Hey VA BJers (and/or BJ political cheenyouses):
My wife and I have been talking about putting a little muscle behind our conviction that we need to engage in permanent campaign mode, and that we have to instantiate in our own choices the stuff I twitter-twatter all the time about paying attention to states other than our own true-blue commonwealth.
So, first up on the calendar, the VA gov. race.
Our question isn’t about whether or not McAuliffe is a whack job or whatever. I know he is not the beau-ideal of a modern major Democrat. But he’s what we’ve got to start rolling back the evils of the last few years, so he’s our guy.*
What we want to know is who to contribute to for maximum useful effect: McAuliffe himself, DGA, local groups, anyone? My general belief is that if you want candidate X to win, you hand over the boodle to that person directly, but if there’s any nuance of VA politics in general or this race in particular, I’d like to know it.
More generally, everyone: what are the crucial state races coming up where you are? Are there voting rights campaigns that you think are doing good work that need our help? What can we do below the level of making sure we don’t have to deal with President Ted Cruz next time round to move this country off the nadir we’ve hit over the last couple of weeks? Thoughts?
Last, as a reward for the goo-goo’ing above, here, by popular** demand are a pair of pictures of a cat not named Boss:
Kitten Tikka Masala above does not want me to sit to my computer
And this is simply his default, “You looking at me?” pose.
Over to you…
*I’m utterly a yellow-dog Democrat at this point, at just about every level. There are reasonable people with whom I disagree on politics. Some of them may even identify as Republicans. But the Republican Party as a national and local political institution is too toxic, too ideologically committed to grotesquely failed policies, and — as we say daily in the rush to gut voting rights — too hostile to actual democracy to allow individual’s private good intentions to trump the reality we’ve seen around us for decades. The most reasonable imaginable Republican, once in office, plays on that team — and that side’s play is too damn dangerous for a nation that hopes to make it to its fourth century. This Republican Party has to go the way of the Whigs before there’s ever a reason to support even a congenial Republican-ID’d person for any office.
**i.e., a couple of you guys.
I live in WA. It seems like the state has to go out of its way to deny you the right to vote as opposed to having the voter prove the fact. Plus primary ballots are in the mail right now. It’s really not that hard folks. But we also allow the wrong kind of people to vote.
The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik
My worries with McAuliffe, per usual, is not that he’s not sufficiently pure or anything. It’s that he’s a proven incompetent. He’s snatched defeat from the jaws of victory more than a few times during his DNC stint and elsewhere and I just can’t help but feel there’s an own goal he’s ready to make the moment he has a chance.
Pet pictures will always be appreciated around here.
Your kitty is so cute! So soft and fluffy. That second photo is priceless–what a look.
@The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik: Even if McAuliffe wins, this tendency could be a problem, as he may make enough mistakes as governor to turn voters off Democrats in general. Plus he can be held up as an example of “why Democrats are incompetent” because he’s not only the Dem Gov but used to be the head of the DNC, so he can be portrayed as “sample Democrat”.
How about getting money to GOTV drives? If more would-be Democratic voters have been helped getting ID and voter registration as well as reminders of where and when to vote, many candidates get helped and we get a stronger grassroots showing.
General bleg top everyone: ID is a huge battleground (in some cases more important than the candidates themselves). The laws are being passed and most now will withstand scrutiny. The only way to fight back is to physically reach out and help the targets of these fiendish laws get IDed and registered. They are “there”, many will vote, help them get over the barriers that confront them. I think the ROI would be huge.
Get something started in your community.
@Roger Moore: Oh yes, fergot the formalities:
Maybe the Democratic Party of Virginia? The whole Republican slate is appalling. We want to both stop them in their tracks and establish a conveyor belt for Democratic up-and-comers.
Totally agree with you, Tom. The republican party is too toxic and too dangerious for anyone to be apathetic. So, I am on board with you and your wife’s strategy. All my political donations go to OFA but I am willing to contribute to the McAuliffe campaign because the alternative is just a nighmere.
On another point, considering your interest in art, I hope you’ll enjoy one of the best flash scenes ever. Certainly one of the most innovative ads you’ll ever see. This live action reincarnation of Rembrandt’s famous Night Watch takes place in a shopping mall.
The painting itself is housed in the newly restored Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam for which the ad was produced.
Yes, but have you turned on the Catsignal, or was that only for our dearly departed lord and master?
