by Matt Carpenter
February 3, 2021
With Democrat control in both chambers of Congress and the White House, our country is bracing for a full-on radical leftist offensive in our federal government. Religious freedom and protections for the unborn and the family will come under assault by an unchecked liberal order in our nation’s capital—for at least the next two years, that is, until the midterm elections in 2022 when Americans can choose new members of Congress to weaken this liberal government.
There is no doubt our federal government will certainly implement new policies, rescind previous policies, and fund projects antithetical to the values we hold dear. Despite this, we must remember we can moderate this radicalism in our federal government by voting for candidates at the state and local level that affirm our biblical values. Every vote matters.
When the federal government goes off the rails and embraces radical leftism, as it did in 2008 after the election of Barack Obama and the reelection of a Democrat Congress, it is the states that wind up being a bulwark against the total top-to-bottom saturation of leftist policy in American life. Even the left-wing website Vox, noticing the sharp increase in pro-life laws at the state-level, had to admit as much in 2015, writing:
Abortion rights activists have long cheered Barack Obama’s presidency as a “historic victory for women’s health.” But the reality has been rather different. Since 2010, getting an abortion in America has become significantly harder.
States passed a record 205 abortion restrictions between 2011 and 2013, more than the entire 30 years prior. As a result, many abortion providers are closing down. One survey, from pro-life group Operation Rescue, estimates that 87 separate locations ceased to perform surgical abortions in 2013. These changes are a clear result of pro-life mobilization in the Obama era.
You’ve no doubt heard of Isaac Newton’s “Third Law of Motion”: “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When pro-abortion, anti-religious freedom, and anti-family forces assume control of our federal government, there is a necessary reaction. In electoral terms, this means states with pro-life, pro-family, pro-faith majorities and governors can and will act—as we saw following the 2010 midterms. Your vote matters. Up and down the ticket, you have an opportunity to elect candidates who will either harm or advance biblical values at the federal or state level.
In state legislatures, every vote really matters. Sometimes, just a handful of votes can separate the winner and loser. Just ask Virginia Delegate David Yancey, a Republican, who in 2019 won a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates by having his name pulled out of a ceramic bowl. His opponent had originally “won” with one vote, but after a three-judge panel weighed in, the race became a tie—which, in Virginia law, triggers pulling a candidate’s name out of a bowl. Yancey’s name was pulled out of the bowl, and the GOP retained a slim 51-49 control of the state house.
According to Ballotpedia, in the most recent 2020 elections, there were 30 state legislative seats determined by 100 votes or less—of which, 15 went to the incumbent, 13 to the GOP candidate, and just two to the Democrat candidate. These candidates will impact policy in the short term, and potentially, could go on to higher office at the state or federal level. Winning state legislative seats now is imperative for winning federal (or statewide) seats in the future.
In 2018, Ballotpedia noted that 88 state legislative seats were determined by 0.5 percent or less of the vote. Values voters should be aware of who represents them not just in the White House and in Congress, but also at the state level. If you live in a district where a candidate who opposes your values represents you in your state capitol, and that candidate was one of the 88 who won by 0.5 percent or less in 2018, your vote could be determinative of whether or not they return to the state capitol to harm the values you hold dear.
If you are feeling discouraged by the results of the presidential contest and the two Georgia run-off elections, you should remain optimistic that state legislatures provide a real opportunity to temper the extremism of our national government. Your vote matters, up and down the ballot. While Congress and the White House may pose challenges to our biblical values in the short term, we can be optimistic that state legislatures will provide a necessary opposition to the complete metastasizing of leftism immediately and provide a bench of possible alternative members of Congress for the future.