I can’t improve on Troxell’s explanation – he was in these meetings – so I won’t try. My crack at a TL;dr is that because this system limits the number of votes from each local Unit (even if it does not limit the number of delegates from each local Unit) it creates incentives for candidates to capture local unit delegations, as they would in a more…conventional…convention. Sorry.
As I read it, the minority faction fought for a primary because they believe their preferred candidate, Amanda Chase, can win the nomination with a 35% plurality in a large field. They’re less confident in her ability to win a majority at a convention with rank-choice voting. Of course, they frame the problem as “establishment RINOs” controlling the convention results to make sure Chase has no chance, but it’s not clear how including the broader GOP electorate across Virginia helps the most extremist potential nominee.
In any event, I followed the saga as it unfolded and I think it’s important to note that through the entire debate the core question focused on how to best keep opponents from voting. We see no willingness among any of these factions to form a coalition in support of a set of common goals based on commonly accepted social agreements. At every turn each one sought to expand access to their members and deny it to others.
When someone tells you who they are believe them – and the GOP is telling us that conservatives see a no path to power in building coalitions. Easier to simply shut opponents out of the electoral process altogether, and Republicans across the country have moved to do this to Democrats.
In just over four months the number of confirmed covid-19 cases in Virginia has reached nearly 89,000. Of those confirmed cases, a little over 2,100 people have died [over 2200 now]. We can argue about inflated death numbers or under-counted people who have the virus but have never been tested all we want, but all of that is pure speculation, and cannot be quantified or counted. People who feel sick are getting tested. If you don’t feel sick and you test positive for the antibodies, do you really qualify as a victim of a disease you never knew you had? For now, let’s just deal with confirmed numbers.
Virginia has a population of about 8.536 million people. Based on the confirmed numbers listed above, only about 1% of the population of Virginia has contracted this virus, and 0.024% of the population of Virginia has died from it.
Virginia hit its highest number of daily reported cases on May 25th of this year at 1,439. When we once again compare that to our population of 8.536 million people, that means the greatest chance anyone had of contracting this disease on any given day is about 0.01%.
Mr. Staton thinks that a lockdown needed to happen based on what we knew four months ago, but now thinks it was not necessary then – and certainly not now – on the grounds that COVID isn’t really that much worse than the flu at the end of the day. After all, only 90K Virginians have gotten this deadly disease, and only 2100 2215 have died from COVID since the pandemic started.
One of the things we sometimes lose sight of during the “we need change now” and “but it’s politically difficult” discussion at the Presidential level is that a lot of real change happens at the local level. I’m convinced, for example, that the rising number of Commonwealth’s Attorney candidates in Virginia who ran on decriminalizing cannabis and criminal justice reform in general allowed the General Assembly to take action. They could see voters from both sides of the political spectrum support these campaigns, and this gave them “permission” in a way.
These local elections also matter in the sense that they help the Progressive coalition build a bench of candidates and elected officials with the experience and chops to run for higher office. Today’s Henrico County Commonwealth’s Attorney is tomorrow’s Virginia Attorney General.
An authoritarian figure who has joked about being President for life runs the Federal Government during a pandemic that could literally kill millions of Americans and disrupt society for months. States are postponing primary elections and struggling to figure out how voters can cast ballots while keeping social distancing. Understandably, some people worry that Donald Trump might take advantage of the crisis to stay in power.
These discussions focus narrowly on two questions: whether States could physically hold elections during a pandemic using modern systems and what would happen if they couldn’t. Most agree that elections can take place if state legislatures hurry up and figure out how to use expanded absentee voting, other voting by mail systems, or even the internet. They also think that if for some reason elections cannot be held, someone other than Trump would take power based on existing statute.
What none of these articles mention is the Electoral College and the role of state legislatures in choosing these Electors. This is the group that actually elects the President, as we found out the hard way in 2016. These days voters choose these Electors by casting votes at polling stations or by mail because state legislatures want it that way – this is not a Constitutional requirement. This means that elections for President and Vice President can take place as long as state legislatures can meet and choose Electors before Election Day.
So, in the argument between Merrill and Buttigieg, who is right? They both are. And the fact that Merrill doesn’t understand that point is part of the problem; and it’s a sign of what the 2020 Democratic nominee must fix.
One cannot even begin to talk about this issue without acknowledging that the white working class is quite literally dying. Mortality rates for middle-aged white Americans have been ticking upwards for nearly 20 years, led primarily by a sharp rise in “deaths of despair”—suicide, drug abuse, and alcohol abuse—among those without college degrees. According to research, these deaths are primarily driven by a lack of good jobs and the dysfunction that economic anxiety creates in the social fabric.
