By now, everyone knows that Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate, won, by about 9%, his race to become Virginia’s next governor. That’s a pretty substantial margin in a state that is still a rather violet shade of blue. Northam won by huge margins among young people, voters of color, suburbanites, and city residents. He had incredibly long coat-tails, helping to sweep in Democratic candidates for Lieutenant Governor, AG, state delegates, county councils, etc.
Yet, even today, most pundits continue to refer to him as “lack luster,” a man who ran a poor campaign, someone who failed to excite voters, etc. This kind of nonsense is almost a trope when it comes to discussing Democratic candidates. Al Gore was “wooden,” and “pedantic.” Howard Dean was “out of control.” John Kerry “flip flopped” and “tried too hard.” Barack Obama was “arrogant” and “detached.” And, Hillary, well, as we all know, Hillary was “flawed.” For a while there, it seemed as if there were some unwritten rule that no one could mention anything about her — not her position on the minimum wage, not her preparation for the debates, not her saving a balloon for her granddaughter — without also calling her “flawed.” Of course, we know she was also “shrill,” and “too calculated,”as well as “not charismatic,” and, most recently, “joyless.” (She won more votes than anyone other than Obama in his first run but you still cannot mention her name without someone showing up and insisting that the problem was that the Democrats ran a terrible candidate that no one liked.)
It’s time for Democrats to stop parroting this silly notion that every Democratic candidate is somehow damaged goods and incapable of running a good campaign. And it’s time for us to push back when Republicans and the purportedly “liberal” media do it. This is especially true when Democrats win and/or win the popular vote. Let’s focus on what our winning candidates did right. Northam, for instance, had a superb ground game. I was phone banking over the weekend and talked to people who had gotten several calls and/or texts and a home visit. Northam did a good job making sure Virginians knew that he was a doctor and translating that into a focus on voters’ most important concern: health care. Clinton stayed on message despite some of the most unimaginable attacks ever and walked the almost impossible tightrope of being strong and attacking her opponent without being TOO strong — for a woman.
And we can begin by focusing on Doug Jones, the Democratic candidate for the Alabama Senate seat that Jeff Sessions abandoned. Jones, who is running against pedophile and noted homophobe Roy Moore, is facing election the middle of next month. We’re all going to talk about his strong history as a prosecutor (he is the one who finally brought to justice some of the KKK members who killed little girls in a church in Alabama), his friendly demeanor, his blue-collar roots, etc. You can go to his webpage and sign up to volunteer and or make a donation.
We’re Witches. We understand the power of framing, the energy behind the use of language, how to cast glamour. Let’s do this.