Monthly Two Cents

Vote on November 7

By Stan Scott

Now that we’re well into the age of Trumpism, elections take on more importance.  This isn’t because electing Democrats sends a message to President* Trump or Congress – it’s a simple matter of arresting a dangerous trend in American politics and policy.  Simply put, the forces of extremism have taken over the Republican Party. If we don’t elect Democrats to public office, “conservatives” like Ed Gillespie will turn Virginia into another example of how their policies create division, destroy communities, and damage the economy.

I could ramble on about how every vote counts, and cite examples of very close elections where only a handful of votes made the difference.  Fewer than a hundred thousand votes spread across four states put Trump in office, for example.  Right here in Virginia we all remember how close Ed Gillespie came to unseating Mark Warner to become a Senator – and that Mark Herring defeated Mark Obenshain by a mere 155 votes.  But anyone reading this already knows these stories.

Instead I’ll point out that Democrats simply must to get to the polls on Tuesday to make sure Mr. Gillespie does not become our Governor, and to elect Democrats to the General Assembly in order to stop this extremist Republican agenda.  Gillespie is a good lobbyist for corporations like Enron, and we need to send him back to that life while giving him some former GOP Delegates and Senators to take with him to K Street.  If he, Adams, and Vogel win, and hold a Republican General Assembly, we can expect them to move Virginia far to the right of where it’s people want to be. 

They’ll destroy the Virginia economy by cutting taxes on the wealthy, for example, just as Brownback and the GOP did in Kansas.  They’ll continue disrespecting women and their agency by making it more difficult for them to control their own bodies.  Gillespie et al would divide Virginians further by protecting monuments – erected more to intimidate minorities than celebrate heritage - to the men who committed treason in defense of slavery. They would make our streets less safe by helping terrorists, abusive spouses, and the mentally unstable purchase firearms more easily and carry them in grocery stores.  They would take away the health insurance that many or our neighbors have today only because Democrats changed the rules, and they would continue to reject billions in Federal money for Medicaid.  And they would further gerrymander and suppress voting to keep themselves in power.

Make no mistake: Trumpism isn’t about draining the swamp or challenging elites.  Trump himself is a New York billionaire who happily appointed Goldman Sachs executives to positions of power, and a Republican Party that nominates former lobbyists like Ed Gillespie to run for Governor is no kind of populist party. It’s about achieving every extreme fiscal, religious, and white supremacist goal the GOP has salivated to make real since Nixon won in 1968. 

In 2009, more than 26,000 people in Hanover County voted Democratic in a losing effort to elect Creigh Deeds Governor.  By 2013, this turnout among Democrats in the County fell to less than 11,000 as Terry McAuliffe defeated Ken Cuccinelli by fewer than 60,000 votes.  This year Hanover County Democrats can make a statement by giving Ralph Northam, Mark Herring, and Justin Fairfax more than 30,000 votes.  We have many more than that in the County.  Let’s all show up and let Donald Trump and his sidekick Ed Gillespie know how we feel.

Please vote on November 7th.  And take a friend – or ten – along when you go to the polls.


Don’t be Fooled By a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

by Daniel McGraw*

Recently, I had the distinct privilege of being accepted, through a lottery, to attend a town hall forum with Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate for governor.  I spent several hours formulating my question: revising and rewriting, even had a few edits.  I wanted to ask Gillespie for his plan to institute raises for teachers, so that their pay could meet the national average.  The Democratic governor worked with the Republican-led General Assembly to do this for the state police last year.  Since teachers have not seen a true raise in over a decade, it seemed like a fair question.

The day to day of a high school democrat

By Maddie Lee
Hanover County High School Student

Every day I go to school and I am amazed by the number of people who vote and lobby against their own interests.  First, a bit of background information.  My school is redder than the necks of the Hanover County Tea Partiers.  My peers are so Republican that the day after Donald - “I’m a great business man even though I’ve filed for bankruptcy six times” - Trump got elected, I was greeted by giant American flags, Trump/Bush shirts, and overly patriotic shorts.  So, on top of my disillusionment with my country that it could make such a huge mistake, I was appalled that my friends could be brainwashed by the insane extremist Republican rhetoric.

Gettin' some butts in the seats

by Ashley R. Hall 

Remember Sister Act? A great movie that stands the test of time. A group of nuns have a choir, which fulfills its intention of singing about God, but has some honkin' big problems. They're boring and they don't sing cohesively as a group, which makes everyone think they can't sing. One is too loud, one is too soft and the others are facing the wrong way. Are they doing what they set out to do? Yes technically, but without anyone to watch them, they're pretty useless.  

Enter Whoopi Goldberg, who just makes a few small tweaks and throws in some glitter to completely transform them. And I think how she does it applies directly to how the Democrats can and will kick a** once again.  


Reflections on the 2016 Election From Your Local Psychologist

by Therese May*

“No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” H.L. Mencken, 1926

“The love of money is the root of all evil.” The Bible

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“May you live in interesting times.” Chinese proverb

The current election cycle has been taken over by an orange fungus. Where did he come from?

Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by insatiable needs for status and admiration, and an inflated sense of importance with underlying deep insecurity, a lack of empathy, a sense of entitlement, arrogance and interpersonal exploitiveness. Just what we need in a Commander in Chief.

A touch of narcissism is not necessarily a bad thing - in small doses it results in charisma and charm. Many of our finest actors, preachers and politicians have narcissistic traits. But Trump is an example of toxic narcissism run amok. These people leave a trail of bodies behind them. One of the surest signs of mental health is the ability to laugh at oneself. Trump is incapable of this.

Many speculate that what triggered his current run at the presidency was the narcissistic injury caused by Barack Obama’s jokes at Trump’s expense at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011 - check it out - it was hilarious. Personally, I think he’s running because he was bored.

There is a wide consensus that the rise of Trump has been caused by the decades-long failure of both parties to work for the middle class and the outright purchase of our lawmakers by dark money. I would add another factor. Every fungus has to have a friendly environment in which to grow and flourish.  The American culture of narcissism is Trump’s petri dish.

Our millennial generation has been called the trophy generation. Trophy companies exploded in the 1990’s to award perfect attendance, almost perfect attendance, and you-name-it.  The self-esteem movement in education deemphasized performance, and rampant grade inflation occurred. Parents used to confront their children about poor grades; now they confront the teacher, the college professor, or (I’m not kidding) the employer. Consider that, in a study out of the Brookings Institute, out of eight advanced countries, American children score lowest in math skills and highest in confidence in math skills. Genuine self-esteem, the antidote to narcissism, is based on genuine achievement, and kindness and service to others. These are time-honored Democratic values.

Here’s what I figure we can expect:

Scenario 1. President Trump. Apocalyse. World War III. But here’s the upside: American political addiction to money hits bottom and our democracy begins a long painful process toward recovery.

Scenario 2. Clinton blows Trump away, Democrats gain seats in the house and senate, and our democracy begins a long painful process toward recovery.

Scenario 3. Anything can happen.

The next few months will be a roller coaster ride between hilarity and horror. Strap in.

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