No Matter Who Is In Office...
More than anything, yesterday’s election showed us the power of the people: Across the country, where State Legislatures have failed, democracy won on the ballot.
Thanks to massive grassroots organizing and support, several states passed anti-corruption and pro-democracy measures. Colorado and Michigan passed ballot initiatives to establish Independent Redistricting Commissions to end gerrymandering. In Missouri, voters overwhelmingly passed an amendment which not only creates a non-partisan redistricting process but also limits campaign contributions and lobbying expenses. North Dakota passed a similar measure that restricts lobbyist gift-giving, tightens campaign-finance laws and increases transparency.
Pennsylvania’s current congressional map
Last night's elections also showed us the difference between gerrymandered districts and fair districts in PA. Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the GOP’s 2011-map as unconstitutionally gerrymandered, replacing it with newly drawn congressional districts. These un-gerrymandered congressional districts yielded nine Democratic winners and nine Republican winners (unlike our previous 13-5 split, despite an 800,000 person Democratic voter registration advantage in Pennsylvania).
However, at the state level, only 16 out of 228 legislative districts up for election yesterday switched party hands, because our state districts are still seriously gerrymandered.
There is much work that needs to be done -
Our gerrymandered state legislative maps held firm, with only a few seats turning over in our State Legislature. Corrupt and well funded candidates (like Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, Speaker Mike Turzai, and Gov. Tom Wolf) were able to maintain their power, and ballot access issues kept too many voters from voting.
To everyone who knocked doors, made phone calls, and otherwise campaigned for local politicians that you believe in, thank you for participating in democracy! AND the work is not over. While electing honest anti-corruption, pro-democracy candidates is important, we must focus on changing not just candidates, but our entire political system.
We need to make bribery illegal, voting more accessible, and our elections more fair. As always, we have the same goals: end corruption and voter suppression and take democracy where it's never been - no matter who is in office.