Our Battleground State
It’s no secret that Virginia played a pivotal role in the 2008 election of President Obama. While the Commonwealth’s 13 electoral votes certainly had not been ignored during previous election cycles, a long history of the “red state” label left us little more than wishful thinking for Democratic presidential hopefuls. However, Virginia is now poised to play its biggest role yet in the upcoming presidential election. No longer a safe bet for Republicans, the accessibility of the state to Democratic candidates-determined to extend their winning streak-means that both sides will need to double their efforts.
President Obama, certain to face an even tougher challenge in 2012 than he did in 2008, has already begun. Intrigue is added to the race by the retirement of Senator Jim Webb (D). Two figures familiar to those active in Virginian politics, ex-Governors George Allen and Tim Kaine, are aiming to fill his seat. This seat, in turn, has become critically important to the ever-shrinking Democratic majority in the Senate. This all holds major implications for the incoming president, as the legislative gridlock created by an almost evenly divided Congress has been all too evident of late.
As readers of this blog are acutely aware, this makes it that much more important to vote in 16 months. There are those who are unable to participate, though not for lack of willpower. Given these dynamics, conservative attempts to constrict the right to vote through increased ID requirements appear in a different light.
In 2005, Tim Kaine came out ahead in my precinct by a mere 4 votes. Of course, the closeness of those results did not scale to the statewide level, and Governor Kaine eventually won by over 100,000 votes. However, not a single person who showed up to vote at Waller Mill Elementary School that day can claim that their vote did not count, or that their voice was not heard. The only ones who had no say in the election of Governor Kaine are those who didn’t take a moment of their lives to speak up.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of members of the NDP Steering Committee.