The 2010 Tea Party wave replaced dozens of thoughtful Democratic Party politicians with #alternativefacts, (climate) science-denying, extremist Republicans. Those Republicans have been damaging the nation ever since, including with their enabling of Trump’s criminality. (Though, frankly that’s just icing on the cake of the vast harm these extremists have caused.)
In the 2010 Tea Party wave, perhaps the most unfortunate case came in Virginia’s 5th, where superb Rep. Tom Perriello – who had voted for the ACA and Waxman-Markey climate/clean energy legislation – lost by a narrow margin (just 4 points) to stuffed-shirt Republican Robert Hurt. In 2016, Hurt announced he would not run for reelection, and today, reactionary/white-supremacist-enabling Republican (anti-)Freedom Caucus member Tom Garrett (who is far to the right of the actual preferences of the district’s electorate) now occupies Perriello’s former seat in Congress.
The November 2018 election is set up to correct that damage, but only if VA-05 Democrats nominate a strong candidate in a district which Trump won by 14 percentage points and Ed Gillespie won by 9 points. If Democrats do so, the nominee could well ride an increasingly likely – and increasingly large – “blue wave” to victory in November, providing VA-05 with representation more in line with the voters’ interests – and with acting as a check in Trump’s extremism while fulfilling their oath to the Constitution – than Trumpster Fire Garrett.
One of the Democratic Party candidates for the nomination to replace Garrett, Roger Dean Huffstetler, just released a powerful “who I am and why I’m running” video that is well worth watching and considering.
Huffstetler’s ad (his family story, views of the nation, etc.) hits many powerful themes and images that would seem likely to resonate with voters.
His family has:
- struggled and suffered …
- including in the opiate crisis …
- worked hard …
- in three generations, farm to factory to university/technology start-up …
- succeeded due to
- their efforts AND
- government assistance/ways to help people advance.
Also, his family now includes a loving wife and a soon-to-be-born daughter, which helps inform what he values and wishes to see in the future.
As to his closing message, this former U.S. Marine explains why he felt a call to service in Congress, to ensure that…
- if you put in the work you have job security and can afford to feed your family;
- if you have a good idea you can start a company in any ZIP code in this country;
- our kids get the education they’ll need for every cutting edge job of the future
As Huffstetler says in the ad:
I want my daughter and every child to see that they can all be included in the future of this country. That’s what America was founded on and that promise isn’t gone. Sure, Washington, DC, is a disaster but that doesn’t mean America is despite all our struggles.
Mama also used to say to me you can do anything you want. I believed that then and I still do now. It’s why I can’t wait to take my daughter back to feed the cows to tell her about her family, about how they did their best, and about all the opportunities this country gave us. And, how I’ll do the same for her generation, too. And, most importantly that she can do anything she wants
Now, this isn’t a video designed for instant, 15-second gratification. But it is worth the three minutes to watch and consider, IMHO.
As evidenced by my writing this post and by my words above, I clearly found most of this video and its messaging strong. However, one item struck a discordant note: “Washington, DC, is a disaster…” The wording suggests “a plague on both houses,” “both-sides” false equivalency that is simply not accurate. Because if D.C. is a disaster, it is that way for a specific reason: because of Republicans like Donald Trump and Tom Garrett, who view government as the enemy and as something to destroy, rather than something to serve the American people. Democratic Party candidates should not shy about laying blame for the nation’s ills — for Congress’ dysfunction — on Republicans like Tom Garrett. It isn’t just better politics, it has the benefit of being true.
The video passed my way and did its job. I went to Huffstetler’s campaign website, which has the heading “Solutions-Oriented Leadership for Congress” in large font, and explored it a bit. When it comes to “priorities,” I always check energy and environment first. Here are Huffstetler’s priorities:
ENERGY SOLUTIONS THAT PRESERVE VIRGINIA’S NATURAL BEAUTY, BUILD A STRONGER ECONOMIC BASE, AND LEAD TO TRUE ENERGY INDEPENDENCE.
The dangers of a changing climate are real and frightening, but we don’t fear the future in America, we build it. Let’s find innovative ways to address climate change that promote economic growth and enhance national security.
This rings real and on point with me, fitting into my thinking that we should be working toward a prosperous and secure climate-friendly future. We have before us ‘win-win-win’ solutions that can boost the economy while protecting the environment and enhancing national security. Huffstetler, in just a few dozen words, captures what I’ve been promoting and discussing with thousands of words. From a three-minute ad to rich campaign website to priorities that align with mine, Roger Dean Huffstetler can count me intrigued …
NOTE: While I do like what I see from Huffstetler, I am not a VA-05 voter and have not yet looked deeply at the other candidates. It appears that any of the four candidates (that I am aware of) would clearly provide better representation for VA-05’s voters than they get from Tom Garrett. The other candidates are: