If Republicans take over governorships in those states, it will mean much more than signing right-wing laws coming from the legislature. This means that supporters of the “Big Lie” of the MAGA will control the levers of running the actual elections and assigning electors to the electoral college. The venue would be ready for a new uprising, with supporters of Donald Trump refusing to acknowledge or confirm the actual winners of the election, and Trump will reappear in office, whether or not he wins.
The first test for advanced people is next week in Virginia, which is more than just a bell for political addicts. The governor’s contest on the horizon is a glowing signal light that warns of the dangers ahead and the possible consequences for our democracy. At its core, Virginia is more purple than blue. It is a country that fully emphasizes the political divide between urban and rural and shows how the organizational and communication strategies of conservatives mix gaining fear for profit and mobilization. From protests over critical race theory and mask powers to the removal of Confederate symbols, the machine of outrage gives impetus to their campaigns by keeping the base angry, engaged, and triggered.
Traditional criteria of political activity, such as how much one side spends on the media compared to the other, do not capture the influence of messages and organization on the right. While these online and organizational strategies encourage conservative enthusiasm, they also repress Democratic voters who are tired of the clashes and personal attacks pouring out of the political world into their personal space.
MAGA organizers are also more engaged and motivated in other key battlefield countries that Republicans want to control. After all, Joe Biden beat Virginia by 10 points, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam won in 2017 by 9 points, and in 2019, a progressive majority was elected to the legislature; many on the right thought the country was unreachable a year ago, but now it is quite within their reach.
Meanwhile, since January 6, laws on voter repression and electoral subversion in key GOP-controlled countries have methodically made it difficult for poor and minority voters to participate in elections. They also falsified judges by allowing a partisan takeover of the electoral administration to make it easier for Trump or a Trump-like candidate to be placed in the White House, no matter what the actual votes say. In the four states of Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Arizona, this set has now been imposed against majority rule, so even more states could follow suit without obstructing the Democratic governor’s letter.
Donors need to be active and engaged now. We need investments that go early in the countries to have the time to build the infrastructure needed to win. We must avoid duplicating existing efforts, while ensuring that we fund and listen to field groups that know how to organize in their communities. We need to tell the stories of real people and how their lives are affected by the progressive agenda on all platforms.
Progressives have a habit of waiting to invest in countries until the end of the election cycle, which is almost always a bad strategy game, like trying to win a baseball game in the last two substitutions. We know that the five battlefields that are essential to ensuring democracy have been central to Biden’s victory in 2020 – and will be again in 2024.
While the Conservatives have mastered the art of division, progressives need to take the mantle of positive leadership – and activate early before losing control of the state houses that will be crucial to the presidential election. This is deeper than basic communication; there is not enough strong advertising of a political campaign in the world to turn the tide. It takes the right organization of work, in-depth listening, and a commitment to using the voices of everyday Americans to tell their stories and prove that working together can solve problems together.