By Stan Scott*

With elections rapidly approaching, it’s important to think about how Democrats can begin to compete as candidates in local elections. Demographic and other changes have created an electoral college map that favors Democratic Presidential candidates, but we still have difficulty winning at the local and state level. We can blame part of this on gerrymandering but I believe the real reason is that our candidates don’t motivate liberals to turn out and vote.
Though we did well at the state level in 2013, Democrats got hammered in the 2014 midterms. Our candidates lost because they ran away from Democratic policies and failed to point out Republican obstructionism. In fact, liberal policies won across the country, even in red states. Voters rejected personhood amendments in North Dakota and Colorado, and passed minimum wage increases in South Dakota and Nebraska as well as Arkansas. In each, Democratic candidates who waffled on these issues lost. Though many people would say the US is a “center-right” nation, everyone who studies politics knows that liberal policies often have wide popular support but the electorate has muddled views about how to get them in place.
This suggests that Democrats got hammered because they ran away from President Obama and liberal policies.  Whatever you think of him, Barack Obama is clearly the most astute politician of his generation (or at least the best since Bill Clinton). He is quite frankly the best liberal spokesman out there and even Republicans get this. The President tried to help them with this by pointing out that his agenda actually did appear on the ballot even if his name did not.  But Democratic candidates responded again and again by arguing that this was not so.
Democrats got hammered in 2014 because they didn’t run as Democrats, proudly supporting liberal policies and pointing out that Americans didn’t get those policies because Republicans blocked them at every turn. This kept liberal voters home – why turn out to vote for candidates that agree with the opposition and distance themselves from the Party leader who destroyed conservative opponents twice in elections that weren’t even close? 
Barack Obama proved that a liberal candidate who proudly and aggressively stands for Democratic values can turn out voters and win electoral majorities across the country. In the 7th Congressional District in Virginia — one of the most conservative in the Commonwealth and a Tea Party hotbed — more than 163,000 people voted for him in 2012. He out-performed the Democratic candidate for Congress in that election by 15,000 votes (and outperformed Dave Brat’s 2014 vote by 26,000!). Statewide, Obama received almost as many votes in 2012 as both Warner and Gillespie combined in 2014. The liberal votes are there, but they don’t show up for candidates who try to split the difference and play centrist while their opponents rile the base with hell-in-a-handbasket rhetoric. I believe that a few Obama visits to the state and bear hugs with Warner would have helped keep his election from being close. It’s not as if that many voters were genuinely on the fence.
Democratic values – equal opportunity, tolerance, support for the middle class and working poor, a strong social safety net, broadly shared prosperity, investment in infrastructure, strong national defense without fighting needless wars overseas, fiscal common sense, and consumer protection from corporate greed – are nothing to be ashamed of.  Democratic candidates should stand proudly in favor of them and point out the stark differences between the let’s-work-together-America Democrats support and the every-man-for-himself version Republicans promote. Liberals need to proudly express their views and turn out those who agree but rarely make it to the polls. While Democrats must work to deliver policy outcomes Americans want, they also need to make sure voters know what they stand for – and how they differ from Republicans.

*The opinions expressed here are those of the author and are not necessarily the views of the Hanvoer Democratic Committee.

 Date and Time September


Don't forget our monthly meeting Saturday, August 12 at 10 a.m. at Ashland Coffee and Tea. Lucy Cantrell, the executive Director for the Arc of Hanover, will discuss Medicaid Waivers for individuals with severe developmental disabilities and their families. You won't want to miss this important public policy discussion. As always, the coffee will be on us. See you there!

From Toni Radler Headquarters

Toni Radler has two fundraisers coming up this fall:

Delores Dunn and the Cady's Mill Road crowd, at Delores' home, 8078 Cady's Wood Drive, Hanover, on Thursday, September 17 at 6 p.m. featuring gourmet appetizers from Charlene Bernstein. For further information call 804-240-2162.

Addie Brugger and David Irving will dazzle with David's menu on Saturday, October 10 at 7 p.m. at Addie's home, 1973 Retreat Drive, Mechanicsville, 23111.

Help Toni work the Beaverdam Brew Jam on Saturday, September 12 from noon to 6 at Beaverdam Fairgrounds on Teman Road. 40 craft beers and hard cider.

Toni will be participating in a Tea Party Forum onTuesday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. at the American Legion Hall on Beaver Dam Road. 

It looks like Del. Fowler has refused to go up against Toni in a Forum sponsored by Friends of Hanover Schools, the Herald Progress, and Coalition for Hanover's Future. Call his office and tell him to engage with voters. 804-305-8867.

Toni's Signs Are In!

Come by the office at 124 Thompson Street and pick up your yard signs. We have plenty. Our office opens at 12:30 each afternoon. If you live west of Rt. 301 in Hanover, you're in the 55th District. Please put a sign in your yard. It's a great way to let your neighbors know that we have a candiate for the House of Delegates.

Virginia Democrats Announce Rapid Response Team


Hi Everyone,

Virginia Democrats united behind a strong and effective message will be a key component of victory in 2015, 2016 and beyond. Perhaps as important, we need to make sure that message is heard by as many voters as possible.

To that end, we're asking for your help in our efforts to beef up our ability to engage the media and spread Democrats' message. We're organizing a Rapid Response Team - a group of committed Democrats throughout the commonwealth with a strong social media presence, smart media skills, and a commitment to DPVA values. This Rapid Response Team will be our first line of defense when countering Republican lies and attacks and on the front lines of spreading the positive Democratic message. We will regularly develop talking points, sample social media posts, and other resources for distribution to this group. Additionally, we'll hold trainings on social media best practices and how to engage local media.

If you have media contacts, have a strong social media presence, or hope to build up either, please signup below. Also please spread the word to any other committed Virginia Democrats who may be interested.

Please click here to sign up and be a part of Democrat's rapid response team in Virginia.

Thank you for your interest. This will be an effective tool in ensuring that we are all united behind a single message and that every Democrat in Virginia has the tools for effective communication online, in print, and on air. 


Stephen Carter

DPVA Communications Director