Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Resisting Trump By Fighting Racial Gerrymandering And Taking Back State Legislatures-- Like In Virginia


As we've been explaining, Republicans hold a record number of state legislative seats right now. This is not because more people vote for them. Democrats aren't losing elections, as the so-called Democrat Jim Webb asserted on Meet the Press Sunday, because Democrats are too focused on "identity politics" or because we’ve moved too far to the left. This is because Republicans prevent people from voting and racially gerrymander statehouses across the country. With operation REDMAP and a slew of partisan policies, Republicans have systematically taken control of both houses of 32 state legislatures across the country, including in one of the two states with state level elections being held this year-- Virginia.

In Virginia, Republicans used these tactics to take 66 of the 100 seats in the state house, despite the state having two Democratic Senators, a Democratic Attorney General and Governor, and having gone blue in every single one of the last three Presidential elections. Clinton beat Trump in November 1,916,845 (49.9%) to 1,731,156 (45.0%). Just as an example, courts ruled in both 2014 and 2015 that Virginia’s congressional districts were racially gerrymandered and needed to be changed and in 2016 the Supreme Court accepted a case arguing that 12 state legislative districts were racially gerrymandered as well.

Reversing years of new Jim Crow laws and winning a 51-seat majority in the state house is not a one cycle project. But it is something that we need to start now if we are ever going to pass fair district maps. And passing fair maps is what we need to do if we’re ever going to have a chance to take back and hold Congress.

That’s why I want to introduce you to Josh King. Josh is one of the top Delegate races in Virginia this year. He ran in 2015 and came within 125 votes of winning the seat, despite only being in the race for four months and being outspent 3:1. But now Mark Dudenhefer, the incumbent Republican, is retiring. Better yet, the district went for Hillary in a landslide-- by over 20 points. The district has parts of Prince William and Stafford counties. It's been pretty reliably Democratic in recent races. In the last gubernatorial race McAuliffe took the district against Cuccinelli 53-42%. The next year Mark Warner beat Ed Gillespie for U.S. Senate 52-46%. In 2012 Obama won the district against Romney 58-40% and Tim Kaine beat George Allen 59-41%. The district goes south from Woodbridge along the Potomac to Quantico, heads further south down to Arkendale and Widewater Beach and west to Tacketts Mill and Roseville. This is definitely one where we can turn a Republican-held seat Blue... and progressive.

Goal Thermometer This week Blue America endorsed Josh King, our first endorsement of 2017 for a Virginia legislative seat. There will likely be more. Meanwhile I asked Josh to introduce himself and explain why he's running and what he hopes to accomplish in the legislature. Please take a look-- and if you agree, please consider making a contribution to his campaign by tapping the ActBlue thermometer on the right. And, remember, this election is in 2017, not 2018.

What I Stand For
-by Josh King

My name is Josh King. I'm an army vet, a deputy sheriff, and I'm running for the Virginia House of Delegates in the 2nd District.

Three years ago my autistic daughter, Josclyn, was forced to go a year without a teacher because the public school she was assigned to couldn't afford one. In a state with one of the best education systems in the country, there was no money for her or six other special needs children. And when I investigated, I found that time and time again resources were being sent to privileged communities while minority communities like mine had their kids put in trailers and their best teachers hired elsewhere.

It's unacceptable. No child-- especially one with special needs-- should go a year without a teacher.

If elected, I will fight discrimination in every form it takes. Whether its requiring voter IDs at polling places, racial gerrymandering in our state, education funding going to wealthy communities first, mass deportation of immigrants, placing environmentally toxic coal ash sites in my district without the proper safety controls, pay inequality, or taking away women’s rights to make their own healthcare decisions.

As a father with three kids I also know that we need a living wage for every person. Far too many people in our community-- including my mother and my sister-- work two or more jobs and can’t make ends meet when something goes wrong. They’re left out in a cold when a car breaks down, a family member gets sick, or, God forbid, they get sick and can’t work. They don’t have the savings and they can’t afford to take a sick day. They’re living paycheck to paycheck and just praying that gas prices don’t rise.

If elected, I will fight for working class families and make sure they get fair wages. The fight for $15 is real and big banks need to be broken up and the top 1% should make up the difference in the minimum wage gap. No family should have to work two to three jobs, like my mother and sister do, just to feed their family and pay bills.

Finally, I want to say that as a Deputy Sheriff, I know that criminal justice reform is long overdue. There are too many mental health patients that are incarcerated when they just need help. There is an enormous homeless population, which includes veterans, that has not been addressed. These people need jobs, treatment, and homes, not jail cells.

These are the issues that motivate me and that I will fight for. I hope you will join our campaign to take this seat and turn Virginia blue.

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At 8:27 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

He sounds like a terrific candidate.

At 7:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good candidate? But "taking back state leges"... by whom or what?

Democraps? Who can't wait to widen the wage gap so their billionaire donors get richer? Who evidently could not care less if blacks vote? Who love FTAs, wars, tax cuts for the rich? You think they'll waste political capital on redistricting when they could spend it on enrichment?

If that's what you expect, you have been asleep for 4 decades.

At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't know or understand VA politics then, and you should go back to sleep.

At 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fine. If the democraps are elected and fix VA districting... I'll eat my comment above.

Won't need to though. I think you know that. Wake me if I'm wrong.


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