Editor: Yes, after Trump was elected I became motivated to action like so many others across this nation. Yes, I have fought against his Muslim bans, Transgender Military ban, and the destruction of the ACA. But I also had an eye-opening experience when I realized what it takes to support Democratic values.
Before Trump was elected, I was a consistent voter. I thought doing my civic duty was enough. I didn’t know how often people run unopposed. In 2015, Jill Vogel ran unopposed for the State Senate District 27. Each Senate District represents about 200,026 residents. She was elected by 841 people. This year average citizens across Virginia stood up and ran for seats where there was no Democratic candidate waiting in the wings.
This election was won on the doorsteps of citizens through efforts to inform people and remind them to vote. Democrats did turn out the vote and we did it with the help of Independents, outside groups, and resources not offered by the Democratic Party of Virginia. We turned out the vote using Plus3, Voter Circle, and Postcards4Virginia. We had the help of Sister District, Flippable, Network NoVA, and Together We Will. People across the country held fundraisers for Democrats running in the House of Delegates. We used technology to enable people to phone bank from any place in America.
It might be upsetting to hear that people living outside Virginia had an impact on this year’s election. You can look at VPAP.org and see how much money Ed Gillespie received outside of Virginia. Money coming into Virginia elections from other states is not a new phenomenon and happens on both sides of the aisle.
While handing out sample ballots on election day, I had many conversations. People called me a brave soul and thanked me for standing out in the cold and rain to inform people. I heard many people thank us for knocking on their door, staying positive, and listening to their concerns. A voter at Rolling Ridge who attends ADAMS thanked us for listening to the needs of his community, for showing up when asked, and for standing up for all. I had people tell me they would have come out to vote in the snow or by any means necessary. We need more people to feel this way. If you think your vote doesn’t matter, look at HD 94 where the winner was elected by 10 votes.
Not everyone was nice when I asked if they would like a Democratic sample ballot. To them I said, “thank you for being an informed voter.” Being a Republican does not make you the enemy of Democrats. Democrats won big in this recent election, but we cannot gloat over this victory. We can celebrate with humility. We need to be able to work together to make progress in Virginia. One-sided progress is too delicate to last. We are seeing how President Obama’s executive orders are becoming null and void at the flick of pen.
Charlotte McConnell, Sterling