10 Reasons to be Excited for 2020

8 mins read
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
  1. Democrats are likely to pick up two House seats in North Carolina in 2020 with newly drawn district maps. The maps aren’t as fairly drawn as Democrats had hoped, but they’re an improvement on the maps that were in place in 2012-2018, and there is still a chance for further improvement when redistricting happens before 2022.
  2. Around 4 million Americans turn 18 each year, so there will be somewhere around 16 million new young eligible voters since the 2016 election. Trump’s approval rating is very low among the 18-34 set. And while youth turnout has been low historically, there are signs it’s trending up: “Among 18- to 29-year-olds, voter turnout went from 20 percent in 2014 to 36 percent in 2018, the largest percentage point increase for any age group — a 79 percent jump.”
  3. For the first time, 14% of American voters list climate change as their number one priority, a jump from 2-6% before the 2016 election. And groups like Environmental Voter Project are working on strategies for ensuring these voters vote in 2020.

The poll compared survey responses to public voter file records and found that infrequent voters are more likely than frequent ones to assign a higher importance to climate and the environment.

That suggests environment advocates could benefit from getting more climate-minded voters to the polls with some easy fixes, such as awareness campaigns for early and absentee voting. A quarter of infrequent voters were not aware they could vote early, and 29% weren’t aware they could vote absentee. Voting by mail could also increase environment voter turnout.

Emily Holden in The Guardian
  1. It’s become increasingly clear to Democrats that winning the White House in 2020 isn’t enough. To make real change, Democrats must flip the Senate. At the moment, Republicans hold a 53-47 advantage in the Senate, allowing Mitch McConnell to kill any legislation he doesn’t want to bring for a vote. It won’t be easy, with 20 of the GOP incumbents in states Trump won, but the math is certainly better for Democrats in 2020 than it was in 2018: “Republicans must defend 23 seats to the Democrats’ 12,” and Democrats have really strong candidates running in flippable races, like Mark Kelly in Arizona and John Hickenlooper (among many others) in Colorado.
  1. Talk to any Texas activist, and they’ll tell you that Texas isn’t a red state, it’s a non-voting state. We saw in 2018 with how close Beto came to winning a Senate seat that the dream of flipping Texas blue could become a reality very soon. US House Republicans are retiring in droves in Texas (a Texodus) that could flip some House seats blue in 2020, but the real story in Texas is the state legislature, where Democrats need to flip just 9 seats to flip the state house, giving them an important voice in redistricting after the 2020 census. Most of the seats Democrats hope to flip are districts that Beto won, and Beto’s has turned his 2020 attention to flipping the state legislature. A blue Texas may be within reach. And Democrats can flip the first of the nine seats in a special election on January 28, with the fantastic Dr. Eliz Markowitz.
  2. Speaking of state legislatures, they matter, and Democrats are finally prioritizing their importance. During the Obama presidency, Democrats suffered catastrophic losses in state legislatures. As of January 2017, Democrats had lost 12 governorships and 958 seats in state legislatures.  Democrats righted the ship and started to win back some of those seats in elections 2017-2019, but Republicans still control 61 out of 98 state legislative chambers, with 1 chamber sharing power. But the DLCC is working hard to fix that, and from their fundraising numbers it’s clear that Democrats see state legislatures as a major priority again. DemCast will be focusing a lot of our efforts on these important races.
  3. In 2020 we may finally see the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), passed by the US House in 1971 and the US Senate in 1972 and sent to the states for ratification in 1972. In 2018, Illinois became the 37th of 38 necessary states to ratify the ERA. The 2019 flip of the Virginia state legislature sets up a Virginia vote on ratification in 2020. That may not be enough to ensure the amendment is enacted, since both the original deadline and the extended deadline have passed, and several states have voted to rescind their ratification. Since all of this is uncharted territory, expect a Supreme Court battle to come.

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Text of the Equal Rights Amendment
  1. In 2020, a number of convicted felons will once again be able to vote, as more states are pursuing re-enfranchisement. Three days after taking office, new Kentucky governor Andy Beshear “restored the right to vote to more than 140,000 people who had served their sentences for nonviolent offenses.” On December 18, New Jersey governor signed a bill “to restore voting rights to more than 80,000 residents who are on probation or parole.” This past July, an estimated 77,000 Nevadans had their right to vote reinstated with a new law that automatically grants voting rights to released prisoners, regardless of crime. There’s still a long way to go in the fight for re-enfranchisement, but regardless of how they vote, it’s exciting that more and more states are allowing for a path to reinstatement of voting rights.
  2. On January 18, 2020, women are taking to the streets again in a massive Women’s March. There will once again be a huge DC march, with sister marches already planned all over the country (and beyond). For a lot of us (including me), the 2017 march was our first real taste of political activism and launched us on a path we’re still following today. A bit of controversy led to three of the original board members stepping down, but a diverse new board is in place and ready to go. I’ll be marching in Chicago; where will you be?
  1. We’ve registered our outrage with the Trump administration in any number of ways over the past three years, but in 2020 we have the chance to show, definitively, at the ballot box that we the people demand a Democrat in the White House. We have a long, likely fraught, Democratic primary to get through first, but once we have nominated a candidate we will all come together with one voice to support that candidate, not just with our votes, but with our time and energy. I don’t know about you, but I am EXCITED for November 3, 2020.

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

Born on the 4th of July, Kelly has always been a firecracker, leading a revolution of girls sitting at the boys’ lunch table in 2nd grade and founding Young Independents in high school. Since earning her Masters, Kelly has spent the past 15 years as a university administrator. In the fall of 2017, Kelly co-created the Two Broads Talking Politics Podcast with her friend Sophy. As producer and co-host, Kelly quickly built the podcast into a nationally recognized interview show, featuring Democratic candidates, activists, and authors around the country. She lives in Chicago with her husband & two sons.

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