Monthly Two Cents

Stay United

by Daniel W. McGraw

We have made great strides in Virginia and across the nation. Even globally, we are seeing cultural shifts from isolationism to globalism. Race relations, health care, the environment, and livable wages are at the forefront of many conversations. Even the idea of “automatic basic income” is starting to be part of significant governmental conversations. Americans across the country are evaluating previous laws and amending them to provide as much equity as possible.

Unfortunately, digital media platforms allow for small snippets of information or taint several gains. Let me give an example: I watched a TikTok video that lasted for about 40 seconds. In it, a person claimed to not have cared about race, sexuality, gender identity and disabilities until too many people were making them into a “big deal.”

In other words, someone who had never experienced or noticed prejudice is now appalled that lawmakers, educators, and news reporters are encouraging these topics to be part of the mainstream media. 

Social issues cannot be whittled down to a 40-second clip. But, that is exactly what happens often when people are unaware of the full context. They build up straw men and then tear them down because any conversation of significance can take place. With every passing day, I see more Americans receiving a true education of our past, present and potential future. Democrats are increasingly finding themselves on the right side of history. Now is not the time to slow down. We need to recharge our efforts.

In the news and on social media, we see many conspiracy theorists blaming election outcomes on fraud, media bias and Critical Race Theory. Many localities have wasted money disproving the conspiracy of election fraud, only to learn that the accusers are unwilling to examine or accept the evidence. Media bias is not the same as “fake news.”  We are not reading the Onion or Mad Magazine and quoting from imaginary sources. But, what has started to give me concern is the growing resentment towards Critical Race Theory.

Until this year, I had never heard of Critical Race Theory. When I attempted to research it myself, I did not find anything that was controversial or extraordinary. The basic premises of CRT acknowledge that White Supremacy was a real movement and that it, along with certain legal actions, worked to suppress minority worldviews. It is a theory of inquiry, not a law.  This theory has been around since the 1970s. It is not a Marxist or Communist or Socialist or racist theory of argument. It is not taught in public schools as a construct of education. However, I fear that some propagandistic media outlets are building a straw man out of the idea of CRT.

Much like the TikTok video, many people are expressing their argument against humanity, by creating a misrepresentation of CRT as well as against other movements like BLM, UBI, and regulations that protect individual rights. We must not fall prey to these tactics. When people call out something that they believe to be negative or controversial ask them for the sources of their information. Do not allow their spread of false information to go “unchecked.” Most of all, do not allow them to create confusion among our Democratic institutions. Our diversity gives us strength, and together we are stronger today than we have ever been in the past. There is no “purity” test for being a Democrat. We should be proud that we stand for human rights and social dignity. Let’s stay united.

Be a Proud Democratic Leader

One of the most effective ways to spread our message of social justice, economic freedom, environmental concern and health care reform is to let people know where we stand on issues. Yard signs and social media posts are snapshots of information. But, wearing clothing that signifies that we are proud Democrats encourages our peers and strengthens the resolve of the youth in our community. From now until May 17, you can purchase clothing apparel with the HDC Hanover Dems logo. There are many selections. Please place your order today. When the items come in, I will personally deliver them to your home or offer you a time to pick them up from me. Follow this link to order your items: https://www.bsnteamsports.com/shop/hanoverdem

The window for ordering closes on May 17, and it will take about 30 days to process, print, and deliver. These make great gifts, too!  When we finally meet face-to-face, these clothing items will be great to wear to meetings and around the town.

Daniel McGraw

Chair, HDC

My Two Cents: Protecting the Ballot

by Steven Johnson

I’m tired. You’re tired. Were all tired. We’ve been through a ceaseless stream of elections that would have been emotionally draining even in non-pandemic times.

But there’s no rest for the weary. Not this year. Not when the right to vote is involved.

We have some terrific candidates for the General Assembly this year. Rachel Levy will represent our party proudly on the ballot this year and we need to make sure we do everything we can do to support her, and possibly flip a seat in the House of Delegates.

We cannot lose control of the House of Delegates this year. Right now, Democrats hold a 55-45 advantage, but that is tenuous at best.

Just look to our north in House District, which encompasses parts of Stafford and Prince William counties. Democrat Candi King just won a special election by 263 votes to fill Jennifer Carrol Foy’s vacated seat. Jennifer won that by more than 4,000 votes in 2019.

Little wonder, then, that elections analyst Chaz Nuttycombe sees the House as “a pure toss-up.”

What’s at stake? Education, the environment, health care … all issues that we care about. We will work hard to keep the governor’s mansion so those issues remain a priority (no Senate this year).

But if Republicans gain control of the Virginia House of Delegates, we know they will have a different to-do list — measures to control ballot access.

Many of us watched as Republican lawmakers in Georgia fast-tracked a 95-page bill to change voting procedures in the Peach State; most importantly, giving the GOP-controlled legislature the ability to override county election boards. President Biden called the actions a new form of Jim Crow even as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said the bill would better secure a vote than was never proven to be unsecure.

