Home 2024 Elections Video and a Few Thoughts on Last Night’s VA07 Democratic Forum

Video and a Few Thoughts on Last Night’s VA07 Democratic Forum

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See below for a few thoughts from last night’s VA07 Democratic forum/debate (see video, below), with seven Democratic candidates vying to be the party’s nominee (the primary is on June 18, with early voting starting next Friday) to replace Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA07), who is vacating the seat in order to run for governor of Virginia in 2025.

  1.  Very nice job by the organizers (the Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania and Stafford Dems; the UMW Young Dems; the Fredericksburg Free Press), in live streaming the debate, in addition to having a large in-person crowd there. These debates are very useful – a chance to see the candidates in action, side by side, making it easy to compare/contrast – and they should be available for voters to watch – whether they can physically make it to the debate or not.
  2. Good selection of questions, covering a wide variety of topics. The only quibble I have is that there were too many candidates to have everyone respond to every question, making it harder to do what I mentioned in point #1 – compare/contrast the candidates’ responses to all the questions. Still, if you watch the debate, I think you’ll get a good feel for who these candidate are and where they’re coming from.
  3. For the most part, there didn’t seem to be any major disagreements or stark ideological differences among the candidates – all are Democrats, after all, so the stark differences will be with whoever the MAGA/far-right Republicans end nominating. However, there were definitely differences between the candidates in terms of how they *talked* about the issues. For instance, some candidates – and if you’ve followed my Twitter feed or this blog for any length of time, you know this REALLY drives me nuts – described failures of “Congress” generically, when in fact, *overwhelmingly* the problem for years now has been *Republican*/*right-wing* obstruction and dysfunction. For instance, in the aftermath of the Newtown mass shooting, it wasn’t “Congress” generically which failed to pass gun violence prevention measures, it was overwhelmingly *REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS*, and they should be called out specifically, by name, and not lumped into a blanket condemnation of “Congress” generically.  So, no, it’s not “both sides of the aisle” or “Washington” or “Congress” or “politicians” generically that’s the problem – and I personally am NOT going to support any candidate who falsely frames things that way.
  4.  It continues to disappoint me that the climate crisis doesn’t get a lot higher billing at these Democratic debates/forums. Because IMHO at least, there are two clearly existential, overiding issues – whether we have a democracy (from the “internal” polling I’ve seen, that’s a huge issue for likely Democratic voters) and whether we have a habitable planet (that’s also a major issue for likely Democratic voters, although not as high as democracy, abortion/reproductive rights, guns and healthcare) – that override everything else, no matter how important all those other issues are (note: my view on this goes back at least to 2003, when then-presidential-candidate, Gen. Wesley Clark, talked about the two things that would really matter in 100 years – namely, “a hundred years out you have to think of the environment and your legal, constitutional institutions.”).
  5.  For some information on how these candidates are doing in terms of fundraising, see here (Vindman $1.8M cash on hand, Bailey $188k cash on hand, Guzman $148k cash on hand, Franklin $141k cash on hand, Sewell $55k cash on hand, Bedell $30k cash on hand, Heinzer $24k cash on hand). Now, money certainly isn’t everything, but most political analysts do look at how much cash-on-hand a candidate has to determine whether or not they have a good shot at winning the nomination. 

Anyway, here’s the video – check it out and share your thoughts in the comments section, if you’re so inclined. 🙂

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