Buttigieg is right that Trump pretended to offer solutions for these voters specifically, and that certain aspects of Clinton’s messaging did not convey the urgency that people in these communities feel about their circumstances. It’s no accident that “learn to code” has become a scornful joke on both the right and the progressive left.
Merrill is also right that the solutions Trump offered were racist, vitriolic, and full of false promises. Trump blamed economic and social problems on immigrants, promised to use his supposed skill as a negotiator to fix trade deals and bring jobs back, and promised to use his bully pulpit to strongarm companies into keeping existing factories open and getting new ones built.
Contributors and staff at The Bull Elephanthave predicted the outcome of today’s elections and they deliver about what you’d expect from true believers. Most think the GOP will hold the House and some think Republicans will pick up 3 or more seats in the Senate, with one suggesting a 60-seat majority. Many argue that Corey Stewart will outperform polls and one thinks he could have won with more help from the Republican national and state parties. Almost all think Barbara Comstock will lose, but few think any other Democrats will win Virginia House seats they aren’t heavily favored to win (e.g., Don McEachin [D-4]). Continue reading →
I think Susan Collins had no good choice here. Her vote to confirm buys her a credible and well-funded challenger, but a vote the other way would likely have created a primary challenge from the right. It seems to me that while Collins has rarely deviated from conservative orthodoxy with respect to her actual votes, she has carefully cultivated a reputation as a moderate (chiefly by claiming to respect reproductive choice for women). This and incumbency has so far protected her politically, but Democrats (especially women) in Maine will now do everything they can to replace her. This challenge comes in 2020, when Democrats will also show up in force to vote against Donald Trump if he runs again. I think she had a better chance to win a challenge from the right and keep the seat by voting no on Kavanaugh but supporting his just-as-conservative replacement.
Joe Manchin faced a similar problem except that he depends on some level of support from conservatives to keep his seat where Collins depends on marginal liberals for hers. I would suggest to Senator Manchin that (like in Maine) a “right thing to do” vote against Kavanaugh would have kept enough conservatives in his corner as long as he votes to confirm Trump’s next choice. And as in Maine voting to confirm Kavanaugh will alienate Democrats he needs to win. It’s too late for a primary challenge from the left, but to win he needs every vote he can get, and many women will now stay home. Continue reading →
“Whenever I’m in New York, I can work myself into this state of really bleak despair, and then I go out and travel and meet … it’s not even necessarily Democratic Party activists as much as Indivisible activists or Democratic Socialists of America chapters or these sort of grass-roots groups that have sprung up since the election and are just doing so much work. And it always makes me feel so much more hopeful about the future.
You hear the same story over and over again of these kind of middle-aged women who, they voted, but they didn’t necessarily pay super close attention to primaries, maybe they had to look up what congressional district they were in, and who woke up the day after the election and were so shattered and looked around for somewhere they could go and found either an offshoot of Pantsuit Nation or a local Indivisible meeting.
And you meet these women, and they go to meetings now four or five nights a week. They have all new friends. They are just astonishing organizers, and they’re kind of using this intense local knowledge that they have. You can’t replicate that when it comes to canvassing, somebody who just knows everyone on the block. So you see that being deployed everywhere, and that I think is why you’re seeing these numbers in some of the special elections, these swings that are even bigger than the swings you see on the generic ballot.”
I can tell you that I saw the same thing all over Virginia’s First Congressional District during the primary campaign this spring, and these folks don’t seem to be tiring. So I’m more optimistic than some of my fellow Progressives that we’re really about to see a Blue Wave in November.
The Williamsburg-James City County Indivisible group has invited me to speak about the Electoral College at their meeting on 29 August. This talk will take place at the James City County Library at 7770 Croaker Road in Williamsburg from 6:30 to 9:00 PM.
I’ll discuss how and why the men who wrote the Constitution settled on this method for selecting a President, including how slavery created the conditions that made direct election of the President all but politically impossible. I’ll also discuss efforts to eliminate the EC or render it moot.
Please join me and the WJCC Indivisibles for an informative evening and a chance to meet new Democratic activist friends.
Corey Stewart likes to pal around with people like Paul Nehlen and Jason Kessler. Nehlen is an anti-Semite who jokes on Twitter about killing political opponents. Kessler organized the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville last August. A rally attendee and Kessler supporter killed Heather Heyerwith his car. Two Virginia State Troopers, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Virginia, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M. M. Bates, 40, of Quinton, Virginia, died when their observation helicopter crashed on their way to assist authorities on the ground. Kessler plans a sequel, by the way. Wonder if Stewart will attend. Continue reading →