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As the Political Action Commission said in its document “Building Labor/People’s Electoral Power,” the upcoming 2010 elections are very important. Working people and the core forces need to be involved. Our pre-convention discussion, convention and activities through November will benefit from understanding the elections.
Each year we say that that particular year’s elections are important. The truth is all elections are important. Congress is a main arena where politics take place in our country. Imagine how much easier it would have been to get a good health care program, jobs bill, etc, if the representatives who are heavily financed by Wall Street, insurance companies, big pharmaceuticals, etc were not in office or just a small minority!
Many people blame the President for the failure to get better legislation passed, but that is a simplistic way to look at it. While the President is certainly a player in the political arena, he cannot get good legislation into law unless it first passes Congress. So, who is elected to Congress makes a big difference on what kind of legislation gets passed. That means that we have to be part of coalitions with core forces at the center that work on electoral campaigns for candidates who will further the interests of working people and thus change the composition of Congress.
This year, we have another important consideration when we are working on elections – upcoming redistricting of Congressional Districts. Every ten years the federal government is required to conduct a census of the population that will be used to determine the number of representatives each state gets. State legislatures will redraw Congressional districts according to the results of the census.
Redistricting is a particularly important issue here in Texas. You may remember a few years ago when then Congressman Tom DeLay, managed to get enough votes in the state legislature to force redistricting even though there was no new census data. As result of that redistricting four out of five incumbent Democrats lost to right-wing Republicans and the remaining Democrat is constantly facing a right-wing backlash.
Texans have been already working on the elections for some time – basically since the 2008 election. The representatives to the Texas legislature that will be elected in November 2010 are the ones that will redraw the congressional districts. It is estimated that Texas will get several new districts as a result of the census.
Texans are focusing on state district races where it is essential to keep an incumbent and some new districts to get a Democratic majority in the state legislature.
To sum up, the 2010 elections are very important nationally and locally. If we want to pass good jobs bills, the Employee Free Choice Act and other progressive legislation, we need to change the composition of Congress. If we want to further change the composition of Congress, then we must also make sure that the new congressional districts are redrawn in a way that represents working peoples’ interests. If we want to make sure that we get better representatives in the federal and state governments, we must make sure to fill out our census forms and encourage working people to also fill them out.