@Violet: Democrats own “competency” in Virginia because of Mark Warner and, to a lesser degree, Tim Kaine. Bob McDonnell ruined whatever vestiges of Republican competency remained, first by alienating his own party in the course of _trying_ to be competent, second by succumbing to a corruption scandal. I wouldn’t be worried about that. McAuliffe will have a reservoir of goodwill. McAuliffe’s downside is that he seems “corporate,” but that doesn’t turn off Virginia Democrats the same way it turns off the original Deaniacs.
I see Helen Thomas has died. She really was a fighter. Not always in the right, but never timid, and never a cuddle buddy to the powerful.
@Violet: and yet when stacked against Senor “no oral sex for anybody” and “an ultrasound in every vagina” Coochinator the choice is made clear that no matter how bad McAuliffe might be, at least he’s not THAT guy. Granted a low bar of expectations but how many people in Michigan and Ohio and North Carolina and Wisconsin wish that they had done more.
Swell, help elect Cuccinelli because McCauliffe might do something stupid.
Offtopic: Helen Thomas dead at 92. I for one will mourn for passing as the last of the real journalists who can ask tough questions to any president.
@The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik: @Violet:
Let me say the obvious: When your alternative is Ken Cuccinelli, I wouldn’t care if McAuliffe was ‘er in Dumb and Dumber. I can wish in the abstract for a Jerry Brown or a Deval Patrick down there (to name two governors I’ve voted for at different points in my life) but that ain’t the choice. So we’re down to what’s on offer, and even if everything you fear about McAuliffe is true, we know what happens when we allow the contradictions to be heightened by letting the GOPers loose.
So, no, I don’t think we get to sit this one out on a Terry-ain’t-good-enough mope. YMMV.
ETA: What Raven said.
Can someone give me an example of why McAllister is so disliked? I ask out of ignorance rather than to pick a fight.
ETA. McAuliffe. Stupid autocorrect.
@Violet: I find McAuliffe a bit clownish. Of course I’ve developed this impression from his antics during the 08 Dem primaries.
I don’t live in VA, so I can’t vote in that election. And I hope no one misunderstands what I said–I’m with Tom in being against every Republican, ever, no matter what. I don’t care how “moderate” they are–their party is evil and must be stopped at all costs. I will do whatever I can to defeat all Republicans until and unless their party no longer resembles what it is today. And even then, maybe not. We’ll see how it plays out.
That being said, there are great Democrats and good Democrats and not so great Democrats (and probably awful ones too). I was sorry that VA Dems ended up putting up McAuliffe as their candidate for Governor because I watched his performance as head of the DNC and saw his interviews on various shows and he’s never come across as competent and certainly not in an elected position. Maybe he’ll be okay. He’ll be light years better than any Republican they could elect, that’s for sure. I support him, as much as I can from my non-VA location. I just wish he wasn’t the candidate and I can see potential problems should he be elected.
Edited to change Dem to Republican because I wrote it incorrectly the first time. Ugh.
@Tom Levenson: Agreed. See my comment above. I’m with you. I’m just disappointed they chose him because he doesn’t seem like the best candidate and if there are better candidates that can excite voters more and also do a better job if elected, then it’s too bad they aren’t running. Oh well, it’s a non-issue because he’s the Democrat and he’s who needs our support.
@Baud: A variety of near sleazy antics. Start here
He was a major money hookup for the Clintons. We’ve seen worse now, but at the time he seemed to be a poster boy for a raise money at all costs ethos.
Mike with a Mic
The Macker ROCKS. He’s perfect for this area. The blue part of NOVA is really rich limo Democrats. Pass the social liberalism, fuck populism, bring home the defense bucks. Mac is perfect for this area.
This may shock people, but the litmus test is social issues. We bailed out on economic issues a long fucking time ago. The main economic gripe is our money going to support poor hicks in the bible area of VA.
We need a socially liberal, pro business, strong defense Democrat to keep VA turning blue. Populism, ehhh that’s as dirty a word as racism or sexism around here.
@Keith G: He makes my skin crawl. I really don’t like the guy. That being said, he’s good at raising money. He’s also in tight with the Clintons, something that might be useful should Hillary decide to run for President and he’s the VA Governor.
I will love her forever, in no small part because of this:
The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik
I never said to sit it out and I don’t personally share Violet’s worry about if McAuliffe gets in. I simply don’t trust him not to find some way to screw up his campaign. That he’s better than Cooch doesn’t need to be said. I just worry that even with volunteer pushes, he’s going to find some way to own goal. I’ll support him, sure. I just beg of him not to forget the lessons of his past screw ups.
Mike with a Mic
He’s a carbon copy of almost every NOVA Democrat, which is the blue region here. It’s rich as hell, obnoxious, looks down on people, and generally full of the sort of cartoon liberal Limbaugh rails against. So while he’s an ass… so what he fits right in with D crowd here.
