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Only we Democrats can stop Trump, we must compete in “Red America” to do so.

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originally posted on Daily Kos by Donald Braden

SPINELESS REPUBLICANS MAKE US SICK

This weekend, reading through several posts, including front-pagers, here on Daily Kos a common theme popped up either in the pieces themselves or in the comments.

When are “fence-sitting” or “moderate” or “constitution-loving” Republicans going to step up and oppose Trump. I mean, the firing of Jim Comey should give them the impetus to move now, right? It really was a bit of a recurring theme.

The Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Republican cowards and enablers buckle but don’t act   opens thusly:

Max Boot/NY Times:

When Will Republicans Stand Up to Trump?

Kerry Eleveld raises the following question in his post View From the Left: Cover Up:

The question now is, will journalists’ newfound clarity help force some fence-sitting Republicans off their perch?

And because not everything is about Trump I want to call out Meteor Blades post that points to one of the many horrors all too common in “Red America,” poor treatment of labor and the trades Study shows Southern construction workers getting screwed on wages, benefits, safetyThe following comment thread on that post introduces the remaining topic of this diary rather well:

REPUBLICANS WILL NOT MOVE AGAINST TRUMP UNTIL WE MAKE THEM.

They will always seek to exploit labor as well. It is on us as a Democratic Party to change these things. The resistance we are engaged in is vital; we need to keep the pressure up. We must confront them in their town halls and their offices and the streets. It is great to see all of that activism at work. It is critical to show those at most risk from this retrograde agenda that they are not alone.

All that said, we need the Republican politicians to stand up to Trump, to open serious investigations not set up to try and run out the clock. To make that happen the most critical thing we can do is show them that Trump’s base is not enough for them to retain their seats.

WE CAN ONLY DO THAT BY WINNING ELECTIONS IN “RED AMERICA.”

Until Republicans can see a clear political price to be paid for the continued support of Trump they will try to walk some insane middle road. Polling won’t matter, what Trump does will only matter ever so very slightly (at best you will see some statements of concern, but still more foot dragging and mumbling mostly). Short of Trump actually “shooting that guy in the middle of 5th avenue” he once bragged about, nothing will move Republicans to act if they still believe they need his base to win an election.

It is a terrible thing to see, no doubt about it. It is disgusting to watch. Brings my blood to a boil just typing these last few sentences up! The only way to change it though is to make Republicans pay a price electorally.

BUT WE CAN’T WAIT UNTIL 2018 TO TRY AND STOP THEM!

I agree.

That is why we must continue to apply pressure in the public sphere. That said, elections are the only sure way to push them to stand up to Trump. Fortunately, we have a great opportunity this fall, not in 2018, but this fall, to show them the electoral danger they are in. If we win big, we begin to peel away Republicans resistance to doing the right thing about Trump. Not only that, we begin to reverse the worst impulses of Republican ideology across the country.

All 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates stand for election this fall. This contest represents our clearest opportunity, and honestly our earliest opportunity, to change Republican elected officials minds about their foot dragging on the travesty that is Trump. Right now they are convinced they must keep Trump’s base happy for them to secure their re-elections in 2018. It makes sense given the shocking electoral results in 2016.

We must demonstrate that they cannot win with that base any longer.

WE CAN’T RELY ON A TRUMP BACKLASH THOUGH; WE HAVE TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.

So far, local Democrats are stepping up across the Commonwealth of Virginia. 85 out of 100 districts will have Democratic challengers this fall. This is huge. In the last cycle, we Democrats only fielded candidates in 56 races. We have Republicans defending 51 of 66 seats this fall. In the last cycle, Republicans only had to defend 23 seats. That is a massive improvement.

HOW WILL HOUSE OF DELEGATES RACES IN VIRGINIA CONVINCE REPUBLICANS TO INVESTIGATE TRUMP?

Fair question. Let’s take a look at the existing Congressional House Districts in Virginia to get an idea why. Virginia has 11 Congressional Districts (CD), with 7 held by Republicans and 4 held by Democrats.

