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Lazy NY Times Reporting on 2021 VA Gov Race Erases Women of Color, Democrats Outside of NoVA

Writing to a pre-cooked identity-politics narrative

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by Cindy

Today’s New York Times article “Virginia Democrats, Thrilled With Biden Victory, Aren’t Looking for Carbon Copyoffers the following lazy, mindless thesis: just because Virginia suburban voters voted for Joe Biden (an experienced white man) this November does not mean they will vote for Terry McAuliffe (an experienced white man) in the Democratic primary in June 2021.

As proof, the author interviews a handful of mostly white, Northern Virginian suburban women activists, most of whom did not support Joe Biden during the Democratic primary. And the author includes none of the actual swing suburban voters of Chesterfield or Henrico, no one from Hampton Roads, no Black voters, only one NoVA Latina voter. Frankly, if those interviewed were representative of Virginia voters, Elizabeth Warren would have won the Virginia primary. These weren’t the Virginia voters who delivered Virginia for Joe Biden.

Truly, this article is an insult to just about everyone running in this race, and the voters as well. “Our Jennifers” (State Sen. Jennifer McClellan and Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy) are lumped together as “two Black women” who “threaten to cancel each other out,” like some math equation, rather than as unique candidates running for governor, each with entirely different political and personal backgrounds, strengths, core issues, and styles of legislating. (How can you manage to erase women of color while writing an article about women of color??) Similarly, equating Terry McAuliffe with Joe Biden is utterly ridiculous, since they too have *very* different backgrounds, styles, and strengths.

This article is forcing identity politics nonsense down our throats, making it seem as though we Virginia voters are too dim-witted to assess the candidates. Virginia voters are not going to simply pick “Black woman” or “White man” on their ballot. We’re going to listen to what the candidates have to say, what their positions are on issues we care about. We’re going to hopefully see them debate one another and get a better sense of how they might lead Virginia, how they will fight for workers’ rights, make Virginia’s economy green, protect our natural resources, fight for social justice and equity, protect marginalized communities, and what their plans are to repair the damage to our wellbeing and our economy from the COVID-19 crisis. And then we’ll vote.

Virginia set the tone and pace for the 2020 election way back in 2017. We were the first to hold elections during the Trump era, and we let the entire nation know that none of us were going to take it lying down—we weren’t just going to march, we were going to organize, run for office, knock doors, make calls, donate, vote, do whatever it took to resist. And the results have been obvious, keeping the statehouse, taking majorities in the House of Delegates and State Senate, picking up 3 Congressional seats, and winning in countless local elections. There was absolutely no chance that Trump was going to win Virginia. And frankly, that was true whether the Democratic candidate was Joe Biden or not. Come June, 2021, we’ll once again pick a Democratic nominee for Governor, and then we’ll work our tails off to make sure she or he wins in November, because above all else, we will resist having a GOP Governor.

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