Sort of how most of our Republicans are David Brooks types.
He stands a far better chance of winning, and will honestly represent the type of Democrat here, than most other options. He wouldn’t have been my first pick, but if anything he’s not pro money and pro business enough for this area. He needs to scream and yell more about hicks in SOVA stealing money from white people who didn’t screw up and got graduate degree’s and the evils of religion, he’ll do better.
VA is not a purple state, it’s a lunatic state.
If there’s one thing mcauliffe knows how to do it’s raise money. Why not donate to a good candidate who needs cash now to gain traction?
Your could give equally to McAuliffe, Mark Herring and Ralph Northam. They’re running for governor, attorney general and lt. governor, respectively. You could also give to DPVA so they can spread the money around for GOTV and some of the downballot races. We have all House of Delegates up this year, and some state senators too. There’s no down time if you’re involved in politics in Virginia, I know, I’m a Democratic precinct captain. Four years ago after everyone put so much time, effort and money into electing Obama it was much harder to get people interested and involved in elections that, as we now know so clearly, have more of an effect on our day-to-day lives. Pity. I hope this year is different, and so far the statewide R candidates scare the begeezus out of people.
@Keith G: She was a true journalist. I am so glad the president issued a statement on her passing.
Depends on the race. Is the issue how to get the message out, or how to get people to the polls? I don’t think VA-Gov is going to be lacking in messaging being part of the beltway, and I’m not convinced that McAuliffe’s messaging is necessarily going to help him that much. I’d put the money behind GOTV efforts. In particular I expect that the legal challenges in VA will be significant given that it’s the current Sec State running in the race, and that he’s got a history of using his power to advance agendas that have nothing to do with his position (climate change investigation, etc). I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see Blackwell levels of shenanigans in the runup to the election.
Cheryl from Maryland
My family is in Virginia. I suggest supporting the Dem candidate for Attorney General with funds since Va doesn’t have a linked ticket. McCauliffe is doing okay on the money front, the Repub candidate for Lt. Gov. Is clearly whackaloon, but the Repub candidate for Atty Gen. is a stealth nut job and thus could sneak in. Atty Gen. position can be a launching pad for Governor, so the best result would be to have all three positions turn blue.
Tom, I think focusing on state and local elections is an excellent idea. Can we maybe start a list of other upcoming elections in various states? Are there other states with key elections happening this year?
@Mike with a Mic: I disagree in part with your assessment of “most” NOVA dems. While there are certainly a number of the folks you mentioned, there are far more ordinary, middle class people who find the the Democratic Party embodies their values, both social and economic. There are also, certainly, a lot of David Brooks-type Rs, and from what I’ve heard, Cooch et. al. scare the crap out of them.
Tikka FTW! What is the story behind his name?
I think it always helps to give money to a specific campaign like McCauliffe’s.
I have set up a regular monthly contribution to the DNC. DSC, DCCC and DGA. I do the same for charities I support. I also give to OFA and other groups working to register voters and GOTV.
I’m not really fond of McCauliffe for a variety of historical reasons, but at his worse he is light years better than any Republican at their best. So I plan on heading down to VA in November to do what I can to help GOTV and defeat that dangerous wingnut whack job running on the GOP ticket.
@? Martin: Small point Martin, Cooch is the Attorney General not Secretary of State.
@Shana: Oh, derp. Never mind that then. Wasn’t thinking right. But that mistake aside, I still think turnout will be more important in this race. It won’t lack for media coverage.
@trollhattan: Thanks for that. Good times.
As has been said upthread, turnout will be very important, and that’s always a challenge in an election where there is no Presidential race.
Trying to get women out to vote in particular may help in a significant* way (*as in potentially large number of voters), given Cuccinelli’s odious views on women’s health and welfare. It may help to remind potential voters that Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) was an “early innovator” in suggesting vaginal probing to determine fetal status; that provision was ultimately dropped from legislation in the face of severe criticism, but it tells you where the collective head of the VA GOP is.
McDonnell’s current scandal – which Cuccinelli may have played a bit role in – certainly has grabbed a lot of local media attention (I’m in Maryland/DC area, so I hear the news from my neighbor). I just can’t tell how much that will influence the typical voter; I kind of doubt that it will.
The first debate between McAuliffe and Cuccinelli was today – Blue Virginia live-blogged it. (see comments there as well for additional info) – and it sounds like McAuliffe was hitting a lot of the right notes (IMO). Think Progress posted on it as well.