That’s just one battleground. As of February, the nonprofit Brennan Center reported state lawmakers have carried over, prefiled or introduced 253 bills with provisions that restrict voting access in 43 states, including five bills in Virginia. 

For instance, HB 2205 would repeal a provision that enables any person who is qualified to register to vote to do so up to and including on the day of the election, regardless of the close of the registration records provided elsewhere in law.

Its author is House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert, and it’s a sure bet that the bill would gain traction should Gilbert become majority leader or speaker. It’s just as certain the GOP would look to undo Virginia legislation to open up absentee voting and provide a strict review of local election changes that discriminate against minorities.

We have to be vigilant about ballot access. The GOP is trying to set the stage for sweeping changes later with reasonable-sounding proposals today, like Gilbert’s bid to require the state Department of Elections to purge voter rolls of deceased people every week, instead of every month. We know what will follow. Georgia is proof. Sen. Jen McClellan says Virginia is the first state in the South to proactively protect the right to vote. Let’s mobilize to make sure we keep control of the House of Delegates this year and safeguard that right.

Here’s a shocker: the U.S. economy fares better under Democratic administrations


By Gordon Silver

In the lead-up to every election, Republicans are usually credited with being the party more likely to be good stewards of the economy. However, the data does not support this assumption.

Historically, the economy has fared far better under Democratic administrations.

This flies in the face of what the sensible answer might seem to be: It’s probably been similar. Presidents, after all, have only limited control over the economy. They don’t have much influence over the millions of decisions every day, made by consumers and business executives, that shape economic growth, jobs, incomes and stock prices. Over the course of a century, it seems logical that the economy would have performed similarly under Democrats and Republicans.

But it has not! And here is a ranking of presidents by average annual G.D.P. growth according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis:

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The gap exists not only for G.D.P. and jobs but also for incomes, productivity, and stock prices. The gap also exists if you assume that a president’s policies affect the economy with a lag and doesn’t start for several months after he takes office. Virtually any reasonable look at the data shows a big Democratic advantage.

What are the potential reasons for this? A few possibilities are easy to reject. It’s not about congressional control, nor is it about Democrats running up larger budget deficits. (Republican presidents have run up larger deficits in recent decades.)

Coincidence surely plays some role — but it’s highly unlikely to account for the entire gap, given its size, breadth and duration.

Keynesian and Hayekian economic theories were opposite and competing ideas from the 1920’s.

John Maynard Keynes proposed a macroeconomic economic theory of total spending in the economy and its effects on output, employment, and inflation. Based on his theory, Keynes advocated for increased government expenditures and lower taxes to stimulate demand and pull the global economy out of the depression.

Friedrich Hayek believed that the prosperity of society was driven by creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation, which were possible only in a society with free markets.

The Republican Party is generally considered business-friendly and in favor of limited government regulation of the economy, follows the Hayekian theory. This means favoring policies that put business interests ahead of environmental concerns, labor union interests, healthcare benefits and retirement benefits. Given this more pro-business bias, Republicans tend to receive support from business owners and investment capitalists, as opposed to support from labor. The Republican approach to governing is often referred to as “trickle-down economics”.

The Democratic Party follows the Keynesian theories and is generally considered more willing to intervene in the economy, subscribing to the belief that government power is needed to regulate businesses that ignore social interests in the pursuit of earning a return for shareholders. This intervention can come in the form of regulation (such as limits on carbon emissions) or taxation to support social programs. Opponents often describe the Democratic approach to governing as "tax and spend."

Republican presidents have been slow to respond to recessions and other crises — Donald Trump and both George Bushes being examples. (Herbert Hoover was too, and the partisan gap would be even bigger if the data went back far enough to include him.)

Recent Democratic presidents have been more pragmatic, willing to listen to the evidence about when the economy would benefit from deficit reduction and when it needs government support for education, infrastructure, scientific research and more.

Republican presidents over the past 40 years have pursued one economic policy above all other — tax cuts, skewed heavily toward the affluent — and there is little evidence that they do much for economic growth. This philosophy is the extraordinary belief that the wealthiest people will somehow work for the benefit of us all.

Of course, individual politicians might disagree with their party on how to manage the economy. Still, knowing their party affiliation can suggest which approach they might take in influencing the economy. The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.

FEBRUARY TWO CENTS - THE NOTORIOUS RVG

By Jen Chambers

Three amigos from Central Virginia — Jen Chambers, Christiane Riederer, our fearless driver, and Lorna Charlton (aka Thelma, Louise and Coffee) — assisted with voter registration, awareness and getting out the vote both in key states prior to the November election and in Georgia for the Senate run-off by bringing a big lavender RV to locally organized events.  

This article explains the mission and how it was adapted for the pandemic, the progress made on the three trips and the local organizations and events that reached voters. Thank you to Dan McGraw for asking us to share our journey and being our cheering squad to welcome us back to the Center of the Universe!

It's long, so please take the time to download the PDF from here: The_Notorious_RVG.pdf