The Democratic Party has been decimated on a state level. Under Barack Obama, the party lost over 1,000 state and federal seats. Currently, Republicans control 56% of state legislative seats, with over 1,000 more than Democrats. Democrats only have the state legislature and governorship in a measly six states. The party is at its weakest since the 1920s.
This is what makes flippable so essential. Created by three former Ohio staffers for the Hillary Clinton campaign, flippable is an organization focused on turning state seats blue. The website’s homepage states: “Our mission is to turn America blue by building a movement to flip seats.”
Voter turnout in the United States is depressingly low. flippable found that only 17% of Americans know all of their state representatives. “Information about these races is hard to find, and busy people don’t have the time to sift through it,” reads the website. “We’ll tell you which races are most important, who’s running, and how you can support them.”
flippable won its first major victory came on February 25 with the Delaware 10th District Senate special election. This election was significant for two major reasons. The seat would determine the makeup of the Delaware state legislature. If Hansen won, it would give Democrats a trifecta in Delaware, giving the party a sixth state, compared with 25 Republican trifectas. It was also the first major post-Trump election, meaning that it would be seen as a test of the strength of the newly mobilized anti-Trump left. In what was supposed to be a coin-flip election, Hansen won with almost 60% of the vote. This surprisingly large margin was due not only to local volunteers, but also to passionate Democrats from around the country, who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Delaware Democrat. flippable in particular raised $130,000 for Hansen. Democrats also won seats in Alabama, Connecticut, Iowa, and Virginia since Trump’s entrance into the White House.
The mission continues primarily in two states: New Jersey and Virginia. These are the two states holding major elections in 2017. North Carolina was supposed to hold special elections this year due to unconstitutional racial gerrymandering by NC Republicans, but the United States Supreme Court granted a stay, meaning that it has not yet decided if it will take the case or not. flippable has a regularly updated list of “upcoming flippable elections.”
flippable also focuses on the GOP’s voter suppression techniques, such as gerrymandering, voter ID laws, and voter registration laws. This is yet another essential reason why Democrats must show up for the midterms. Redistricting occurs every 10 years, and the Republican landslide of 2010 allowed conservatives to degrade our democracy through partisan and racial gerrymandering. If Democrats win state legislatures, they will be able to district fairly in 2021. flippable, therefore, is not simply about putting the Democratic Party back in power, but restoring our democracy.
Jordan is a political writer, activist, cinephile, proud queer woman of color, and Mad Max: Fury Road fanatic. She’s cautiously optimistic about the future of humanity.