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Can T-Mac Motivate the New Democratic Majority?

by: Elaine in Roanoke

Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 14:27:53 PM EST

In both 2008 and 2012, Barack Obama won the presidency and Virginia because he cobbled together a new Democratic majority, one composed of young voters under 40; women, especially single women; Blacks; Hispanics; Asians; Jews...just about everybody except for white men, older married women, and evangelicals.

I'm both heartened and worried about the emergence of that new majority, one that has the potential to rival the coalition FDR put together, a coalition that put in office political leaders who gave us the social safety net we have today. I'm heartened for the future, but I'm worried about the present, especially about state and local elections and the ability of Democrats to motivate those same voters to come to the polls in every election.

Key is the fact that Obama voters twice gave him victory. In 2008 many in the GOP rationalized his win as coming from the disgust of voters with George W. Bush, and that may have been somewhat true. However, the 2012 victory was achieved by President Obama running on his own record, in a time of horrible economic hangover from the first financial panic since the Great Depression. That's proof that Obama and his campaign leadership had the ability to appeal to the emerging Democratic majority I described and to set up the ground game to get out their vote.

We have a critical election coming up next year in Virginia, one that simply cannot duplicate the disaster that occurred in 2009. Bob McDonnell in moderate drag was bad enough. (Never forget he turned into "Transvaginal Bob.") Now, Ken Cuccinelli is trying to palm himself off as a mild-mannered middle-of-the-roader. We can't allow him to succeed. We need candidates in 2013 who can appeal to the new Democratic voters and can motivate them to action. If the Democratic ticket is composed of three white men over the age of 50 who simply come across as the same-old, same-old politicians, what appeal will they have to those up to now, presidential-only voters?  

Elaine in Roanoke :: Can T-Mac Motivate the New Democratic Majority?
The emerging Democratic majority is a diverse one, and some diversity on Democratic tickets could take advantage of that fact. I understand the difficulty of achieving that goal in a state that has elected so few women and minorities to political office. Diversity has been the exception, not the norm in Virginia.  Only one woman ever elected to Congress, only one woman ever elected to statewide office, only one Black statewide officeholder, and the first Hispanic ever elected to the General Assembly in 2012. Having said that, it would be refreshing to me if one of the three people on the Democratic ticket next year was not a white male. I won't hold my breath.

If Terry McAuliffe is to be our nominee for governor, he needs to understand just where his potential votes are and tailor his campaign to that inescapable fact. He will not win the majority of the white male vote in Virginia. President Obama didn't, but Obama found the votes he needed elsewhere. McAuliffe must do the same thing.

I would also suggest that T-Mac take a page out of the Doug Wilder-Paul Goldman playbook of 1989. Get yourself a pickup truck, Terry. Drive all over the state, stopping for interviews at local newspapers and television stations. Give people a chance to see who you are up close and personal. Talk less to people and listen more. Be brave enough to ask people what they are looking for in a governor and then tailor your campaign to meet their needs. Absolutely do NOT release a 40+-page report on your business plans for the Commonwealth. (I was probably one of the ten or so people who read it last time.) Go to Black churches, Hispanic neighborhoods, college campuses. Introduce yourself to Virginia. You have done that with activist Democrats. Now, comes the hard part - reaching the people.

I'll end on a different note. While pundits in the corporate media obsess about who the Republicans will run for president in 2016, I have my Democratic diversity "dream ticket": Hillary Clinton for President and Julian Castro, mayor of San Antonio, for Vice President. Run, Hillary, run. Run, Julian, run.

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Over the long term, the picture is bright (0.00 / 0)
We have representatives of diverse communities starting to rise through the Democratic ranks, like Alfonso Lopez, Charniele Herring, Mark Keam and Walter Tejada (and Chap, who married into the Korean community).  

Charniele ascending to DPVA leadership is a very positive sign -- and an opportunity that we cannot afford to waste.  We need aggressive recruitment programs for members of minority communities, we need to give these folks every opportunity to move upwards in the party and...sorry, but we need some of the old codgers in the party to retire rather than clinging to power until they have one foot in the grave.    

Dems need to learn to not just focus on the next election but to also think strategically and plan for the long game -- this is just one piece of that puzzle.  

For a Sustainable Virginia. Now on Twitter.

