With the Virginia General Assembly Special Session on gun violence prevention coming up this Tuesday, the following video – of HD87 GOP nominee Bill Drennan talking about how commonsense gun violence prevention measures both violate his constitutional rights and are like “fingernails down a blackboard to me” – is very relevant. Because, sadly, the attitude on display here isn’t confined only to hard-right, Trumpian Republicans like Drennan (who, among other things, believes that “red-flag laws…are designed to strip citizens of their unalienable rights” and that the “right to keep and bear arms is foundational to the Constitution and to uphold liberty under law”), but to many – if not most – of Virginia’s Republican officeholders and candidates.
Specifically with regard to Drennan, he’s running in a heavily “blue District (e.g., won by Tim Kaine 67%-31% in November 2018, and by Ralph Northam 64%-35% in November 2017) in Loudoun County (90%) and Prince William County (10%), but that doesn’t mean we can let our guard down, kick up our feet and take it easy, or just assume that the general election November will take care of itself. For starters, we should want to elect the Democratic nominee, Suhas Subramanyam, by a huge margin, for starters because Subramanyam’s a great guy and strong progressive who’s going to make a superb delegate. In addition, a big victory by Subramanyam will help other Democratic candidates on the ballot in Loudoun County and, to a lesser extent, in Prince William County, win their elections. And finally, it would be great to send a resounding message of rejection to Bill Drennan and his hard-right, Trump Republican ideology.
Speaking of Drennan, check out the video, in which he blathers about how he hates the phrase “commonsense gun laws,” which he says is like “fingernails down a blackboard to me.” Furthermore, according to Drennan’s misreading of the Constitution, any restrictions whatsoever on his gun rights would be both wrong and also just as egregious as restricting his freedom of speech or religion based on “your definition of commonsense laws.” Uh huh. Drennan also rants about how, supposedly, President Obama and Hillary Clinton (but of course! LOL) were supposedly hell-bent on “redefin[ing] freedom of religion” and bemoans how “leftist administrators” on college campuses are (according to Drennan) busy restricting “hate speech” and how that’s supposedly a bad thing. Listen, by the way, as the audience justifiably starts moaning in pain, having to listen to Drennan’s ridiculous right-wing echo chamber rhetoric.
Frighteningly, this is the type of Republican we’re facing all around Virginia this year. In Loudoun County and Prince William County alone, there are numerous other examples of Drennan-style, hard-right Republicans (e.g., Geary Higgins in SD13, John Whitbeck for Loudoun County Board Chair, John Gray for Prince William County Board Chair, Del. Dave LaRock in HD33). So yes, I know that Democratic activists are increasingly focusing time and attention on the 2020 presidential race, but remember, it’s absolutely crucial that we first win elections THIS November, for the entire General Assembly and for an array of important local offices. Which means we must not take our eyes off the ball; stay focused and let’s get the job done, then move on to 2020 and getting rid of Trump/Trumpism once and for all.
P.S. Drennan also likes ranting about “Socialism,” about “radical candidates who support sanctuary cities,” about “Radical leftist billionaire Tom Steyer” and about “[h]is fellow leftist billionaire, George Soros, [who] just bought two Commonwealth Attorney races in Northern Virginia by providing millions to radical candidates who support sanctuary cities.” Also, Drennan believes that “anti-American Leftism that dominates today’s Democrat [sic] Party” and that “‘social justice warriors’…see America as irredeemable and are dedicated to waging a futile battle to make the past more to their liking.” In short, the guy’s wayyyyy off into far-right la-la land.