As far as where to send money… good question. Based on what I said above, I would look for groups that have a good track record in reaching women and getting them to vote. Emily’s List maybe? I would prefer groups more locally oriented, myself. Maybe I’m just getting crankier with age, but I’ve grown increasingly skeptical of national groups, which seem to decay into “Washington insider clubs” with time, devoting more of their efforts and supporters’ funds to institutional survival over stated mission. But I dunno, Emily’s List may still be good.
@Violet: Good idea. Let me try to work some thoughts through with some of the other FPers better at that sort of thing than I (looking at you Tim F. and Kay, inter alia) See what we can’t get going as a regular feature.
@schrodinger’s cat: No real story. My then 7 or 8 year old son just liked the sound of the word Tikka , and I leapt on it for the Indian cuisine deliciousness. He was a kitten when we got him from the shelter, and so there you have it.
Don’t go thinking No.Va. Democrats are all rich. Some of us are doing fine. But the real electoral muscle here comes from the immigrants. Lots of those McMansions have a dozen people living in them, because they need five incomes to pay the mortgage.
I agree with Prof. Levenson’s points. I’d advise working on the State Senate. We’ve been a national joke for the last few years because Republicans controlled both houses of the Legislature. Ralph Northam is running for Lt. Gov., so we need to keep his seat. On top of that, we need to grab a couple more seats from the exurbs, and then the House of Delegates won’t be as scary.
Tikka Masala is adorable and I love the name. (Just got up from a nap and my brain isn’t into politics… but kittens are a-okay at any time.)
For Ohio and the “long game”, Kay has recommended Progress Ohio as a group worthy of support. They actually run training camps for Democratic candidates. That seems like a very valuable initiative, especially in a place where voter suppression efforts seem to never end.
@Tom Levenson: Thanks Tom! I really enjoy the action posts–like Tim F’s “call your Representative” posts and various GOTV or donation posts. Rather than despairing about how awful Republicans are, we need to DO something about it. Action posts help us organize and do that, or maybe even think of things to do that we hadn’t thought of before. So creating a list of races around the country that might benefit from a little financial help or other kind of help can be therapeutic in DOING SOMETHING in the off-year elections.
Kay (not the front-pager)
@Mike with a Mic: I was just gonna say this. I live in Md., but during last year’s Presidential campaign I was deeply involved in the Va. race. The campaign office I worked out of was a little further out, more of a hanging-on-by-the-fingernails middle class area, but the ethos was the same. I was surprised to hear how excited my co-volunteers were about voting for McAuliffe. Myself, he gives me a queasy feeling, but I’ll be out there volunteering for him this fall. The idea of having “the Cooch” as governor in a state so close to home gives me the heeby jeebies. He has that special blend of sanctimonious woman-hating and greedy corruption that is so damaging to the social fabric (also to careers; see e.g., Gov. Vaginal Probe).
All that said, I don’t know what to tell you about where to contribute. My husband’s job makes it illegal for me to make financial contributions to political campaigns without notifying and getting sign-off from his employer. So I’ll be putting sweat equity into this race and others.
Thanks for responding.
@Kay (not the front-pager):
Maybe it’s a female thing? I don’t know. But like I said upthread, he makes my skin crawl. McAuliffe seems oily to me–not something I’d trust with most things. But like you said and I said upthread, it doesn’t matter. He’s the Democratic candidate and Republicans must be defeated at all costs.
Begich (I know, a boogeyman for his gun control votes, but that would have been a really stupid hill to die on given how much Alaskans like our guns, and for more or less legit reasons comparatively given all the hunting options, but anyway) is almost certainly going to be in a tough race, though we’re not sure against who yet with the most likely being the egregiously awful Joe Miller and one of the slighted less awful if only because they outsource terrie ideas to ALEC rather than come up with their own Gov Parnell or Anchorage mayor Dan Sullivan.
I’m in MD but do a lot of VA politics.
The state Democratic Party is running the negative spots about Cooch right now, and will probably field much of that burden through the election.
A group I consult for–Virginia New Majority–is doing voter activation, education and engagement around the state to support progressive candidates in some regions where the state party and the Mr. Mac’s campaigns are unlikely to reach in-depth, so if you want to help expand the electorate in VA that might be a good place to give.
