Yesterday, North Carolina House Democrats announced nine candidates vying for legislative seats. They called it Blue Monday and rolled out profiles of the six women and three men who announced their candidacies. Members of legislature promoted them on twitter.
The announcements highlights the recruiting efforts of the Democratic House Caucus. They also reflect trends occurring across the country. In Texas, yesterday was the filing deadline and Democrats are vying for all 36 Congressional seats, 14 of 15 state Senate seats and 133 of 150 state house seats. A chart at Vox shows the stunning discrepancy between the number of Democrats filing for Congress versus the number of Republicans. As of June, 209 Democratic challengers had filed who raised more than $5,000. Only 29 Republicans challengers reached that goal. At this point in the 2009 cycle, in advance of the 2010 wave, Republicans were pacing Democrats 78 to 40 on those measures.
The clambering to file is the most tangible indication of the enthusiasm gap that benefits Democrats. People are stepping up to challenge Republicans up and down the ballot. In low turnout years like 2018, a full slate of candidates helps attract supporters to the polls.
If you’re a Democrat with political aspirations, 2018 would be a good year to act on them. All signs indicate a big year shaping up. While the election is still eleven months away, the political environment is bad for Republicans and good for Democrats. The president and his approval ratings will have a significant influence on the election and Trump is more unpopular than any president in modern history at this point in his presidency. Since his election, the number of people who identify as Republican has plummeted. In generic ballots for Congress, Democrats now have a double-digit lead, much higher than it was for Republicans before the 2010 wave.
On the issues that will shape the election cycle, Republicans also fall short. Their tax plan will play large. If they pass it, it will be their single accomplishment, despite controlling all branches of government. Unfortunately, the bill delivers little to the middle class voters who will determine the election. The bill adds $1 trillion to the national debt, leaving the party looking like hypocrites in light of eight years of complaining about the rising debt and deficit. The tax cuts that do reach the middle class aren’t enough to change people’s spending habits while those that go to the wealthy give the rich enough to buy new cars or even houses.
Democrats should run. They have a real chance to take back Congress and legislatures across the country. The odds are shaping up to favor Democrats and waves can wash people into office even in seemly non-competitive districts. Take a chance. Throw your hat in the ring and make a difference.