Home 2018 Elections Even In a “Big Tent” Party, VA-06 Candidate Sergio Coppola Is Not...

Even In a “Big Tent” Party, VA-06 Candidate Sergio Coppola Is Not a Democrat


by Graham Weinschenk

My name is Graham Weinschenk and I am a Democrat. Among other things, I believe in a woman’s right to choose, that diversity strengthens us, that love will always win, and that protecting the environment is a necessity. These are not things that “Democratic” Congressional candidate Sergio Coppola (6th CD) believes in.

There are a number of problems with the “Issues” page of Cappola’s website. First, he fails to actually take a position on most of the issues listed. He walks a fine line of attempting to take both sides of most issues. In the process of doing this, he reveals some pretty outrageous things, which are enumerated below:

  1. Coppola Supports a “Dual Care” System to Replace Obamacare

Dual care would make drastic and terrible changes to the American healthcare system that would surely result in more uninsured Americans. To figure that out, you really need to look no farther past the fact that this plan is supported by the likes of The Heritage Foundation.

  1. Coppola Does Not Support Common Sense Gun Control

Coppola’s position here is incredibly unclear. He argues that guns are essential for “the ability to form a militia” and that “access to guns is a constitutional right for self-protection”. However, he does support regulations that would prevent the mentally ill from buying guns. But that seems to be where he draws the line. Coppola then makes a non-specific statement that gun holders need to face more accountability. What does that mean?

  1. Coppola is Both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice?

This one is one of the strangest because Coppola seems to make both arguments here. He says that he “believes all life is important” and that he “[does] not support abortion as a method of birth control”. Then he does an immediate 360 and says that he believes “that a woman has a right to decide what should happen to her body”. Which is it?

  1. Coppola Doesn’t Understand Being LGBT

Although Coppola does say that he is against limiting access to government programs and benefits based on sexual orientation, he also says that a person’s sexual orientation is a DECISION. It’s 2017. Really. 

  1. Coppola Believes that America Was Created Based on Christian Principles

Again, there are some positives and negatives here. He believes that our laws should be further separated from religion, yet he also believes that America was founded based on “Christian principles”. This is just factually incorrect. The principal behind both of these are very different.

  1. Coppola Is All Over the Place on Immigration

This one just really doesn’t make sense. First, he says that immigration is key to American culture. Then, he says that immigrants must “assimilate” to American culture.

  1. Coppola Wants a Flat Tax

Again, Coppola got this right out of The Heritage Foundation. Having a flat tax is extremely regressive, and would do absolutely nothing for the struggling working class. He claims that he wants a flat tax of 23%, and he says that this would lead to everyone paying their “fair share.” Really? 23% for someone making $30,000 a year is a lot different than someone making $300,000 a year, or $3,000,000 a year.

  1. Coppola Is an Isolationist

Coppola apparently has an issue with the amount of money that the United States spends overseas on goodwill projects and development (a tiny percentage of the budget, by the way, with most of the money coming back to the U.S. in military sales, purchases of American goods and services, etc.). In other words, Coppola would rather see the US isolate itself than operate as the leader of the free world. We can’t afford to take a step back from our spot on the world stage. I must add that Coppola also supports cutting military spending.

There’s a lot of discussion these days about how liberal or “moderate” the Democratic Party should be. Without wading into that, surely, we can all agree that a candidate with the aforementioned as his values doesn’t even qualify as a “moderate Democrat.”

In the end, there are two things that could be going on here. The first is that someone in Coppola’s camp wrote this page, mangling and misrepresenting Coppola’s ideals through the awful quality of the writing on the page. The second is that Coppola is indeed attempting to run for the Democratic VA-06 nomination on a bunch of right-wing positions that are contrary to the beliefs of the vast majority of Democrats.

If the latter is the case, I would urge Coppola to drop out of the Democratic primary. If he fails to do so, I urge everyone reading this to support Coppola’s opponent, Democrat Peter Volosin, who is a member of the LGBT community and a real progressive. Yes, the Democratic Party should be a big tent, but not big enough for the likes of Sergio Coppola.

  • woodrowfan

    #3 is not necessarily inconsistent with supporting the right to chose. You can believe that abortion is wrong, but also believe that it is only the business of the woman involved (with the input of her partner, faith leader, doctors, as SHE chooses.) But given his other positions I don’t think that’s what Coppola means…

    • Coppola Campaign Committee

      I appreciate the first section of your comment as it is the most accurate statement on this whole article and that is what I meant.

