Alabama is, without a shadow of a doubt, a red state.
Our governor is Republican. Both federal senators are Republican. Only one of our seven representatives is a Democrat. The rest are – you guessed it – Republican.
At the state and local level, Republicans outnumber Democrats by a two-to-one margin. In some places, that margin is even worse. Only in a few pockets throughout the state are Democrats represented in any serious strength.
With such a massive disparity – with such a major imbalance of power – what does it matter if a Democrat, a liberal, or a left-leaning moderate registers to vote? Isn’t the gap between Republicans and Democrats in this state too great to overcome?
The answer is no.
Alabama may be a red state, but that doesn’t mean voting is futile. And that doesn’t mean the trend will always be tilted in favor of Republicans. Look at Virginia, for example. Virginia has been a red state for as long as Alabama has – until the 2000’s, that is. In 2000, Al Gore earned 44 percent of the vote. In 2004, the result was 45.5 percent for John Kerry. In 2008, the state did something it hadn’t accomplished since 1964 – it voted for a Democratic president with Barack Obama, giving him 52.63 percent of the vote. And in 2012, Obama won again.
Now, in Virginia, both senators are Democrats. Three of the 11 representatives are Democrats. And the trend is tilting even further toward blue – making Virginia a purple state through and through.
Democrats in Virginia didn’t change their state’s colors just by wishing it to be so. They didn’t break into the win column by magic. They registered to vote and then made their voices heard at the ballot box. Even in years in which they didn’t win, they still managed to do something great – help turn Virginia more and more blue with each election cycle.
That is the promise we have here in Alabama. Demographics are on our side. The state is getting younger and more diverse with each passing year. More potential Democrats are coming into their own in Alabama each decade. Soon, it’s not hard to imagine Alabama gaining more Democratic representation at the local level, and ultimately, the state and national level.
But that won’t happen unless people in this state register to vote. Not registering to vote because you think voting is pointless, or things are so tilted against Democrats as to make voting futile simply isn’t an excuse. Not today, not with the gains we’ve made and will make.
Register to vote. Your vote does matter, just like your rights matter, and your voice matters. Only if we all register to vote and then exercise our rights at the polls on Election Day can we help turn Alabama a little blue, one step at a time.