It’s a well-worn story now about how John A. Boehner, then House minority leader, joined a rising star in his caucus, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, in April 2009 for one of the first major tea party protests in the California Republican’s home town of Bakersfield.
A little more than six years later, after they surfed that wave into power, the movement consumed both of them. Boehner was driven out of the House speaker’s office and McCarthy’s expected succession fell apart, leaving him stuck at the rank of majority leader.
The women’s marches that brought millions onto streets across the country the day after Trump’s inauguration — spurred organically through social media — opened Democratic leaders’ eyes to the possibilities.
Democrats are well aware of that history as they try to tap the energy of the roiling liberal activists who have staged rallies and marches in the first three weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency.
What if they can fuse these protesters, many of whom have never been politically active, into the liberal firmament? What if a new tea party is arising, with the energy and enthusiasm to bring out new voters and make a real difference at the polls, starting with the 2018 midterm elections?
In his eulogy for Reverend Pinckney at Mother Emanuel in Charleston, South Carolina, President Obama said “to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and house the homeless is not just a call for isolated charity but the imperative of a just society.”
In tragedy and crisis, President Obama led the nation well. Not perfectly. But few of us would doubt he believed in that “imperative of a just society.”
Today, Donald Trump will be sworn into office.
By now, we know what that will mean. He’s going to take away healthcare from the sick, kick poor people out of their homes and tear apart families in mass deportations.
For those people, grace, amazing or otherwise, will seem a long way off.
We don’t control Donald Trump, the House or the Senate. But we do control our own hearts, our intentions and our actions. That can’t be taken away by an election. On this, we have all the power and will never relent.
Inside a stunned White House, the President considers his legacy and America’s future in an ex post facto world
During the days immediately before and after the presidential election that shocked much of the world, The New Yorker’s David Remnick was spending time with President Obama. The president reflected on many topics, including one that almost everyone else is talking about too. Real vs Fake news.
“An explanation of climate change from a Nobel Prize-winning physicist looks exactly the same on your Facebook page as the denial of climate change by somebody on the Koch brothers’ payroll. And the capacity to disseminate misinformation, wild conspiracy theories, to paint the opposition in wildly negative light without any rebuttal — that has accelerated in ways that much more sharply polarize the electorate and make it very difficult to have a common conversation.”
This is about a lot more than politics. Welcome to an ex post facto world, where, as Obama explains, “everything is true and nothing is true.”
Obama’s insistence on hope felt more willed than audacious. It spoke to the civic duty he felt to prevent despair not only among the young people in the West Wing but also among countless Americans across the country. At the White House, as elsewhere, dread and dejection were compounded by shock. Administration officials recalled the collective sense of confidence about the election that had persisted for many months, the sense of balloons and confetti waiting to be released. Last January, on the eve of his final State of the Union address, Obama submitted to a breezy walk-and-talk interview in the White House with the “Today” show. Wry and self-possessed, he told Matt Lauer that no matter what happened in the election he was sure that “the overwhelming majority” of Americans would never submit to Donald Trump’s appeals to their fears, that they would see through his “simplistic solutions and scapegoating.”
The morning after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, Barack Obama summoned staff members to the Oval Office. Some were fairly junior and had never been in the room before. They were sombre, hollowed out, some fighting tears, humiliated by the defeat, fearful of autocracy’s moving vans pulling up to the door.
IN ABOUT 40 states, people convicted of serious crimes regain their voting rights upon discharge from prison or completion of parole. In a handful of others, convicts either are never disenfranchised or automatically regain their rights after a waiting period. These rules amount to an American consensus on what constitutes a reasonable and humane approach to redemption in a modern democracy.
In just four states are felons permanently barred from voting absent action by the governor. And in one of them, Virginia, lawmakers are considering an even more restrictive regime that would forever foreclose the possibility of redemption for tens of thousands of citizens.
For this essentially racist project, Virginians can credit the ethically challenged majority leader of Virginia’s state Senate, Thomas K. Norment Jr. (R-James City). He filed legislation last week that would bar people convicted of violent felonies, in Virginia disproportionately African Americans, from ever having their voting rights restored.
It’s impossible to say precisely which offenses would trigger permanent disenfranchisement under Mr. Norment’s proposed constitutional amendment, which would leave it to the GOP-dominated legislature to define violent felonies. However, they might easily include categories of assault or drug crimes that might earn a young convict a few years in prison, followed by a lifetime banned from the voting booth.
Mr. Norment’s amendment would leave Virginia as an extreme outlier in terms of restoration of rights. It would strip the governor of any role in the process by automatically restoring voting rights for nonviolent felons — a category that would also be defined by lawmakers — after they had completed their sentences and paid court costs and restitution, which often amount to thousands of dollars.
For Mr. Norment, the bill is retribution against Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who has infuriated Republicans by attempting to restore voting rights to some 200,000 ex-convicts, nearly half of them African Americans and many of them disenfranchised decades after the completion of their sentences. While Mr. Norment’s constitutional amendment could not take effect for several years — it would require legislative enactment and approval at referendum by voters — it would strip future governors of any role in restoring voting rights, a power enshrined in Virginia’s constitution for more than a century.
Before Virginia tightened its laws in response to a scandal involving former governor Robert F. McDonnell (R), Mr. Norment was notorious as the recipient of lavish hunting trips paid for by corporate bigwigs seeking favorable legislative treatment. Last year, it was reported that he was interviewed by the FBI for conduct arising from his personal relationship with a female lobbyist whose firm regularly pushed for legislation that he voted for and, in two cases, personally sponsored; he neither recused himself nor disclosed the relationship in a timely way.
Mr. Norment, who was charged with no crime, admitted to “exceedingly poor judgment” in the affair. Maybe his voting rights should be rescinded.
The Democratic Party of Virginia is united in our efforts to elect Democratic leaders of character, integrity, ability, vision, and commitment to delivering results for Virginians. If you’d like to learn more, you can visit our website by clicking here. If you’d like to make a contribution and help to turn Virginia blue, click here.
How Republican legislators and political operatives fundamentally rigged our American democracy through redistricting.
“With Barack Obama’s historic election in 2008, pundits proclaimed the Republicans as dead as the Whigs of yesteryear. Yet even as Democrats swooned, a small cadre of Republican operatives, including Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie, and Chris Jankowski began plotting their comeback with a simple yet ingenious plan. These men had devised a way to take a tradition of dirty tricks―known to political insiders as “ratf**king”―to a whole new, unprecedented level. Flooding state races with a gold rush of dark money made possible by Citizens United, the Republicans reshaped state legislatures, where the power to redistrict is held. Reconstructing this never- told-before story, David Daley examines the far-reaching effects of this so-called REDMAP program, which has radically altered America’s electoral map and created a firewall in the House, insulating the party and its wealthy donors from popular democracy.” -David Daley
Every decade, with recent results of the census in hand, legislative districts are drawn. Redrawing political lines is a powerful tool that determines who wins an election, controls the legislature, and ultimately which laws pass. In Virginia, legislators create the criteria and draw their own districts. This is a manipulative process known as gerrymandering, a ruthless and endless cycle of corruption intended solely to maintain a stranglehold on the legislative process by whichever party is in power following each decennial census.
Enough is enough. In a unanimous vote on June 13th, the Madison County Democratic Committee adopted a resolution drafted by OneVirginia2021 intended to help make politicians accountable to all Virginians through fair and competitive elections. We encourage all of our citizens to sign this bi-partisan petition to allow voters to choose their elected representatives instead of allowing politicians to manipulate elections by hand-picking their voters.