  • Coppola Campaign Committee

    It’s unfortunate that Graham Weinschenk has put a negative and inaccurate
    spin on my positions on the issues. Hopefully with time his
    misconceptions will be corrected. It is alarming that he did not
    understand the “Dual Care” plan (which has a federally organized buy in
    option at 9% of household income) and linked it to an irrelevant health
    plan that has absolutely nothing to do with my health care alternative.
    I will not apologize for being a moderate democratic candidate, which
    is what the democratic party needs in the 6th district to be successful
    in the 2018 election. My intentions are to help people and bring truly
    affordable health care to everyone.

    • I encourage everyone to look at the “Dual Care” plan and judge for themselves. To me, it’s a combination of incoherent/confusing and – to the extent it is comprehensible – a step backwards from where we are now. No thanks.

      • Perseus1986

        Is it any more incoherent than “progressive” calls for Single Payer health care that either don’t even specify a specific model to achieve “single payer” but throw the term around as a model in itself, or that are politically unfeasible as they completely cut out the multi-billion dollar (if not trillion dollar) insurance industry completely, all while calling for a “political revolution” to carry it into law?

        • I literally can’t understand what on earth the “Dual Care” plan is saying, possibly because it’s not well written, but it seems…odd. What’s your take on it? As for Single Payer health care, note that “Just about every high-profile Democratic senator rumored to be running in 2020 has joined Sanders as a co-sponsor of the [single-payer] bill: Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Al Franken. They’re joined by Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeff Merkley, Brian Schatz, Ed Markey, Mazie Hirono, Richard Blumenthal, Tammy Baldwin, Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich and Patrick Leahy.”

          • Perseus1986

            Yes, Dual Care looks hard to decipher, but it does look like it has elements of a Medicare Buy-in option that many candidates, such as Tim Kaine, have supported.

            I’m not against Single Payer, in fact, especially looking at global health care systems, I believe that it should be the ultimate goal. However, Single Payer is not a model in itself, NHS in Britain is very different from the system in Canada, which is different from the German, Italian, French and Japanese models etc, etc. My concern is the Sanders’s plan is DOA because it immediately stakes out private insurance, the holder of almost the entire existing health infrastructure in the US, as a natural enemy, rather than a stakeholder to work with to build an eventual Single Payer system. And Sanders seems to have little experience or interest in building a legistlative consensus. His response to almost any question during his campaign regarding how would you work with opposition to achieve your goals was that his candidacy would foment a “political revolution” that would defeat the opposition. I think the other co-sponsors are just tacking on their names to increase their progressive cred especially since they have nothing to lose with this Congress and White House occupant.

            BTW, I say all this as someone who voted for Sanders in the primary last year.

    • On other issues, do you seriously support a “flat tax?” If so, that’s an immediate nonstarter for me, as I’m a strong proponent of a PROGRESSIVE tax code. Do you really support an “isolationist” foreign policy? If so, that’s an automatic disqualifier for me, as I believe the U.S. needs to stay engaged in international institutions and in building strong relations with other countries. Do you really believe that a person sits down one day and DECIDES to be gay or straight? If so…let’s just say this is not like any “moderate” Democrat I know, nor is it scientifically accurate.

    • Graham Weinschenk

      Mr. Coppola, I did not put an inaccurate spin on your positions, in fact, throughout the article I included quotes directly from your website. Since it seems that you are interested in discussing the issues, will you be apologizing for pushing the psychologically harmful and scientifically inaccurate belief that one’s sexual orientation is a decision?

    • Recipriversexclusons

      This comment is meant for Mr. Coppola;
      Sir, you are no “moderate Democrat”. After reviewing your website, I would say that you are a Libertarian trying to pass yourself off as a Democrat. I view myself as a moderate/centrist and I will offer you the example that I find lowkell and others that post to this website very much to the left of me.
      If you choose to vote a democratic ticket in your district, I will thank you for doing so.
      If I were a voter in the VA-06, I would be hard pressed to select your name on the general ballot in Nov. ’18 and would be concerned that you would flip and caucus with the (R)’s once you are sworn into office. I’m a 10th district voter and will be doing my best to retire Comstock. However, if your name appeared on the primary ballot in my district, you would not be getting my vote.
      “Have a nice day.”