Well, I’d sure like to see a big push here in PA. Allison Schwartz will be running against Corbett. I know that everyone thinks Corbett is dead meat, but it’s possible he could improve his numbers or lose in a primary to some lesser known and thus lesser hated GOP nut job. I’d love to see my hated rep, Rothfus, get beat. He’s been a red meat teabagger after running as the guy who will save all the old white people’s Medicare, an out and out lie but one he convinced all the old white fucks was true. He’s also a religious asshole who is right there with Rick Santorum in wanting to establish Gilead right here in PA and the US. Almost any state level race here is worth supporting since the Republicans control both houses of the state legislature. And there’s a big fight over voter ID here, currently in court. The PA ACLU could use all the help they can get.
not from VA
but McCauliffe is better than Cuuuch & Co, who want all up in a woman’s uterus and gay folks’ bedrooms.
people better wake up
@Tom Levenson: Great name and great kitteh, with tons of cattitude. In his second photo he seems to be saying, You are not the boss of me.
Kay (not the front-pager)
@? Martin: ” I’d put the money behind GOTV efforts.” Yes, always, always, always. Especially in these off-year elections, turn-out is key, and particularly difficult for many of NoVa’s democratic voters. Lots of folks juggling jobs, families, school, and long commutes. It’s really hard to even to get them to tune in to the race. Once they take a moment to breathe and hear the issues, it’s much easier to get a commitment to vote.
Yes. And once you get their attention, they take voting really seriously.
Totally OT question for you Tom:
Have you heard anything further about MIT’s blocking of Kevin Poulsen’s FOIA request for Secret Service files on Aaron Swartz? MIT has apparently said they made the filing to protect their personnel from potential harassment from the public, should those names be revealed. But apparently the names of “third party” individuals, including MIT personnel, would be redacted in the documents anyway.
Something seems fishy…
Kay (not the front-pager)
@geg6: Is your election this year, or in 2014? I retired early just so I could work in the 2012 election, and I want to keep going, prioritizing races in neighboring states. Va. is closer, but I worked in Pa. during the 2008 election and it’s not an impossible commute…
Kay (not the front-pager)
@efgoldman: I don’t think they do, especially for donations under $200 (I made lots of those in 2012 before he told me it was a problem). But I’m not going to risk his job to find out for sure… :-)
eta: Ha ha, just got your name…
@Kay (not the front-pager):
It will be 2014, but things are already gearing up. And we have a huge uphill fight with the state leg and with Rothfus. And who the hell knows what will happen in the governor’s race with so many people urging Corbett not to run. We actually need Corbett to run because we want lots of voters turning out to vote against him.
Tom (or anyone else), if you are interested in helping Texans turn things around, there is a group that is working to register as many new voters as possible in preparation for the 2014 elections. It is Battleground Texas, and they can use donations and support. Some of the organizers worked on the president’s campaign and they will utilize the money efficiently.
I thought the bit with the rum bottle after the PR primary was funny, at least in comparison to the rest of the humorless churls who made up Hillary’s campaign. I don’t think any of them get even now that they were beaten int the twelve months prior to the first primary.
@Cheryl from Maryland: I think that’s a excellent idea. Give to the down-ticket races.
Democracy for America has a long-term campaign to turn state houses blue. You might get some ideas from their web site. There is power in working together so I would recommend you hook up with an organization you trust.
I’m moving to Arlington, VA in a couple of weeks, to work at the National Science Foundation for 1-2 years. I’m planning to register to vote in VA as soon as I can so I can vote in the governor’s race. I’m not a big McAuliffe fan, but he is vastly preferable to the alternative.
I hope there will be a DC area BJ meet-up while I’m in Arlington!
Does anyone know of a good source of information about candidates for VA state legislature? Because those elections are also this year. We really got crunched in state legislatures early in Obama’s term, and we’ve got to start taking them back. The DLCC is a good conduit for this nationwide, but if there are Virginia House of Delegates and state Senate races where some money could make a difference, I’m ready to open my wallet if I know where to send the money.
@Kay (not the front-pager):
For those of us just across the river in Maryland, any tips on what we might should do in the way of volunteering?
@Mike with a Mic:
Yes, because hammering McDonnell on social issues and his thesis worked so well for Creigh Deeds…
@Cheryl from Maryland:
I’m in Virginia and I’d just like to second this. McAulliffe is doing just fine for himself in terms of money and manpower, and E.W. Jackson is likely going to keep stepping on rakes from now until November, but Mark Herring could use both cash and shoe leather to get a signal boost so that voters can at least identify he’s running for something.
As a VA resident, I’ve heard and seen so many bad things out of the state party that I honestly wouldn’t trust them to take my trash out right now let alone use funds correctly.
Cuccinelli just spent an entire debate today basically not answering questions, and stated that gay people were “soulless” and “have a problem”. He laughed at charges he’s spent too much time on social issues, but did not deny the charge, according to what I read at Blue Virginia.
If you want T-Mac to win over The Cooch, I’d probably just send coin to his campaign specifically.