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This ball game may have just changed big-league, as Trump would say.

The referees in federal court threw the penalty flag on the Republican legislature for unconstitutional gerrymandering. This means loss of down, possible loss of possession and maybe a replay in just 12 months.

No doubt candidates and contributors, still exhausted from this year, aren’t excited about doing it all over again.

But the opportunity for Democrats is yuuuuge, as Trump would say.

The first thing they should do is challenge Republicans to establish an independent, nonpartisan redistricting commission. If the legislature refuses, that becomes the first issue in 2017.

Trump won by running against a corrupt, self-serving political establishment in Washington. Democrats can win by running against a corrupt, self-serving political establishment in Raleigh.

Case in point: Mike Morgan beat Bob Edmunds for the Supreme Court because of the TV ad that tagged Edmunds as the Gerrymandering Judge.

The more Pat McCrory and the Republicans resist the voters’ clear decision in the Governor’s race, the stronger that issue becomes for Democrats.

Speaking of arrogance: McCrory and the GOP act like it’s up to them to decide when the election is resolved. No, it’s not. The Board of Elections decides. Unless, as a TAPster suggested, McCrory goes full Nixon, fires the current board and appoints a new board with instructions to declare him the winner.

With Roy Cooper in the Governor’s Office, Democratic candidates will have a leader with real power.

Forget the veto, for now. Cooper will have the biggest microphone in the state. He can pick a fight with the legislature – and dictate the battlefield. Plus, he can raise money. He dramatically outraised McCrory. Imagine what he can do in 2017 with the power of incumbency.

Some Democrats worry about whether their voters will turn out in an off-year. Democrats need to give them a reason to turn out. And there are plenty of reasons.

So get rested. And get ready to rumble.

 

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