by William Ferguson Reid, Jr. (son of William Ferguson Reid, civil rights leader, co-founder — in 1956 — of the Richmond Crusade for Voters; and in 1967, the first African-American elected to the Virginia General Assembly since the days of Reconstruction.)
Alright people, for those of you who’ve never played team sports, the pre-game locker room speech is a common occurrence; this may sound like one.
GIVEN: Elections in Virginia will take place on November 3 — just 22 days from now — with all 40 State Senate seats, and all 100 State House seats on the ballots. Currently, 30 Senate races and 56 House races have a Democrat on the ballot. 20 of the 30 Democrats running for Senate have an opponent, while 10 Democratic Senate candidates are unopposed. 29 of the 56 Democrats running for House have an opponent; 27 are unopposed.
So, to review the math: Of the 140 seats in the Virginia State Capitol, 49 (35%) are being contested by the parties; 20 Senate races, and 29 House races.
That’s where we are; let’s work with that. Political reporters will prognosticate, and political professionals will engage in pedantic punditry; but, as sports reporters understand very well, “On any given day…”; “In the end, nobody knows anything, that’s why they play the games”; and the late, great Yogi Berra’s, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
That’s probably enough with the cliches, huh?
The common wisdom about each of these Virginia election races is based on: “gerrymandered districts” and “usual/expected” voter turnout models, based on previous election cycles. We can’t change district lines in the next three weeks; but, we can change the “expected” voter turnout.
The 90for90.org Project has promoted this concept since early this year. Candidates, groups, committees, and other interested parties who believe in greater voter participation and education, through the mechanism of encouraging greater registration and activation, have joined 90for90.org , linking their information to the 90for90.org website, in the interest of making more information accessible to folk at all levels of the political spectrum. The registration goals set by the 90for90.org project are currently being exceeded.
What does all of this mean? 22 days remain until Election Day; but just 2 days left in the voter registration period for this election cycle. No matter who you are, or which level of the political hierarchy you inhabit, LET’S ALL WORK TOGETHER PEOPLE; 22 DAYS – LET’S GET REALLY BUSY!!
Busy doing what, exactly?
Pick your favorite races, and or, your favorite candidates; possibly, you’re more interested in races outside your geographic area. You may not be a Virginia resident, or an eligible Virginia voter; you can still make an effort that matters. If you’re a pro, try to refrain from telling folk what “will” and “won’t” happen.If voter turnout increases, you don’t know what may happen. If you’re a rookie, try not to be dissuaded from making an effort, by “Horse race predictions”, made by folk who are making semi-educated guesses, at best. If they were so attuned to the voters, they would have known that Eric Cantor would lose badly to an unknown college professor.
“PLAY THE GAME , GET ON THE FIELD ” Do your best; that’s all anyone can ask of you.
Last but not least: If you are a Presidential Candidate – Bernie , Martin , Hillary , Jim , Lincoln , Joe – I’m talking to you guys; can you hear this? GET THEE TO VIRGINIA – AND RIGHT QUICK!! Go to Roanoke, Richmond, Charlottesville, Norfolk, Va. Beach, Williamsburg, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Lorton, Chesterfield Co., Henrico Co., Hanover Co., Stafford Co., Montgomery Co., Loudoun Co., Fairfax Co, etc. BETTER YET – Go as a 5 or 6 person team, “The Democrats-a-Palooza Tour.”
Put your egos in check, and your individual self-interests in “Cold Storage” for the next 3 weeks, get into Virginia, ramp up your people, THE PEOPLE. Let them know that the most important way to support you for next year is to SHOW UP AND VOTE THIS YEAR. Play as a team for the next three weeks – and get a crap-ton of free media doing it, while the Republicans are busy engaging in mass, ritual “seppuku” in Washington, D.C. What an interesting juxtaposition that would present for the political chattering class!
YOU CAN DO IT !!!! NOW GET OUT THERE AND WORK IT PEOPLE !!!!!
At this point, the team usually leaves the locker room screaming, “Jacked-up”, and ready to “leave it all out on the field”, for the team. What will happen in Virginia? Three weeks people.