      • The combo of “flat tax” and isolationism, plus the implications that people “decide” their sexual orientation, screams “Ron Paul” to me.

  • Perseus1986

    This article concerns me as much about the limits of tolerance for diversity of opinion among Democrats as it does about Mr. Coppola’s positions. Of course, from the perspective of a recently graduated high school senior from deepest, bluest Arlington County, Mr. Coppola’s positions aren’t that attractive, and he definitely wouldn’t be ideal for VA-08. But I’d rather have someone like Mr. Coppola than Bob Goodlatte coming out of VA-06, and I don’t see any Bernie-, Hillary or Obama-crat coming out of there anytime soon.

    As other posters have pointed out, many of these “inconsistencies” aren’t inconsistencies. There are many people (including myself), that share Mr. Coppola’s positions on abortion, as something we find personally unfortunate and sometimes morally or ethically problematic, but don’t think it is the position of government to enforce unproductive prohibitions against. The Democratic party will increasingly find itself contained in coastal enclaves if it keeps obsorbing the cultural pro-choice position (“without limits or apologies”) as a litmus test, rather than holding the hands off position that it is not the government’s place to force the hand of patient and physician during a pregnancy.

    Point #5- I’m positive that there are many secular, religiously-disinterested theses and studies which identify Abrahamic religions and legal thought as a root philosophical influence on the framers of the Constitution.

    Point number 8- I understand that for the author, the Iraq war may seem like a longer time ago than it does for me, and the Vietnam War might as well be the Peloponnesian War, but one only has to look at the recent history of U.S. direct intervention in democracy-building efforts to see that we have had, at best, mixed results, and maybe we should think twice before diving into situations and putting our soldiers in harm’s way without having clear missions and exit strategies.

    In short, it’s easy for the author to pontificate on who is and isn’t a Democrat from such a Democratic stronghold as Arlington. It’s a lot harder to build a viable candidacy for a Democratic candidate in an R+13 district. If the Democratic party wishes to reach out beyond its coastal and urban enclaves and not be beat by 30+ margins in rural areas, it would be best for it not to immediately shoot down candidates who come from those areas for being “a little different”.

  • Jason Peterson

    Looks like the kind of Kainedidate Tim could get behind. Seriously, has anyone had a thorough debate on whether Tim Kaine should be permitted to run in the Democratic Primary for the Senate seat he now holds? On any number of issues, Tim can be found either on the wrong side or both sides.

    Women’s right to choose? Not so important if you’re confirming judges that will decide issues for a LIFETIME in the 7th Cir. (congrats, VA women, you’re in the 4th.): https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/amy-coney-barrett-abortion-rights-federal-judge_us_59f87abde4b0aec1467ac111

    Strong on labor issues? Not so much: https://www.politico.com/tipsheets/morning-shift/2016/08/kaine-flip-flops-on-right-to-work-215706

    Reel in Wall St.? Nope. He’s pushing to roll back Dodd-Frank: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tim-kaine-clinton-vp_us_578fc8e3e4b0bdddc4d2c86c

    • Perseus1986

      Excellent, let’s dump a reliable Democrat who has been elected statewide 3 times, a well known name and a loyal party vote in the Senate in exchange for a county board member or delegate who is unknown statewide who meets your purity tests.

      We’re choosing Senators, not life partners. I’d rather make sure that we have every resource and electoral advantage at our disposal to prevent us ever hearing the words “Senator Corey Stewart” than that the candidate the party fields is ideologically “pure” enough.

      • Jason Peterson

        I’m pointing out that he’s not a “reliable Democrat”, or at least not always. I want better. I don’t *seriously* think anyone’s going to hold him accountable for occasionally taking a dump on party principles, I just wish a clear-headed discussion could take place of just how bad he (and Mark Warner is even worse) can be.
        p.s. I forgot his willful ignorance of just how bad neo-lib/neo-con foreign policy can be: https://www.thenation.com/article/eat-pray-starve-what-tim-kaine-didnt-learn-during-his-time-in-honduras/

        • Perseus1986

          “At least not always.” So in order to be a reliable Democrat, an incumbent must fulfill every “progressive” litmus test always, regardless of political liability. The article is typical “coffee shop progressive” talk that basically states that because Kaine had not taken to the hills as a revolutionary, and partnered with Clinton’s ticket last year, he is retroactively complicit for all that occurred and is currently wrong in northern Central America due to U.S. intervention and/or non-intervention. I find free trade agreements and their impact on developing countries problematic too, but understand that the problems are due to a myriad of issues that include, in part, the US’s own non-compliance with the treaties it promotes when it heavily subsidizes corn and other agricultural products (all because with Iowa being the first caucus state, a politician who actively promotes ending subsidizes would be kissing their presidential aspirations goodbye).