The following table shows the makeup of the various congressional districts in terms of House of Delegates (HoD) seats that make up the district. Please note, there are 100 delegates seats in Virginia, but many are divided amongst two or more Congressional Districts. That is how you come up with 173 total Delegate Districts. Actual counts for delegate seats in Virginia are 66 Republican to Democrats 34. In 2015 Democrats gained 1 seat to break the Republican super majority which has enabled Governor McAuliffe to exercise his veto extensively for the last two years.

VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS – HOUSE OF DELEGATE DISTRICT COMPOSITION
CD Number Incumbent Party Name # of Delegate Districts Republican HoD Seats Democratic HoD Seats
1 Republican Rob Wittman 16 14 2
2 Republican Scott Taylor 14 9 5
3 Democrat Rob Scott 20 7 13
4 Democrat Donald McEachin 16 5 11
5 Republican Tom Garrett 19 17 2
6 Republican Bob Goodlatte 14 13 1
7 Republican Dave Brat 16 12 4
8 Democrat Donald Beyer 13 1 12
9 Republican Howard Girffith 13 13 0
10 Republican Barbara Comstock 16 10 6
11 Democrat Gerald Connolly 16 6 10
Totals 7 Republicans 4 Democrats 173 107 66

Here is summary information for the above table:

PARTISAN SUMMARY OF HOD COMPOSITION OF CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS
Party Number of Seats Delegate Districts Republican HoD Seats Democratic HoD Seats
Democrats 4 65 19 46
Republicans 7 108 88 20
Delegation Total 11 173 107 66

What the two tables above reveal is the Republican dominance of the House of Delegates in Virginia. Interestingly, they control roughly 64% of the Congressional Districts and 66% of the House of Delegates seats. Of the 173 portions of Delegates Districts found in Congressional Districts Republicans control 62% of those as well. That is Republican domination, no two ways about it.

In Congressional Districts held by Democrats, Republicans control 29% of the HoD districts. Conversely, in Republican-held CDs, Democrats only control 18% of the districts. You might argue that this makes sense if they control 64% of CDs it only follows they will control around that percentage of the HoD seats. I think that is more of a self-fulfilling prophecy though. We must take control of our electoral situation. We have not done that in the past given what we find in the following tables:

DEMOCRATIC PARTY ENGAGEMENT IN HOD RACES BY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
CD Number Incumbent Party Contested in 2017 2017 Rate Contested in 2015 2015 Rate
1 Republican 16 100% 8 50%
2 Republican 14 100% 9 64%
3 Democrat 19 95% 17 85%
4 Democrat 13 81% 9 56%
5 Republican 13 68% 4 21%
6 Republican 10 71% 3 21%
7 Republican 16 100% 7 44%
8 Democrat 13 100% 13 100%
9 Republican 5 38% 1 8%
10 Republican 16 100% 13 81%
11 Democrat 16 100% 14 88%
Totals 151 87% 98 57%

The table above shows us the real opportunity we have this year. In the last cycle, Democrats only challenged in 57% of the races found in the various CDs. This year, we are competing for 87% districts so far and there is still time to find candidates. June 13th is the deadline. In the last cycle, only one CD saw every HoD race competed in by Democrats. This time there are six such Congressional Districts. If we were smart, if the current Congressional candidates were smart, we would be making sure all of these Democrats were supported and properly resourced.

In the last cycle, Democrats did not compete for even 60% of the HoD races across 6 the Districts. This time there is only one Congressional District with less than 60% of the district being challenged by Democrats.

SUMMARY OF DEMOCRATIC PARTY ENGAGEMENT IN HOD RACES
Party Number of Seats Contested in 2017 2017 Rate% Contested in 2015 2015 Rate%
Democrats 4 61 94% 53 82%
Republicans 7 90 83% 45 42%
Totals 11 151 87% 98 57%

Looking at the summary it becomes clear. Democrats are challenging for more portions of HoD districts in Republican-held Congressional Districts this cycle than they did in the Congressional seats held by Democrats in the last cycle. This marks a clear opportunity for us as a party. We must turn our focus to these Virginia races. We must make sure they are properly funded and supported. I have spoken with a great many of these candidates and they are all great people in it for the right reasons.

THIS IS HOW YOU MOVE REPUBLICANS TO TURN ON TRUMP; BY DELIVERING DEFEAT AT THE BALLOT BOX.

