Home Education Exhibit A: Why Local School Board Elections Really Matter!

Exhibit A: Why Local School Board Elections Really Matter!

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If you’re a regular Blue Virginia reader, or if you are at all interested in the Fairfax County public schools, then you undoubtedly know all about our old pal Elizabeth Schultz, a far-right, anti-LGBT member of the Fairfax County School Board. Other than being a huge fan of Donald Trump (shocker, eh?), Schultz’s big claim to fame is her vehement opposition to protections for transgender students, and specifically the recent guidance from the Obama administration that directed “schools across the nation to provide transgender students with access to suitable facilities — including bathrooms and locker rooms — that match their chosen gender identity.” Apparently, Schultz has even become the go-to guest for WMAL’s right-wing radio morning hour o’anger, with Schultz now appearing at least twice this month (I say at least, because it’s possible I missed more appearances than the two I’m aware of).

Anyway, this morning’s show (see audio below) was pretty much the usual anti-transgender hysteria, including the claim that boys could now sleep in the same hotel rooms as girls on school teams’ overnight trips. Of course, as usual, the point of all this is not for any boy or any girl to say they want to go into whatever locker room or sleep in whatever hotel room they want. The point of all this, and let me say this VERRRRY slowly for people like Schultz, is for the handful of real transgender students to be treated with respect, dignity, and in accordance with their gender identity. It’s really not that complicated.

But whatever, there’s no reasoning with bigots, ignoramuses and Trump supporters (but I repeat myself! LOL) and I’m not even going to try. The point of this post is simply to point out that this is a prime example of why School Board elections really matter. I was at the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s School Board caucus on Saturday, and the number of people of voted was beyond pathetic. We’re talking about only total 1,800 votes for the four candidates running, or an average of 450 votes per candidate. This, in a county of 130,000+ active voters, of which perhaps 70% or so are Democrats. So…of the total number of active Democrats in Arlington, only 1,800 out of 80,000-90,000 actually showed up to vote for School Board this past Thursday and Saturday. Fortunately, the results were fine, with two excellent candidates (Nancy Van Doren and Tannia Talento) winning easily, but still…seriously???

So back to Fairfax and the question of how an extremist and bigot like Schultz can possibly end up on the School Board in that “blue” county. First off, the Springfield magisterial district one of the redder parts of Fairfax County, no doubt about it. Still, though, check out how Barack Obama did in 2012 in that district (hint: he won that district by 2,000 votes) and how Terry McAuliffe did in 2013 (he won Springfield by around 1,800 votes; Northam and Herring won the district as well).

So…bottom line, this district IS winnable for Democrats, if and when they actually show up to vote. Of course, if Democrats don’t even run anyone in off-year elections, such as was the case with Schultz the last time around in 2015. Obviously, you can’t beat something with nothing, and you also can’t beat a Republican if Democrats don’t show up. Go figure.