Now, with fixed links!
Unlike quite a few blogs, I’ve never done a fundraiser. That may change, someday, but, for the moment, my day job keeps Merlin & Nimue in Fancy Feast, the garden in mulch, and me in warm socks, good books, pretty yarn, and vodka. But if you have read and enjoyed this blog, I would now like to ask you to do something that means very much to me.
(If you like, you can skip my pitch and go here to make at least 5 phone calls.)
Virginia has an election coming up on Nov. 7th, , just 12 days from now. Our Commonwealth elects a new governor each term and, this time, we’re also electing a new (hopefully African American) Lieutenant Governor (who often runs for governor the next time, so, if elected and, if he runs and wins next time, Mr. Fairfax would be VA’s second African American governor) and are hoping to re-elect our very good Attorney General.*
Virginia is an interesting state. The majority of our population votes Democratic; we went twice for Barack Obama and, last time, for Hilary Clinton. Our current Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General are Democrats. But, as is the case for the nation overall and for a number of other states, our Dem voters are clustered in a few urban areas and our Repub voters are spread thin over a larger geographic area. That means that, while Democrats tend to win (but not always; we all remember Grifter McDonnell of the Rolodex watches and The Cooch, who longed to control women’s vaginas and to tell us to shut up) state-wide and national races, Republicans still possess a thin majority of seats in Virginia’s State Legislature. As a result, Virginia has consistently refused to expand Medicaid, literally sending our tax dollars back to DC, just so Republicans can cut off their noses to spite our faces. Our Democratic Governor has spent an inordinate amount of his time and political capital vetoing bills that would take away reproductive choices from women, control what bathrooms people use, and impose similarly Xian insanities. (He has also been a signing machine, returning voting rights to thousands of Virginia’s primarily African American convicts.)
This year, for a change, in addition to great candidates at the State-wide level, Virginia Democrats are showing up and contesting a lot of state legislature & other local seats that have, for years, gone uncontested. In other words, for many years, there were a number of Virginia legislative districts where the only person running was a Republican. The only message voters heard was the Republican message. The only face they saw was a Republican face. There was no Democratic candidate. There were no debates (at least none after the Republican primary). There was no real choice for voters and, as a result, Democrats got in the habit of sitting out these “midterm” elections. We just ceded those seats to the Republicans. They didn’t have to spend any money. They didn’t have to appeal to a more moderate group of voters; they could focus on riling up their base — the more extreme the better. They hardly had to try.
But, now, in a surge of post-Trump energy, VA Democrats are contesting many, many more seats. We’re running African American, women, millennial, and transgendered candidates. We’re getting national attention focused on these races. Both President Obama and VP Joe Biden have been showing up in the Commonwealth and endorsing candidates. Will all of these new candidates win? Unlikely. But some will and some will go on to contest state and national seats. And even when these candidates lose, Republicans are having to spend money they never had to spend before. They’re having to either show up for debates or deal with the fact that they’re ducking them. They’re having to calculate just how close to get to Trump and how to two-step away from him. They’re having to appeal to voters in the middle, rather than just their Tea Party/deplorable/racist base.
And, Virginia is considered a bellwether for the 2018 elections. A strong Democratic showing here will hurt Trump and the Republicans. It will convince Republicans in other states that maybe slavishly voting for Trump’s agenda isn’t the best idea. It will convince Democrats in other states to contest previously-uncontested seats.
Or, it will be a disaster. If Democrats do poorly, it will embolden Trump, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, etc. It will depress turnout for the 2018 election, It will strengthen the hand of those Democrats who never liked the idea of a 50-state strategy to start with. It will tell Republicans in office that their best bet for re-election is to hew to Trump and not to move towards the majority on issues ranging from reproductive freedom, to taxes, to immigration, to the environment, to . . . . It will severely harm attempts to undo unfair gerrymandering.
And, so, here we come to the “ask.” I am asking you to do at least 1 of 2 things. First, if you know anyone in Virginia, please call them and convince them to vote Democratic on Nov. 7th. They can go here to find their polling place. Second, can you please sign up and make at least 5 phone calls to Virginia voters? You can do this from your home in any state. Once you sign up, they’ll give you the words to say and will send you a list of voters who are already Democrats so that all that you’ll be doing is reminding Democratic voters to turn out on the right day at the right place. I know this pushes some of us (/raises my INTJ hand) a bit out of our comfort levels, but what have you got to lose? They don’t know you and, even if you get a “bad” call, you can just say, “Thanks, have a blessed day,” hang up, and move on. Also, fair disclosure, I’ve been phone banking, @mrswhatsit9 has come over from DC to canvass, The Green Man has been rallying the troops.
If you tell me in comments that you’ve done at least 1 of these 2 things, I’ll do a 1 card tarot reading for you or will burn incense for you on Samhain, your choice.
As my brave and brilliant friend, Occult Librarian, notes, democracy isn’t supposed to be easy. Appolon and Athena love it because it causes humans to grow, to stretch, to mature. Benjamin Franklin is reputed to have said that the founders gave us a “Republic, if you can keep it.” We are, right now, living in liminal times that call for us to grow, stretch, mature, live up to Franklin’s challenge.
We’re Witches. We can do this.
*Some of these state elections come down to the wire. Wikipedia notes that our Dem AG, Mark Herring, won by only a few votes:
[Originally, Republican] Obenshain held a 1,200 vote lead over Herring. Vote totals fluctuated as ballots were canvassed in the following days, and the race remained too close to call. On November 12, 2013, with all ballots counted, Herring held a 165-vote lead, or less than 0.01%, and Obenshain requested a recount. Herring’s total increased during the recount, so Obenshain conceded the election on December 18, 2013, and later that day, the recount ended with Herring winning by 907 votes, or 0.04%.
Herring went on, as his first act, to support same-sex marriage, and he has moved to protect women’s reproductive freedoms, to protect Virginians from unscrupulous title lenders, and to advance sensible gun regulations.
Unlike presidential elections, in these local elections, every single vote is vitally important. If your call makes the difference, you’ll have tipped the nation in the right direction.