This is how we can get the Republicans attention, and quickly. If we show marked improvement in each of these congressional districts. By winning six to eight HoD districts instead of two in CD1, you know we will grab the attention of Wittman. If we win seven or eight HoD districts instead of five in CD 2, you know we will grab the attention of Taylor. If we win four or five HoD districts each in CD 5,  CD 6 and CD 9, you know we will grab the attention of Goodlatte, Griffith and Garrett. If we can add five or six HoD districts in CD 7 or CD 10, you know we will grab the attention of Brat and Comstock.

If we flip 17 seats in Virginia and turn the House of Delegates Blue this fall Republicans will finally do the right thing and turn on Trump. We can make this happen, we need to pitch in with our time and treasure to help these candidates run viable, competitive races across the board. Maybe we can even find candidates for the remaining uncontested seats to put pressure on Republicans across the entire state.

It is on us to drag Republicans into doing the right thing in regards to Trump. We must do it at the polls. We must do it now, waiting until 2018 is not an option for far too many of us. Let’s rally behind these critically important races in Virginia this fall.

THE ADDED BENEFIT OF SUPPORTING THESE CANDIDATES NOW

Win or lose, if we help all of these candidates run properly resourced campaigns this fall that means our Congressional candidates will have an entire team of battle tested, well-trained field generals on hand with the kinds of name recognition and critical relationships that could be key to flipping these congressional districts in 2018. The Congressional candidates should help where they can, be we need to chip in too.

Imagine someone challenging Dave Brat with 16 HoD candidates from the prior year hit the campaign trail instead of just 7 if that that could help in 2016. Or Wittman facing down 16 democrats that had votes behind them just the year before rather than the 8 in the last cycle. Yes, of course, we want to support winners, but supporting each and every one of these candidates now will double, triple, heck even be worth more than quadruple the money in actually put in this year. Seriously, let’s look at the multiplying impact:

  1. Your $1 to a HoD candidate will help them run their race this fall.
  2. That $1 will help them gain valuable experience win or lose that they can put to work next year.
  3. Many of these candidates HoD districts are split across two or three Congressional Districts, so each district will benefit from that experience.
  4. If they lose in 2017, they will have a base of support to challenge again in 2019.

Virginia provides an amazing opportunity to fight the Trump agenda early and begin to rebuild our party from the ground up.

VIRGINIANS ARE STEPPING UP, WE NEED TO BACK THEM UP.

This is what living in a vibrant electoral Democratic-Republic is all about. The battle of ideas at the ballot box. The quest for our party to represent Americans across the country in order to advance the causes of social, racial and economic justice for all starts at the ballot box this fall in Virginia. We need to follow the example set by the great candidates in Virginia by supporting their campaigns the best we can. This post wraps up with tables for each Congressional District and the House of Delegates seats that make up their district. If you click on the District # you will be taken to a profile of that district (only Republican-held seats have been profiled). If you click on a candidate’s name it will take you to their donation page or another element of their web presence. If the race is in a primary, going to the district profile will show you a list of Democrats running in that district with links to their web presence at the time the post was drafted.

VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 1 – REPUBLICAN ROB WITTMAN
Delegte District Republican Incumbent Democrat Running in 2017 Democratic Challenger in 2015
HoD 2 Yes Primary Yes
HoD 13 Yes Primary Yes
HoD 18 Yes Tristan Shields No
HoD 28 Yes Joshua Cole Yes
HoD 31 Yes Primary Yes
HoD 50 Yes Lee Carter Yes
HoD 51 Yes Primary No
HoD 52 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 54 Yes Al Durante No
HoD 55 Yes Morgan Goodman Yes
HoD 88 Yes Steve Aycock No
HoD 93 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 96 Yes Kelly Delucia No
HoD 97 Yes Cori Johnson No
HoD 98 Yes Primary No
HoD 99 Yes Primary No
Total 14 of 16 16 of 16 8 of 16
VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 2 – REPUBLICAN SCOTT TAYLOR
Delegate District Republican Incumbent Democrat Running in 2017 Democratic Challenger in 2015
HoD 21 Yes Primary Yes
HoD 79 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 81 Yes Primary No
HoD 82 Yes Leigh Anne Bowling Yes
HoD 83 Yes Primary No
HoD 84 Yes Primary No
HoD 85 Yes Cheryl Turpin No
HoD 89 No Primary Yes
HoD 90 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 91 Yes Michael Wade No
HoD 93 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 94 Yes Zack Wittkamp Yes
HoD 95 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 100 Yes Willie Randall Yes
Total 9 of 14 14 of 14 9 of 14
VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 3 – DEMOCRAT BOBBY SCOTT
Delegate District Republican Incumbent Democrat Running in 2017 Democratic Challenger in 2015
HoD 62 Yes Sheila Bynum Coleman Yes
HoD 63 No Primary Yes
HoD 64 Yes Primary No
HoD 68 Yes Primary Yes
HoD 69 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 70 No Primary Yes
HoD 71 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 74 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 75 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 76 Yes NOT CONTESTED No
HoD 79 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 80 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 89 No Primary Yes
HoD 90 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 91 Yes Michael Wade No
HoD 92 No Primary Yes
HoD 93 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 94 Yes Zack Wittkamp Yes
HoD 95 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 100 Yes Willie Randall Yes
Totals 7 of 20 19 of 20 17 0f 20
VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 4 – DEMOCRAT DONALD MCEACHIN
Delegate District Republican Incumbent Democrat Running in 2017 Democratic Challenger in 2015
HoD 21 Yes Primary Yes
HoD 27 Yes Larry Barnett Yes
HoD 61 Yes NOT CONTESTED Yes
HoD 62 Yes Sheila Bynum Coleman Yes
HoD 63 No Primary Yes
HoD 64 Yes Primary No
HoD 65 Yes Francis Stevens No
HoD 66 Yes Katie Ann Sponsler No
HoD 70 No Primary Yes
HoD 75 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 76 Yes NOT CONTESTED No
HoD 77 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 78 Yes NOT CONTESTED No
HoD 80 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 81 Yes Primary No
HoD 84 Yes Primary No
Totals 11 of 16 13 of 16 9 of 16
VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 5 – REPUBLICAN TOM GARRETT
Delegate District Republican Incumbent Democrat Running in 2017 Democratic Challenger in 2015
HoD 9 Yes Stephanie Cook No
HoD 14 Yes NOT CONTESTED No
HoD 16 Yes NOT CONTESTED No
HoD 18 Yes Tristan Shields No
HoD 19 Yes NOT CONTESTED No
HoD 20 Yes Michele Edwards No
HoD 22 Yes NOT CONTESTED No
HoD 23 Yes Natalie Short No
HoD 25 Yes Angela Lynn Yes
HoD 30 Yes Ben Hixon No
HoD 31 Yes Primary Yes
HoD 57 No Primary No
HoD 58 Yes Kellen Squire No
HoD 59 Yes NOT CONTESTED No
HoD 60 Yes Jamaal Johnston No
HoD 61 Yes NOT CONTESTED Yes
HoD 65 Yes Francis Stevens No
HoD 75 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 88 Yes Steve Aycock No
Totals 17 of 19 13 of 19 4 of 19
VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 6 – REPUBLICAN BOB GOODLATTE
Delegate District Republican Incumbent Democrat Running in 2017 Democratic Challenger in 2015
HoD 8 Yes Primary No
HoD 11 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 15 Yes NOT CONTESTED No
HoD 17 Yes Djuna Osborne No
HoD 18 Yes Tristan Shields No
HoD 19 Yes NOT CONTESTED No
HoD 20 Yes Michele Edwards No
HoD 22 Yes NOT CONTESTED No
HoD 23 Yes Natalie Short No
HoD 24 Yes NOT CONTESTED Yes
HoD 25 Yes Angela Lynn Yes
HoD 26 Yes Brent Finnegan No
HoD 29 Yes Casey Turben No
HoD 58 Yes Kellen Squire No
Totals 13 of 14 10 of 14 3 of 14
VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 7 – REPUBLICAN DAVE BRAT
Delegate District Republican Incumbent Democrat Running in 2017 Democratic Challenger in 2015
HoD 18 Yes Tristan Shields No
HoD 27 Yes Larry Barnett Yes
HoD 30 Yes Ben Hixon No
HoD 54 Yes Al Durante No
HoD 55 Yes Morgan Goodman Yes
HoD 56 Yes Primary No
