In light of last week’s election results, there has been speculation about what the shift in Philadelphia’s suburbs from Republican to Democratic control means for the Presidential race next year. Although this is an interesting question, it completely misses the importance of next year’s General Assembly contests.
Whichever party controls the General Assembly after the 2020 elections will, in large part, decide how Pennsylvania’s Congressional districts are redrawn after the census. One group which is keeping a close eye on control of state legislatures is the far left. The effort to flip state General Assemblies is being led by Eric Holder, President Obama’s Attorney General.
Exhibit A in this instance, is the results of the Virginia legislative races that took place last week. A Wall Street Journal opinion article, paywall protected, summed up the results:
“Democrats on Tuesday won total control of Virginia’s government, adding both chambers of the General Assembly to the governor’s mansion. They will redraw Virginia’s legislative district lines after next year’s census. The Old Dominion was already moving left, though the redistricting power likely cements Democratic dominance over Virginia for the next 10 years.
“This was Mr. Holder’s plan. While most prominent Democrats spent the months following Donald Trump’s election plotting future runs, Mr. Holder was launching the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, committed to domination of electoral mapmaking through the courts and legislatures. The NDRC spent its first years aggressively litigating legislative maps it didn’t like, to great success. Virginia’s election was the first test of the electoral piece of Mr. Holder’s strategy, and it will now serve as the model by which Democrats attempt to gain redistricting power in 11 other key states next year…
“The NDRC announced in August its support, to the tune of $250,000, for 17 Democrats running in state legislative elections. The more important contribution was to concentrate the liberal mind on the redistricting project…Democratic groups threw at least $54 million at Virginia—an unprecedented sum in an election that didn’t feature a single federal office—outspending Republicans by some $12 million. Outside groups accounted for at least $22 million of the Democratic effort, nearly four times what they spent in 2015.” (Emphasis added)
As noted by the author of the article, Pennsylvania was a victim of the first round of Holder’s effort in 2018. It’s not an accident that national groups, including organized labor, spent historic sums to add activist judges to the PA Supreme Court. Those judges were all too willing to exceed their constitutional authority and redraw our congressional districts themselves.
Supporters of free-market and conservative policies have to wake-up to the importance of state-level races. If capitalists don’t put their money where their mouth is going into 2020, then they will be left wandering in the wilderness for the next decade.