          All while the coffee shop crowd go through twists and turns to claim that centrist Democrats are implicitly culpable for so many ills nationally and internationally, we have a Republican party leadership that explicitly calls for banning Muslims, building a real, physical wall on the Mexican border, cutting virtually all forms of international development aid, that liberally talks about using nuclear weapons as an offensive tactic and is hell-bent on reversing so many gains for the LGBT community and fighting against a bipartisan consensus for criminal justice reform and decriminaliziation of (or at least minimizing sentences for) non-violent drug offenses. It’s not only fine but necessary to criticize and hold accountable all politicians regardless of their party, but the purist, Bernie-or-bust, approach that villifies with equal measure any and all politicians that don’t meet litmus tests creates an environment that results in enough voters in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan to vote for Jill Stein rather than Clinton to throw the election to Trump.

          • “The article is typical ‘coffee shop progressive’ talk that basically states that because Kaine had not taken to the hills as a revolutionary”

            Not sure what you’re referring to, as “the article” by Graham Weinschenk had nothing to do with Tim Kaine. In fact, Graham interned for Kaine and is a strong supporter of Kaine’s, as far as I’m aware. You mean the comment (by Jason Peterson) you’re responding to, I presume?

          • Perseus1986


          • Perseus1986

            And it should be noted that the commenter was writing comments last year advocating that people vote for Jill Stein over Clinton, you know this Jill Stein…


            So, who’s the real Democrat?!

          • barbaralee12

            Exactly how we got 45.

      • dave schutz

        Yes, Perseus, you have it exactly right. The phrase ‘progressive Democrat’ – you know, this carries as a logical consequence that there are some Dems to whom the ‘progressive’ label does not necessarily apply. As a centrist myself, I am eager not to have other centrists drummed out of the party. Party members who take part in the primary will choose a candidate. Somebody will win. It could be Sergio Coppola, and if it is, people who want to work towards a Dem majority will vote for him in the general.

    • Wait, you’re seriously arguing that Tim Kaine shouldn’t be permitted to run for reelection? Not that he should be primaried, but that he shouldn’t even be a “permitted to run?” Huh?

    • Philip Whitman

      If we’ve reached the point where Tim Kaine is not sufficiently progressive, then who exactly passes all your tests and still could win statewide in Virginia?

  • Plink80

    It’s been less than a month since this contest became an “open seat” rather than a challenge to a well-established incumbent. It has also been less than two weeks since CD6 selected a primary as the method of nomination. With so much having changed so recently, there are still some potential candidates considering getting into the race.
    It seems awfully early to apply litmus tests and to endorse candidates.

    • Will be interesting to see if anyone else jumps in, possibly an elected official…

  • Kenneth Ferland

    #7 Is the absolute deal breaker, every other position might be tolerated in an otherwise good candidate. But believing in regressive taxation is not fit to be a democratic nominee.

    Remember the totality of our current progressive income taxes and regressive payroll and sales taxes is already very nearly flat, making income taxes flat would move the overall taxation system deeply into regressive territory.

    • Agreed. #7 is completely unacceptable for any “Democrat” at this point. What we need is a MORE progressive tax code, not a LESS progressive (let alone flat!) one.

  • Coppola Campaign Committee

    I know of a political candidate who, at the beginning of his campaign,
    was accused of not being a “true” democrat and whose intentions were
    always in the best interest of the people. He was consistent in what he
    said, and stood for what he truly believed in; instead of building a
    platform to accommodate a party agenda. Many were against him, but also
    many supported him and his intentions were/are always to help people.
    That gentleman had my vote, my support, and my respect, and is still out
    there fighting for people. He is Bernie Sanders.

    • Bernie Sanders didn’t – and doesn’t – support a “flat tax,” nor is he an isolationist. Bernie Sanders DOES support single-payer healthcare, not “Dual Care.” In short, you’re no Bernie Sanders! 😉

    • barbaralee12

      Now we know how we got 45 .You have only proven to me you are no Democrat. I urge you to please drop out of the race. Stop misleading people.