HoD 65 Yes Francis Stevens No
HoD 68 Yes Primary Yes
HoD 69 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 70 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 71 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 72 Yes Schuyler VanValkenburg No
HoD 73 Yes Debra Rodman No
HoD 74 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 88 Yes Steve Aycock No
HoD 97 Yes Cori Johnson No
Totals 12 of 16 16 of 16 7 of 16
VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 8 – DEMOCRAT DONALD BEYER
Delegate District Republican Incumbent Democrat Running in 2017 Democratic Challenger in 2015
HoD 34 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 35 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 38 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 39 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 42 Yes Primary Yes
HoD 43 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 44 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 45 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 46 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 47 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 48 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 49 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 53 No Incumbent Yes
Totals 1 of 13 13 of 13 13 of 13
VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 9 – REPUBLICAN MORGAN GRIFFITH
Delegate District Republican Incumbent Democrat Running in 2017 Democratic Challenger in 2015
HoD 1 Yes NOT CONTESTED No
HoD 3 Yes NOT CONTESTED No
HoD 4 Yes NOT CONTESTED No
HoD 5 Yes NOT CONTESTED No
HoD 6 Yes NOT CONTESTED No
HoD 7 Yes Flo Ketner No
HoD 8 Yes Primary No
HoD 9 Yes Stephanie Cook No
HoD 12 Yes Chris Hurst Yes
HoD 14 Yes NOT CONTESTED No
HoD 16 Yes NOT CONTESTED No
HoD 17 Yes Djuna Osborne No
HoD 19 Yes NOT CONTESTED No
Totals 13 of 13 5 of 13 1 of 13
VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 10 – REPUBLICAN BARBARA COMSTOCK
Delegate District Republican Incumbent Democrat Running in 2017 Democratic Challenger in 2015
HoD 10 Yes Wendy Gooditis Yes
HoD 13 Yes Primary Yes
HoD 29 Yes Casey Turben No
HoD 32 Yes David Reid Yes
HoD 33 Yes Primary Yes
HoD 34 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 36 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 37 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 40 Yes Donte Tanner Yes
HoD 42 Yes Primary Yes
HoD 48 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 50 Yes Lee Carter Yes
HoD 51 Yes Primary No
HoD 67 Yes Primary No
HoD 86 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 87 No Incumbent Yes
Totals 10 of 16 16 of 16 13 of 16
VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 11 – DEMOCRAT GERALD CONNOLLY
Delegate District Republican Incumbent Democrat Running in 2017 Democratic Challenger in 2015
HoD 2 Yes Primary Yes
HoD 31 Yes Primary Yes
HoD 34 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 35 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 36 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 37 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 38 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 39 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 40 Yes Donte Tanner Yes
HoD 41 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 42 Yes Primary Yes
HoD 51 Yes Primary No
HoD 52 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 53 No Incumbent Yes
HoD 67 Yes Primary No
HoD 86 No Incumbent Yes
Totals 6 of 16 16 of 16 14 of 16

REQUIRED DAILY KOS DISCLOSURES: My name is Donald Braden. I am the founder of The Full Slate Project and Full Slate Consulting. I am under contract with theBoddye for Progress, Guzman for Delegate and Friends of Kimberly Anne Tucker providing data analysis and planning services for their primary campaigns.

I am also proud to partner with 90 for 90, celebrating the legacy of Dr. Fergie Reid Sr., the first black state legislator in Virginia since Reconstruction ended, by promoting the idea that progress is only truly achieved by following his example. Organize everywhere, even in the heart of “Red America,” precinct by precinct, neighbor by neighbor.

Please remember the registration deadline for the June 13th Virginia Primary is May 22nd. 

  • lowtechcyclist

    I’d love to contribute to challengers in House of Delegates races, and I’m very encouraged by the sheer number of GOP incumbents that have Dem challengers this year. But I’d like to have some idea of where my money would be best spent – or if there’s a fund to finance challengers across the board. Any idea if/when you’re going to post something on this?

    I no longer live in Virginia, but I grew up there, and spent much of my adult life there as well. So the Commonwealth matters to me, and I’d like to help us win at the HoD level this fall.