At least in North Carolina, gerrymandering in an urban area means crazy-shaped districts, split precincts, and never knowing whether your neighbors are voting in the same election you do! But in a rural district it’s simpler. NC districts are controlled by Republican maps, so for rural Democrats elections are a predictable series of losses. And you may not even see many Democrats running for office at all.
So what can a patriotic and motivated Democrat do for their party? Let’s break it down. In a partisan district the dominant party wants two things, and we want the opposite of both:
To keep the district always safe for their own party
To keep the district safe for their incumbent
Goal number one – to keep the seat safe for the party in power – depends on winning the general election in November. Goal number two – to keep the seat safe for the incumbent – depends on winning the primary election in April or May. The primary election is the key to breaking the stranglehold of gerrymandering.
In some districts the incumbent will be unopposed in both their own primary and in the general election. But that’s not the end of the story. Lincoln Brigades is always talking with our allies in both parties, recruiting and encouraging candidates who will support fair districts to run in the primary. Everyone who signs up to our pages and mailing lists, donates to our groups, and shows up for our events helps! That lets us convince new candidates that our help will give them a real chance to win in their primary.
When a primary election does have a challenger for the incumbent, we vote for the challenger in that primary. If you can’t vote in the challenger’s primary (because you are registered DEM) then you can organize and get out the vote among all the “unaffiliated” voters who *can* vote in the primary.
The good news is that there are *plenty* of unaffiliated voters in every district in NC. Enough to swing every primary – if we let them know they have to power to do it!