Holding Out For A Hero? Try Looking In Your Local Elections

by | Feb 27, 2018 | Candidates, Elections, Initiatives

Something interesting happened since last month’s post about Diedra Greenaway. Greenaway has pulled away from the national level race. Rather than challenging an incumbent for a US House of Representatives seat, she has decided to run for State Assembly. Greenaway is now running for California Assembly District 36.

A tough choice to step away from the national fight. To admit that a stronger foundation is needed before reaching for the heights. It’s not surprising that Greenaway is willing to forego a battle she’s not sure she can win. She comes from a military background, and the best generals know that it’s not about the individual battles as much as it’s about the war. Greenaway is playing the long game. And we can learn from her.

In the wake of the 2016 elections, we began our search for a new hero to lead the Left to victory at the White House. Two names came up again and again, Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey. Two amazing women whom we are fortunate to be able to call fellow Americans. Neither one of them wants to be President. They will continue to make the world a better place in their own ways. Meanwhile, the rest of us can be further reassured that so many are ready for African American women to lead.

A quick look at Black Women In Politics shows that there are plenty of future White House contenders out there in the political minor leagues. While we prepare to win back the White House in 2020, we can also build our foundation for 2024 and beyond, and prevent a replay of 2016. We can play the long game. We can Vote Locally.

Local politics matter. Local governments spend your tax dollars and educate your children. Local governments oversee the services that affect your day to day life. The roads you drive on, the police who patrol your neighborhood, the funding for your libraries. Oh, and state governments make laws about the very act of voting.

We not only improve our own communities when we vote locally, we also build up the next generation of leadership. Motivated by the 2016 election, women are running for office in never-before-seen numbers. Leading up to the 2016 election cycle, Emily’s List had received inquiries from 916 women who were interested in running. Going into the 2018 election, that number is over 30,000. Do we want this to fizzle out? Do we want these women to run in low-turnout elections, lose to well-funded incumbents, and then return to their day jobs? No. We want these women in office. These women, and all the new candidates regardless of gender, who are saying No to intolerance and fear. We want them in our city councils and state assemblies. On our school boards and as our mayors. This is the year to vote locally.

We may not see a woman President in the White House in 2020. But this is the year we start our long game. This is the year we make sure that the future woman President wins her city council election, her place in the State Assembly. This is where we begin by voting locally.

Jennifer Dodge is a white stay-at-home-mom who is tired of systemic racism.