I am a Democrat for a lot of reasons, but primarily, because they are the party that cares about the poor and the middle class. I’m not talking about giving lip service to them during election season. I’m talking about creating real policies that makes the lives of those who weren’t born into rich families better. The Democrats have been on the front line for better wages, affordable child care, food subsidies and elder care. I do not understand how anyone who isn’t already rich could vote with the Republicans, who seem to believe that people are poor because they don’t try hard enough to be rich.
Republicans believe that a person who filed bankruptcy four times, bankrupted a university and failed at managing casinos should be applauded for his efforts, but poor people who catch a bus two hours each way to work for a minimum wage should be ridiculed for theirs. Republicans seem to govern by punishing the poor to make them work harder while coddling the rich.
But they are particularly good at one thing: setting the narrative. It’s amazing to watch the way Republicans manipulate the media, stay on message and change the conversations sometimes as quickly as overnight. In what seemed like days, John Kerry’s military record went from hero to zero after he was “Swiftboated” by veterans with the help of the Republican Party, who successfully went after his war record even though Kerry ran against George Bush, who had a record of dodging military service. It is through media manipulation that a billionaire can run as a populist in 2016. And that manipulation is pervasive in national elections as well as local ones.
On Tuesday, Virginia goes to the polls to elect their next governor and Republican candidate Ed Gillespie has run one of the most racist’s campaigns that I can remember. He has actually out “Willie Horton”-ed the elder George Bush’s campaign. His ads have featured pedophiles and El Salvadorian prisons. His commercials are filled with talk of sanctuary cities and MS-13 gangs. He’s running on the “vote for me or the scary Mexicans will get you” platform. And if that didn’t scare you to the polls, he’s sent out mailers with Colin Kaepernick and NFL players kneeling because in Virginia where we have no football team, that’s important.
Even with all that is happening on the national stage, Democrats in Virginia have already started the blame game they will employ if their candidate isn’t elected, with mutterings that the main cause would be black voter turnout. If black people don’t come out to vote, then Democratic candidate Ralph Northam loses. Saving the commonwealth is up to black voters.
There weren’t numerous op-eds to discuss why the black communities did what they did, because people didn’t care."
Since the 2016 election, all I’ve heard about are rural white voters and how they were so distraught about the economy they elected Trump, even as Republican policies will negatively affect the majority of them. There has been town hall after town hall to talk to these voters, and numerous articles on all the liberal media. It was particularly frustrating because no one went into black communities to ask them why they voted for Hillary. There weren’t numerous op-eds to discuss why the black communities did what they did, because people didn’t care.
The DNC, in its effort to appease the unappeasable Bernie Sanders and his supporters, have started again chasing these rural white voters, too. The DNC actually created a unity commission with a bunch of people except the people who vote time and time again for Democrats, black voters. Our needs and wants are pushed to the background to make way for fickle, millennial supporters of Bernie Sanders. Now, with an election on the line which will be the first real test of the Trump presidency, Democrats want to lay a loss at the feet of black voters.
Right now, Northam is polling around 37 percent with white voters. That’s after all the blatant racists’ ads from the Gillespie campaign. Why aren’t white voters coming out to stop the white supremacists in Virginia? Why aren’t they coming out to send a message that Virginia is better than what happened in Charlottesville? Northam is running on expanding Medicaid, sensible gun legislation, investment in schools and infrastructure. This isn’t a “black-centric” platform, so why is his support with white Virginians so low.
Either way, if Northam squeaks out a win, white voters will be applauded. If Northam loses, black enthusiasm will be blamed. It is mind-boggling that after the 2016 election, the only lesson the democrats have learned is to chase even harder after unicorns: rural white Democrats.
I’ve been a Democrat all my adult life ― again, for a variety of reasons. On Tuesday, I hope that the voters of Virginia vote for Northam because he’s the better candidate and he will be better for Virginia. And when it’s time for the analysis of the Virginia governor’s election, the DNC needs to take a real hard look at their current strategy and make changes. They should focus their energy on stopping Republican voter suppression tactics and make real efforts to turn out black and brown voters. That’s how to win local and national elections. The DNC should be the party that welcomes all people ― not one that has to cater to racist ideology.