By now, you’ve likely heard the news: Republicans have achieved a legislative supermajority in North Carolina. This was not gained through elections or the will of the people. Instead the return to a dangerous supermajority is thanks to Democratic Rep.Tricia Cotham of Charlotte joining the Republican party this past Wednesday.
The last time North Carolina had a Republican supermajority is was devastating for poor and working people– not to mention the state’s economy. We know this feels terrifying. It is terrifying. But hear us out.
There’s no way to sugarcoat it: This is a blow for working class and poor people and all the hard work we have done. In 2018, it was Down Home members who helped break the disastrous supermajorities that had given one party total control over North Carolina’s laws. And just last fall, it was Down Home members who mobilized voters in Cabarrus County to prevent the return of the supermajority by just one seat.
It is true that we now must prepare for a full on assault. Attacks on our public schools, trans and queer communities, civil rights, healthcare, and voting rights will only ramp up. Up until Wednesday, we knew we could prevent the most destructive and hateful bills from passing in North Carolina because we had done the legwork last fall. But now with the supermajority back all the shit they level at us could actually become law. On Wednesday alone, six new bills targeting trans children were filed right after the news broke about Cotham’s party switch.
While we will fight back against all this, we also know that there will be real and painful consequences for our members and for our loved ones. But through this, we can choose to keep our eyes on the prize. We must gather up our people, holler at our cousins, round up our neighbors and stay focused. We will defeat Mark Robinson, the dangerous extremist who will lead the Republican gubernatorial ticket, and we will smash the supermajorities that hold us hostage. We can either let them tear us up, or we can be the people who will forge this path.
The good news is we aren’t starting from scratch. Since 2017, Down Home has been building powerful local chapters that are overflowing with seasoned, focused members who are working to build and grow our power every day. We’re fresh off the heels of our enormous Medicaid expansion victory only two weeks ago, so we already know we can win things we need even when our opposition is in charge. We have, against all odds, defeated them before when we were much smaller and less rigorous and we keep winning wins they say couldn’t be won.
So, that’s how we do it and we’ll just have to do it again.
We know the next year and a half is going to be hard and even dangerous for people we love. We know that hateful, divisive and destructive policy is going to be pushed through. We know that Mark Robinson has been waiting for this moment and will feverishly lead the charge. But we also know that most of us… the vast majority… do not want a North Carolina that looks like this.
Our work– together– is to bring the people who want something different a vision of something better. You are going to see hateful bills passed and regressive policies introduced, but remember this: We have a tenacious network of rural working people who are hard at work DAILY ensuring that their cruelty comes with a cost.
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