Opinion Column: Independent Progressive: Nov. 6 — Pulling Our Country Back from the Brink

Opinion Column: Independent Progressive: Nov. 6 — Pulling Our Country Back from the Brink

The Nov. 6 midterm elections for the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate are as important as any since I first voted 50-some years ago. The 2000 Bush-Gore contest decided on party lines by the Supreme Court may be the closest, having led to the longest war/s in U.S. history and the Great (Bush) Recession.

The upcoming midterms will decide if the kleptocracy of Donald Trump is to continue on its destructive path aided and abetted by majority Republican enablers in the House and Senate. Imagine, if it does, more immigrant families terrorized, millions stripped of their healthcare, accelerating climate change, and more tax cuts for the wealthy driving deficits to all-time highs, etc.

But there is hope. Change is in the air. Democrats are alive and well, energized for a return to governing in the public interest. To avert further division and decline, Democrats must flip a net of 24 seats (out of 435) in the House and/or a net of three in the Senate. The latter is a greater challenge because nearly three times as many Democratic seats are in play as ones held by Republicans.

With Democratic control of one or both chambers, the two parties may be forced to work out differences, even compromise, in order to govern more responsibly.

Virginia could be a crucial battleground for the House on Nov. 6. Virginia has eleven seats, only four of which are held by Democrats despite the fact that Hillary Clinton beat Trump in Virginia in 2016 and Democrat Ralph Northam was elected Governor over his Republican opponent by 9 percent in 2017.

Amazingly, Democrats are challenging for all seven congressional seats, and six of the seven challengers are women. Last year Democrats pulled off unprecedented upsets in the Virginia House of Delegates elections. Republicans held 67 of the 100 seats, Democrats just 33 before the election. Democrats flipped 16 seats, and came within a whisker of taking 17, which would have created a 50-50 tie. Thirteen of the new delegates are women — in Virginia. In all 13 districts captured, surges in voter participation seemed a major factor.

Let’s take a closer look at the House of Representative races just three weeks out from Election Day. As it stands, four of the seven races for Republican seats are rated toss-ups.

In District 2, Ret. Navy Commander Elaine Luria is tied with incumbent Scott Taylor according to Real Clear Politics.

In District 5 Leslie Cockburn is within 4 points of Denver Riggleman (R); and, in District 7 Abigail Spanberger is in a dead heat with incumbent Dave Brat.

Closer to home, in District 10, Jennifer Wexton is ahead of incumbent Barbara Comstock by 6 points.

In the other races for seats held by Republicans, the Democrats are further behind according to the polls, but who knows? The four seats occupied by Democrats appear safe, including one where incumbent Bobby Scott is unopposed.

In sum, it is quite conceivable that Virginia’s Democratic women could flip up to four of the 24 seats needed nationally to put the House of Representatives in the hands of Democrats and put Mr. Trump on pause.

Turnout will again be a major determinant. I am hoping that the dynamic new female candidates will replicate the miracle we saw in Virginia House of Delegates elections last year.

It is impossible to overstate how critical this election is for us in Reston, for our kids, and for the country. Not only will Fran and I be active in support of local Democrats with our time and voices, but we are also investing modest amounts of savings in critical seat flipping campaigns. Pull out all the stops Nov. 6!