Wow, you are an optimist! (4.00 / 1)
I mean, we've got 32 seats out of 100 in the House of Delegates, we are barely hanging on to partial control in the State Senate, we don't hold any of the top three executive offices in the state, we've got an exceedingly thin "bench," we have a weak state party, etc, etc, yet you see the long-term picture as bright. How about this, whatever it is you put in your Cheerios this morning, can you send me some or let me know where to buy it? :)  Thanks.

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[ Parent ]
Uplifting Report from DPVA (4.00 / 1)
Actually, I was just sent this video of an uplifting report the DPVA is preparing:  

[ Parent ]
Yeah, that about sums it up! (0.00 / 0)

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[ Parent ]
Agree with Kindler (0.00 / 0)
The tide is turning in Virginia. Not only has the Cooch jumped the shark, he has brought shame and ridicule to Virginia. And I do not think women are going to take Gov. Vaginal Probe's potential heir and nutty AG on any election day date any time soon.

There's nothing in the middle of the road except yellow stripes and dead armadillos (Jim Hightower). PS I'm on Twitter here.

[ Parent ]
OK, I'm going to keep being "Debbie Downer" tonight. (4.00 / 1)
1. Virginia's CDs are drawn so that even though we won the presidential and U.S. Senate elections last month, Republicans have an 8-3 majority in the House delegation. That is NOT likely to change anytime soon (maybe until after the next redistricting, or whenever demographic change swamps the Republicans).

2. The House of Delegates districts are also gerrymandered so badly that, in combination with odd-year elections when our base doesn't show up, Dems have only 32 seats even though Obama won 53-54 in 2008, probably around 50 this time.

3. Cooch is already refocusing his message onto the economy, "liberty," "freedom," and other non-hot-button issues. If he does this consistently in 2013, he very well could convince the majority of voters to elect him, just as he did numerous times in purple/blue Fairfax.

4. People have short memories, and McDonnell's approval rating is already very strong. I'm not sure "transvaginal" and the "war on women" are going to have the impact next year that they did the past year or so, but we'll see.

Anyway, sorry to be a downer, but I'm just not feeling the "happy days are here again" optimism tonight. Time for a drink! LOL

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[ Parent ]
First Point (0.00 / 0)
It's really amazing to think about the first point. Yes, our House candidates were either super safe incumbents who didn't have to campaign to win or under-funded challengers with no name ID. And yet we still won the statewide House vote! We didn't just win the Presidential and US Senate elections, we essentially tied the Republicans 50%-50% in the House vote. And we're still at 3 House seats.

[ Parent ]
When the short term is bleak... (0.00 / 0)
...there's even more reason to get the long-term strategy right.  

For a Sustainable Virginia. Now on Twitter.

[ Parent ]
And who exactly is going to get the short-term strategy right? (0.00 / 0)
Let alone implement it effectively? Got me.

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[ Parent ]
T-Mac (0.00 / 0)
Back to T-Mac, there is little or no way that a diverse ticket will emerge in 2013. There is no way that Charniele Herring can turn the old fossil that is the DPVA around in time to help 2013. McAuliffe had better find a way to reach out to the people who only come out once every four years in the state, that is if he wants to win.

About Charniele Herring, I was very pleasantly surprised to get a phone call from her last week, actually asking me how I  thought the party should change and evolve to be more effective. Wow! What a change from Dick "I am the Emperor" Cranwell and Brian "Don't blame me. I'm a lobbist" Moran. God bless Charniele's heart, she's really good, too good for the DPVA, I'm afraid.

How about Ralph Northam, who just announced (0.00 / 0)
(although I got his announcement from a friend, not directly from Northam's campaign, which is very odd...)

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your commitment to the Democratic principles that have led us to historic victories in Virginia.  We all have much to be thankful for as we enter the holiday season, but looking back on the last year, it is clear that we also have a great deal of work ahead of us.

Reflecting on the lessons and consequences of the 2012 legislative session, it is evident that Republican control of the Virginia General Assembly has put our dearest values under attack.  While Virginians desperately needed their representatives to find solutions that would improve education, fix our broken transportation system, and help put people back to work, Republicans used their majority to launch an all-out assault on women, working families, and the LGBT community.

As I spoke on the floor of the Virginia Senate to defend a most basic right of women - the right to control their own bodies and personal health - I was struck by how far Virginia's government had strayed from its most fundamental mission of improving the lives of all Virginians. As a doctor, I have learned that I am supposed to heal, not harm; to lift people up, not keep them down.  With these lessons firmly in mind I am proud to announce my candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.

