See below for video and transcribed highlights from Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria/Arlington)’s kickoff last weekend, in which he argued that the upcoming 2020 elections are comparable in importance to the crucial elections of 1800, 1860 and 1932. Del. Levine further argues that, in addition to the importance in and of itself that Democrats take back the Virginia General Assembly this November, that the 2019 Virginia elections will help set the stage for the 2020 national elections. Check it out…very interesting argument, also very well articulated/delivered.
P.S. Thanks to Del. Levine for his work in pushing to change the name of “Jefferson Davis Highway” – as Del. Levine correctly put it, “a primary highway that honors a racist traitor and slaveowner who led the fight to take up arms against our nation in order to preserve the brutal system of slavery” – to “Richmond Highway.” It’s about friggin’ time!
- “We are at one of those points where I think sometimes when you’re in the middle of it, you know you’re in the forest, you don’t see the forest, you just see the individual trees. We’re at a crisis point in America right now. And…being a student of history, I’ve thought about other historic moments in American history, I was thinking about three elections that I consider as important as 2020. I’ll get to 2019 in a minute. And the three elections I thought of were 1800, 1860 and 1932.“
- “…the great election of 1800 which, was a knockdown, drawn-out angry election, where Jefferson barely wins, gets rid of the Sedition Act, protects the First Amendment.”
- “Then of course the election of 1860; the country is about to fall into civil war. You have southern states who…want to expand slavery…and they’re willing to fight and die to enslave other Americans…By the time Abraham Lincoln wins that election, before he even gets into office, seven states have seceded…talk about an election that changed America.”
- “1932 economic crisis, Great Depression, Herbert Hoover’s making all the wrong economic moves. And corporations, rich people speculating the stock market, they’re very rich and their failure causes the whole country to collapse. We actually had a similar collapse in 2008. Thank god we had a President Obama who knew what to do or it could have been worse than the Great Depression. But in 1932, it wasn’t clear what was going to happen. Over in Germany, fascism was getting started…and don’t think that we in America are exempt from fascism. There was a guy on the radio, Father Charles Coughlin, priest, who preached fascism, who preached anti-Semitism, who preached hatred who preached scapegoating. And there was a lot of support in America for the Nazis in the 1930s – even heroes like Charles Lindbergh. And Franklin Roosevelt…won in a landslide and showed people that good government, good policies, allowing ordinary people to have a chance, could take away all these crazy ideas of blaming others for our economic misfortune. Started regulating corporations, making sure that they obeyed the law. Critical elections.”
- “So here comes 2020, what do we have? We have a president who calls the press the ‘enemy of the people’…We have a president who’s appealing to white supremacy and doing his best to separate us, to put us in warring camps, to get us to hate each other, bragging about which side has more guns, actually encouraging violence, reminds me of 1860. And we have a president who’s all about helping corporations harm ordinary people, helping massive multinational corporations get rich with a massive corporate tax cut, while ordinary people are getting poorer and poorer. In 2019, 1% of America owns 40% of the nation’s wealth. The top 5% have 2/3 of the nation’s wealth. The top 10% has 80%. The top 20% has 90 percent of the entire wealth of the whole country…50% half of all Americans own practically nothing, living paycheck to paycheck. And I remember 1932.“
- “So to me, what’s going on in America combines the three most important elections in our history – and we face them all…in 2020, along with the constitutional crisis...We have a president who says I’m not gonna obey the Constitution…President Obama didn’t get to choose the nominee he was allowed to choose under the Constitution for the first time in American history…that had never been done in 200 plus years. And now I’m worried there’s a bunch of toadies on the Supreme Court. I’m very worried about our country and I know y’all are too. I know everyone in this room is too.”
- “2020 will be, I think, like 1800, 1860, 1932. But here’s the thing; we in Virginia and only in Virginia, we get a head start on 2020, no one else in the nation gets this. We are one of four states to have elections in 2019, and the only state in the country where we can flip the House and the Senate in Virginia…the country is looking to us in Virginia to set the marker for 2020.”
- “And then of course the miracle of 2017…I said if we get 10 delegates, I’ll be thrilled; we got 15…Then after our tremendous success in 2017, we took the House in 2018. The only reason why the President of the United States has any kind of oversight right now is because of a Democratic House of Representatives that came there because people had all the momentum from our Virginia election.”
- “When bad things happen, you can crawl under the covers and you can be upset, you have every right to cry, but it doesn’t solve anything…We can win in Virginia in 2019. We can set the stage for America in 2020. We are this close…We need two seats [in the House of Delegates]…this is a year to make a difference.”
- “I am excited, not just about helping all these people, I’m excited what we can do about guns, to make sure that we’re not flooded with people who shouldn’t be having guns having guns shooting up our schools. I’m excited about health care; we can dramatically reduce health care costs right here in Virginia. I’m excited about the Equal Rights Amendment. I’m excited about a firm LGBT non-discrimination law, rainbow rights, that I put forward every single year, but give us a majority and we’re gonna pass itE. I’m excited about education. I’m excited about what we can do for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence…We can do so much with just two more seats…We can change Virginia, we can change America. Every time you-know-who does you-know-what, don’t get mad, get even.”