Former President Barack Obama and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder have planned — and are leading — a massive counter-offensive to give the progressive left faction of the Democratic Party control of key state legislative bodies and state supreme courts in time for congressional redistricting after the 2020 census. If they are successful, Democrats could well control the U.S. House of Representatives for the decade of the 20s and have in place a progressive left farm team from which to draw leftist national leaders for many years beyond.
Presently, Republicans control 67 of our nation’s 99 state legislative bodies. This is near an all-time high for Republicans who have been steadily gaining majorities in every election cycle since 2010. It is the result of smart candidate recruitment, messaging better ideas for education and growing jobs and businesses, strong state leadership and a national plan and organization led by the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC).
But this could change quickly.
In recent election cycles, Republicans, Democrats and their allies have been spending roughly at parity on state legislative and judicial races across the country. The Obama-Holder led effort is on pace to exponentially outraise and outspend Republicans this November and again in 2020. Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee alone already has raised its goal from $30 million to $40 million in new funds this cycle. Their targets are legislative and judicial races in about a dozen key battleground states including Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Nevada, North Carolina and Florida. Among the groups spawned to help this scheme, Forward Majority announced it would spend $100 million to spend on targeted legislative races in the same key states in the 2018 and 2020 election cycles. The Center for Popular Democracy Action announced it will raise and spend an additional $80 million mobilizing progressives and will target six state legislatures. Additional funding will continue to come from unions, trial lawyers, Planned Parenthood, George Soros, Tom Steyer and others.
At the same time those supporting the Obama-Holder led counter-offensive are working to suppress political donations by corporations and their executives to Republican causes and candidates. The Soros funded Center for Political Accountability’s Hicklin Index is used by progressive left activists to paralyze and silence pro-business interests. The group works closely with the Coalition for Accountability in Political Spending (CAPS) which aims “to direct corporate America to change its ways,” promising to “inflict economic damage on offending companies.” CAPS partners with activists and unions to submit proxy resolutions at shareholder meetings, not in hopes of passing a resolution, but rather getting the attention of the C-Suite and silencing a company’s efforts in public discourse and political participation. The fear alone of becoming a CAPS target is reducing contributions to pro-business political organizations and boosting corporate giving to Democratic and “Social Justice” causes working against free enterprise and even the existence of shareholder owned corporations.
Last week Publix, Florida’s leading grocer, suspended making political contributions in the face of store “die-ins” organized by anti-gun activists to protest Publix’s support of a Republican candidate for Governor because of his views in the gun debate. The success of such intimidation will encourage more of the same not just concerning guns, but on any controversial topic arising in campaigns. The issue is corporate free speech. The organizers of the Obama-Holder led counter-offensive know that the more companies and their executives decide to quit making political contributions for fear of possible customer or shareholder disapproval, the less money will be available to Republicans to counter their massive spending plans.
If the Obama-Holder effort is successful in rolling back Republican legislative majorities, there is more to be lost than control of redistricting. States with GOP governors and legislative majorities have demonstrated how to grow jobs, spur innovation and provide children with a better education by reducing taxes and regulatory burdens, enacting litigation reform and right to work laws, restoring solvency to government pension plans, and putting in place school choice, charter schools and school accountability standards. Contrast Republican led states with New York, Connecticut, California and Illinois where progressive left Democrats have driven up taxes, appeased unions and trial lawyers, thrown money at bad schools and lost jobs as businesses relocate elsewhere. Never have the differences between the two parties been greater or easier to see than in the states. The choice is between states governed by those focused on opportunity, economic growth and choice and those using a socialist lens to redistribute wealth and beholden to government unions and trial lawyers.
In the category of “you can’t make this stuff up,” recently four Pennsylvania state House candidates backed by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) won Democratic primaries. As reported by the HuffPost, Arielle Cohen, co-chair of Pittsburg DSA stated, “We won on popular demands that were deemed impossible. We won on health care for all; we won on free education.” And she added, “We’re turning the state the right shade of red tonight.”
The Obama-Holder progressive left counter-offensive is real. Unless Republican and business leaders wake up and take action to confront it with a plan, leadership and adequate resources it could succeed and end the America of individual liberty and free enterprise upon which this nation was founded.
Bill McCollum, is the chairman of the Republican State Leadership Committee and former Florida congressman and attorney general.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.