Serving our nation as a Major in the US Army, serving families struggling with tragic illness as a pediatric neurologist, and serving as a voice for my community in the Virginia Senate - service has always been a centerpiece of my life.  Now Virginia stands at a crossroads and voters must decide which path our Commonwealth will follow.  With a deep respect for the values we have fought for, I enter this battle as a humble servant and with the knowledge that none of us can take on this challenge alone.  Because of your service leading our Party, I respectfully seek your counsel and ask for your support in the months to come.

I look forward to seeing you soon and continuing this important conversation about Virginia's future.  Please feel free to share your thoughts about how we can work together to promote Democratic values in Virginia.


Senator Ralph Northam, MD

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Northam ... (4.00 / 1)
Technically, growing up on the Eastern Shore, Northam is part bivalve and would add significant diversity to the statewide ticket next year.  

[ Parent ]
Our Problem (4.00 / 1)
2008: 75% voter turnout; 2009: 40% voter turnout; 2010: 44% voter turnout; 2012: not official yet, but very close to 2008, around 70%. If there is a similar 40% voter turnout in 2013, the people who won't show up are mainly Democratic voters. That's our job, and it's a tough one. Convince those missing presidential-election voters to vote to select the statewide ticket next year. If we do, Cooch loses. If not,......

Turnout (0.00 / 0)
2006: 53%
2005: 45%
2001: 46%

We won't be able to get to Presidential turnout, but there's a lot that can be done to get our people out.  

[ Parent ]
Right, and we won in all three of those years. (0.00 / 0)
Looks like if we can break 50% voter turnout, let alone if we can get into the mid-50s, we should be in good shape next year. That seems doable, given the fact that we have a "villain from central casting" to run against. Now, we just need a "hero," and we should be all set. Any heroes available? :)

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[ Parent ]
Agree (4.00 / 1)
I agree that if we break 50% in turnout in 2013, we win. Getting there is what has me worried. DPVA has zero ground game, and they prove it every time we have an off-year election. The misplaced euphoria I saw among Democrats after 2008 contributed to the lousy results in 2009, 2010. McDonnell had a ground game and an effective campaign. Deeds had no campaign, much less no ground game.

We'll also hear out my way that there should be someone from the western half of the state on the 2013 ticket. That's laughable. We need diversity, not self-inflicted suicide.

[ Parent ]
Attend the DPVA 7-8 Dec. quarterly meetings in Williamsburg.... (0.00 / 0)
With a DPVA chair who has done nothing to fix the zero ground game problems now about to step down and his Exec. Director David Mills now gone, I believe you will see a more energized DPVA and better managed structure with new leadership at the top.

My personal hope is that Don Mark will be selected as Exec. Director (if Don hasn't already accepted a White House job as a result of his work as OFA Political Director). I was a bit surprised that the current first Vice Chair for Organization hasn't announced her candidacy for chair, but that may not be an internal issue that would hinder development of a better ground game and a much better strategy for DPVA fund-raising to help support HoD candidates. One reason among several that I would like to see Don Mark in the Exec. Dir. position is that he would have easy access to all the volunteer data base OFA developed, as well as access to the DNC for financial and other support.

I have noticed that since David Mills left the DPVA the "messenger" has been Brian Coy. Brian is good at what he has been doing, but I don't think he would be the right choice for Exec. Dir. But I'm sure by now the DPVA Steering Committee has already received resumes from more than one candidate for the job. Who the DPVA chooses as Exec. Dir. will be critical to how well the DPVA will handle development of a ground game and how well they can support new HoD candidates in 2013 and in 2015.

No doubt all the above will be discussed at length by the Steering Committee Friday evening and during the Central Committee meeting Sat. morning. This may well be one of the most important and decisive set of quarterly meetings I've ever attended and I'd highly recommend attendance by anyone posting here on BV who would like to just observe or would like to try to influence the outcome of the decision-making debates. This is an important opportunity for all of us and why I feel very optimistic about the possibility of major improvement in DPVA performance in 2013 and beyond.



[ Parent ]
Two points. (0.00 / 0)
1. Dave Mills is still on board, definitely not "gone."
2. Brian Coy is the same as he's always been, the DPVA Communications Director. No change there.

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[ Parent ]

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