Why I’m Supporting Flippable

A Nonpartisan Case for Turning State Legislatures Blue

“We believe that we have checks and balances but have rarely faced a situation like the present: when the less popular of the two parties controls every lever of power at the federal level, as well as the majority of statehouses. The party that exercises such control proposes few policies that are popular with the society at large, and several that are generally unpopular — and thus must either fear democracy or weaken it.” — Timothy Snyder, “On Tyranny”, February 2017

To fight gerrymandering, I’ve donated $25K to support Flippable, an organization using a data-driven approach to funnel volunteer time and money to the most pivotal state elections around the country and flip state legislatures from red to blue.

Like many Americans, I first learned about civics in high school. In the less polarized 1990s, my mental model of our national politics was fairly simple. I imagined a level playing field on which two opposing forces competed to win hearts and minds: progressives, via the Democratic Party, pushed society toward change; conservatives, via the Republican Party, pushed society toward stability. Sometimes one party would win an election, sometimes the other, and through that back-and-forth, we’d achieve balance, harmony, and justice for all.

I’ve always been registered as an independent voter and firmly believe that no one group has a monopoly on good ideas. However, it’s clear that our political reality has drifted away from civics class ideals, and this drift is not bipartisan. Politicians routinely use disinformation, obstruction, and other unsavoriness to flout the will of their own constituents and cynically advance the party agenda. The GOP-controlled Congress is hugely unpopular, and the GOP President is historically unpopular. What’s more, it appears that Congress will not check the President’s power as designed. David Frum, former speechwriter for George W. Bush and Senior Editor for The Atlantic, explains:

In order to protect their legally vulnerable leader, Republicans in Congress must join the attack on norms & institutions. Otherwise, they put at risk party hopes for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to remake US government in ways not very popular with voters. American institutions are built to withstand an attack from the president alone. But they are not so well-built as to withstand an attack from a conscienceless president enabled by a hyper-partisan Congress.

How did we get here? A recent blog post, “How Republicans Rigged the Map,” explains what many believe to be a key culprit for this state of affairs: gerrymandering. Put simply, gerrymandering decreases voters’ power to bring about change. It tilts the playing field and widens the gap between people and the politicians elected to represent them. Fortunately, there are concrete steps we can take to fight it.

Today, I’m making a $25K donation to support Flippable, a nonprofit advocacy group working to bring an end to gerrymandering by surgically targeting state-level races and helping to flip state legislatures from red to blue. They’re a relatively new effort, but they’ve achieved some promising early results. If you’ve been looking for a practical way to make a difference — to restore a level playing field so that our national politics start living up to their ideals — consider lending Flippable your support.

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