Virginia Is On The Brink Of Cementing Its Democratic Status
Here's some good news for Dems. In fact, it is downright exciting political news!
"Democrats are poised to take control of both of Virginia’s state legislative chambers on Tuesday, bringing the state under unified Democratic control for the first time in a quarter century.
The party needs to pick up three seats in the House of Delegates and two seats in the state Senate to take control of both chambers. Polling indicates that those margins are well within Democrats’ reach.
Democratic takeovers in both legislative chambers would have far-reaching implications for the state’s policies and politics. The party, which also controls the governor’s office, would have the chance to pursue a host of liberal priorities like an increase in the state’s minimum wage, laws protecting LGBTQ rights and abortion rights and tougher gun safety regulations.
It would also mark the culmination of Virginia’s yearslong transformation from a conservative state ― which once was the seat of the Confederacy ― to a progressive one that is not only reliably Democratic in presidential elections, but whose state politics are heavily influenced by a cohort of liberal Democrats that would have been unrecognizable even a decade ago.
[. . .]
And don’t expect the Democrats in Virginia to be moderate quasi-Republicans. The state party has been winning its elections with candidates who are more progressive than the traditional Southern Democrats, touting policies like gun control.
[. . .]
Many of the top priorities for Democrats once in power would be the sort of socially liberal reforms for which there is broad support in the increasingly affluent, suburban state.
Tougher gun regulations would almost certainly swiftly become law. In the wake of a mass shooting in Virginia Beach that killed 12 people in May, Northam sought to pass a package of reforms to close background check loopholes for private sales and transfers and forbid the sale of assault rifles, high-capacity magazines and silencers, among other things. The Republican-controlled legislative chambers blocked the measures in a special legislative session in July.
Legislation aimed at protecting LGBTQ residents from discrimination is also likely to pass very quickly. . . .The legislative victory will be especially poetic for Democrats if Danica Roem, the state’s first openly transgender lawmaker and a first-termer seeking reelection, is one of the legislators casting the deciding vote.
Republican Kelley McGinn, Roem’s challenger and an opponent of LGBTQ adoption, has sold her candidacy as an opportunity to “send in a mom,” of which she said the legislature needs more.
When Roem responded at a debate last month that she is a mom as well, the Prince William County Republican Party questioned her right to call herself that in a tweet it later deleted.
[. . .]
Virginia Democrats would have the chance to adopt more expansive protections for abortion rights and ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
[. . .]
. . . Virginia’s ratification would make it the final state needed to actually amend the Constitution. . . . [N]ot only have Democrats vowed to raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour, many are also on record in support of . . .
States with right-to-work laws almost all have weaker unions and lower average wages, but such laws have long been the norm in Southern states, which see them as essential to attracting business investment.
[. . .]
Democrats are likely to enter Virginia into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a consortium of largely progressive states that have voluntarily adopted tougher greenhouse gas reductions than are required by the federal government.
With the support of Dominion and Appalachian, [Democratic Governor] Northam has proposed a clean energy standard that would make the state 100% carbon-free by 2050. . . .
[. . .]
The prospect of losing their influence in Virginia has Republicans understandably spooked. If they lose their last bastions of power there, they are not entitled to have a say in the statewide redistricting process in 2021 after the next national census.
[. . .]
When Virginia voted for Barack Obama in 2008, it was the first time the state had voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1964.
Some observers characterized that outcome as Virginia’s de facto political secession from the South, Kidd recalled.
Flipping the legislature this year with a more diverse, more progressive group of Democrats, he said, “would be a reaffirmation of that secession from the South ― and it would be on the shoulders of a newer America.”
Well, I offer my heartiest congratulations to the State of Virginia. Good job! Hope a number of other states are closely observing the political miracle you pulled off and are planning to imitate your successful strategies. If they do, we may very well get the orange blob out of the oval office, whether he wants to go or not!