“Ugh. Can’t we stop knocking doors for a few months?” my son asks. “Why are there elections every year?” It may seem like a curse sometimes, but here’s the thing: the best thing you can do to defeat Trump in 2020 is to help Virginia win in 2019.
In early 2017, donations came in from every single state in the nation for a state legislative special election in Virginia, from Americans desperate for any sign that the November 2016 results were just an aberration, a mistake.
As 2017 continued, we–and activist groups around the country–watched a Prince William County clerk of the court election with super-sized excitement, a Fairfax school board race with almost religious zeal.
Finally, as November 2017 made its approach, donors, texters, phone bankers, and volunteers swarmed on Virginia from all corners of the country. The entire nation watched to see whether Virginia Democrats would take the Governor’s mansion, and pick up seats or even the majority in the General Assembly. Why? Not because Americans desperately wanted Virginia to be able to pass progressive legislation. No. Because Virginia is the bellweather state, the state with off-year elections that can light a spark felt everywhere.
And that spark—the stronger than expected performance of Virginia Democratic candidates—inspired and energized donors, texters, phone bankers, and volunteers all over the country to do it for THEIR local races. To work on their legislatures, their Congressional seats, and their attorneys general and governor races. If Virginia could do it, well surely they could do it too!
And that energy DID help them do it. Democrats picked up 40 US House seats, 309 state legislative seats, flipping 6 chambers, 7 governorships, and 4 Attorneys General.
So, here we are again. Another election year. It’s tempting to look ahead to 2020. There’s a football team’s worth of candidates running in a primary to take on Trump in 2020. And it’s tempting to lose ourselves in all the drama and discussion that entails. But 2020 will be won or lost on the energy and turnout of Democrats. Our belief in our power to vote, and our power to get other to vote.
Here’s the kind of inspiration that will get people out to vote in 2020. How about 2019 headlines like these:
“Virginia House Speaker Who Blocked ERA Vote Ousted by Woman!”
“Virginia GOP Refuses to Act on Gun Violence, Loses Majority!”
“Voters Put a Doctor in the House to Replace Medicaid Opponent.”
Be a patriot, save your country: dedicate yourself for the next 100 days to some 2019 General Assembly candidates!