare.
If we fail, the gerrymandering will remain in place for another decade, with nothing to protect us but the federal court system. Do I need to remind you who owns the U.S. Supreme Court?
We can win back the state House and Senate. But the clock is ticking, and a few people — too few — are working to recruit and fund candidates. If we stay focused on Washington instead of Montgomery, we’ll be in worse shape than we are in now. And we’ll stay that way for a long time.