|The Fight of Our Lives – Time to Bend the Arc
November 6, 2017
We are, simply put, in the fight of our lives. The values that we consider important— social equality and economic justice, diversity and inclusion, tolerance and civility— and the opportunities that everyone should have— the chance for our family members, children, and grandchildren to secure a decent education, obtain a good job that pays a living wage, have access to reasonably priced health care and insurance, ensure the protection of reproductive health, and gain fair access to the ballot box— are all under siege. They are being assaulted, not only by an insensitive and thoughtless President, but by politicians across the country who either mimic his message or, in their silence, have become complicit in his efforts to destroy the great American dream for all but the wealthiest among us.
All Eyes on Virginia
On Tuesday, Virginia will go to the polls in the first major election since the Trump upset. We have heard much about various state house special elections, and even the June Congressional race in Georgia, being tests of the Democratic Party’s “post-Trump” viability. But Virginia is the real deal. Our Governor’s race matches a veteran/doctor/former State Senator/Lieutenant Governor against a Republican who masterminded the GOP’s nationwide gerrymandering strategy, which has brought one-party rule to many states and Tea Party control of the U.S. House of Representatives while encouraging the further polarization of the electorate. Since Republicans control the Virginia House and Senate, putting a Republican in the governor’s seat could make Virginia look like North Carolina in just one legislative session. Take a look at the 120 bills Governor McAuliffe vetoed in his four years, because a Republican victory will mean that many of them will become law very quickly. No one can afford to “sit this one out.” Every vote is crucial.
Turn Out is Essential to Win
As you might expect, I strongly support Dr. Ralph Northam for Governor, Justin Fairfax for Lieutenant Governor, and Mark Herring for re-election as Attorney General. But the House of Delegates is also at stake. Democrats have fielded more candidates challenging Republican incumbents than ever before, and we have great opportunities to win seats— if citizens will turn out. This will be the true test of the energy that many of us believe presently exists in Virginia (and all over the country). At our last gubernatorial election in 2013, 43 percent of Virginia’s registered voters went to the polls. If we can increase turnout this year by just a few points, to 45 or 46 percent, we will see many Delegate seats flip on November 7.
And we will see the election of a Democratic Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General who will keep working to build a new Virginia economy, protect health care for our citizens, and invest in education and the protection of our natural resources. It will mean we have a realistic shot at creating a redistricting system that is fair and consistent with the political character of our Commonwealth. And it will send a clear message to the rest of the country that we will not be complicit with Congressional or presidential efforts to destroy our country and the values that so many of us support.
The stakes are high. So many of you have spent countless hours on the phones and knocking on doors, and we thank you. For those of you who are volunteering for the first time, we celebrate your foray into the most critical election of this generation.
While it has been said many times that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” few believe that this happens on its own. On November 7, 2017, we have a chance to bend the arc— and decisively make a statement about the future of our Commonwealth and Nation.