One of the biggest tests for Virginia Democrats this November will be whether or not we can maintain (or even come close to) the levels of voter enthusiasm and turnout compared to 2017-2020, when the “resistance” to Trump was in high gear, and when Republicans were swamped by a “blue wave”/”blue tsunami.” With Trump out of the White House – albeit most certainly NOT out of the picture – and with the country still threatened by a radicalized, extremist, authoritarian, anti-democracy Republican Party, the question isn’t so much whether Virginia voters will move from “blue” to “purple” or “red,” but whether Democratic voters will show up this fall.
The other day, Del. Dan Helmer (D-HD40) – who represents a western Fairfax/Prince William County district that went “blue” in 2017-2020, but which also voted for Ed Gillespie over Mark Warner in 2014 and for Ken Cuccinelli over Terry McAuliffe in 2013 – talked about the challenge of Democrats experiencing “voter fatigue” and how to “motivate people to get back out there and remember how important it is.” Check out Helmer’s response, below, as it’s really spot-on:
Del. Dan Helmer: “You know, we’ve had the most important election for our lives for five years now, and we’ve had it every year because we’re Virginia, and we’re crazy. And to me, if you look at what happened at the Capitol on January 6th, it is just astonishing that we were that close to losing our democracy. And those same forces that massed on Capitol Hill on January 6 to stop a free and fair election, that for months put pressure on election officials, who are the uncelebrated bureaucrats of our democracy…those forces have not gone away. They’re being embraced by people like my opponent, who have called into question not just now but in the past, the integrity of elections, And we just can’t allow that to stand. And what we’re seeing is that elections like mine are tight; we’re running on lines that were drawn by Republicans for Republicans – I mean, we are effectively in a tie in this race right now. And so if you want what happened on January 6th, if you want the ideology, the incompetence and the malevolence of the past four years, to be the way in which Virginia is governed, then you can take a knee. But if not, that’s what we’re up against here, that fires me up to get out the door to do all of the things we know that we can do when Democrats have a majority here in Virginia – and to also make sure that we don’t allow those powers, that darkness to descend on a Commonwealth that has been a bright spot in a terrible a time.”
As Arlington Dems Chair Jill Caiazzo responded: “That’s a call to action if I’ve ever heard one. Arlington Democrats, we don’t take the knee, we hold the line.”