Sunday, November 10, 2019

Buzz-Kill: Special Interest-Owned Conservative Democrats, Not Plain Ole Democrats, Took Over The Virginia Legislature

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Lobbyist (right) beat the progressive (left) for Virginia House speaker

Blue America didn't endorse too many candidates in the Virginia legislative election-- just 6 outstanding progressives who we were able to vet to our satisfaction. Three won-- Lee Carter (53-46%), Elizabeth Guzman (52-47%) and Danica Roem (56-44%)-- and three lost-- Herb Jones (60-40%), Qasim Rashid (58-42%) and Eric Stamps (61-39%). The Virginia Democratic establishment is as bad as you'd expect. Just think: Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both of whom have F ratings from ProgressivePunch, and Governoe Ralph Northam who's... better than a Republican and not much more than that. The establishment doesn't much like progressives.

So no one should be surprised that yesterday, a few days after flipping 6 seats in the House of Delegates, they elected a corrupt Republican-lite conservative lobbyist, Eileen Fisher-Corn as speaker. And they say everyone should be happy this crook is the speaker because they never had a woman-- or a Jew-- in the role before. Yeah. An old white conservative without a penis, beat out a younger progressive woman of color, Lashrecse Aird. Two other conservative Democrats wiped out progressives in the races for majority leader and caucus chair.

Reporting for HuffPo Daniel Marans wrote that "The result is a disappointment to progressives inside and outside of the chamber who hoped Democrats would pick the state’s first Black speaker and bristled at Filler-Corn’s full-time job as managing director of a lobbying firm with major corporate clients. Filler-Corn’s spokesperson has said she would recuse herself from votes on legislation in which her firm, Albers & Company, has a vested interest. 'The firsts are not lost on me-- the first woman and the first Jewish person elected Speaker-designee in our 400 year legislative history-- but it doesn’t define me,' Filler-Corn said in a statement. 'When I joined this body less than 10 years ago, I was the only mom serving with school-aged kids. We have come so far since then. We have the most diverse House Caucus in our history, which includes cultural, gender and geographic diversity,' she continued. 'It also means a diversity of experience and perspectives on issues that affect Virginians, in all regions.'... Her victory, along with those of Herring and Sullivan, ensures that Virginia House Democrats are marching in tandem with Gov. Ralph Northam and the Democratic-controlled state Senate, where business-friendly, four-decade veteran, Dick Saslaw, is in charge."
Aird, a 33-year-old Petersburg resident and chief of staff of William & Mary’s junior college, who was first elected in 2015, embodies the state’s shifting demographics and politics. Aird had promised to expand and open up the House’s leadership and committee system, giving greater leeway to the state House’s ascendant group of economic populists. She is backed by hedge fund manager Michael Bills, a leading critic of the state’s famously powerful electric utility monopolies-- Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power. And she claimed that she would allow votes on pro-union bills granting the public sector collective bargaining rights and repealing Virginia’s status as a “right to work” state where unions are forbidden from compelling workers they represent to pay dues.

Observers wondered whether, with her underdog speakership bid, the state’s Democratic Party might reach a point where it was willing to turn its back, at least in one chamber, on the old “Virginia Way”-- a byword for bipartisan gentility that doubles as a description of the state’s clubby, pro-corporate and ethically challenged political culture.

In the end though, Filler-Corn and her allies, many of whom reside in safe seats and can thus spread their campaign cash to embattled colleagues, fended off the insurgency.

Some members disagreed with Aird’s decision to announce her bid the day after Tuesday’s elections, claiming it was too soon. They also lamented the way that Aird had fought her race in the press, according to the person familiar with the deliberations who spoke to HuffPost on the condition of anonymity. It’s a pitfall inherent to running as a gate-crasher in a state where etiquette is something of a civic religion.

Now that they are in power, Democrats in the Virginia legislature are almost certain to move quickly to tighten gun safety regulations, strengthen protections for LGBTQ residents and even raise the state’s minimum wage, which is currently only $7.25 an hour.

But the prospects of more ambitious expansions of the social welfare state and efforts to take on the Old Dominion’s most powerful corporations, including its utility monopolies, have grown considerably dimmer. Efforts to combat climate change, in particular, are likely to be far more accommodating to Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power than antitrust advocates would like. These activists fear not only that the monopolies, which extract fossil fuels and generate electricity in addition to transmitting it, will both try to water down climate legislation and dominate any growth in the state’s renewable energy generation.

What’s more, poll watchers noted that the leadership team consists entirely of Democrats from the Washington-area suburbs of northern Virginia. It has prompted fears that they will not adequately represents Democrats from other regions, such as Hampton Roads, central Virginia and southwest Virginia.

“There are 12 House Districts out of 100 that are inside the beltway or on it,” Virginia political consultant Ben Tribbett wrote on Twitter. “The top three positions in the new House will all be filled from there. All by people who underperformed in their first elections by double digits from most recent Presidential. Not a good start.”
Eric Stamps is way too progressive and way to aggressively fighting for working class families to make the Democratic Part establishment embrace him. He knows what the enemy looks like whether they're wearing a red t-shirt or a blue one. "Virginia Democrats," he told us this morning, "have to be more than the NOVA party. I am happy that we took the majority in the House and Senate, but not much has changed in rural areas. Many rural candidates have to go it alone, even battling with members of their own local party which should never be an issue. Virginia Democrats have no excuses for the next two years. They have to bring progressive legislation to the floor for votes or they such expect to be primaried the next time their seat is up. We do not have any time to waste, it is time to get things done."


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14 Comments:

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At 10:47 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Well now that those corporate dems are in the legislature i'm really sure the voters in Virginia will watch every sleazy move they make for the next 2 years & when Primary Day returns they'll be voted out with much better progressive representation.

 
At 6:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

or, as history may suggest, they'll be replaced with genuine, 24-karat Nazis.

This is how the democrap party rolls. you either get the fascists that they want or you get the real deal Nazis. the democraps don't want you to get progressives.

but by all means...

 
At 6:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In two years, once the corporate Democrats betray the power entrusted to them by the voters, the voters will do as they always do and return power to the Republicans who abuse it worse than anyone.

This is why I don't cheer just because an electoral victor had a "D" after the name.

 
At 8:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Now that they are in power, Democrats in the Virginia legislature are almost certain to move quickly to tighten gun safety regulations, strengthen protections for LGBTQ residents and even raise the state’s minimum wage, which is currently only $7.25 an hour."

I guess that means absolutely nothing as far as you're concerned? You are an idiot (I seriously doubt there are three of you - I kinda wish DwT! writers paid more attention to the comments and occasionally weighed in on how many of 'em come from the same IA).

 
At 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Starting to feel lonely, 8:30? kos awaits your arrival.

 
At 12:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, actually 8:30 makes a point worth a chat.

I saw on "Real Time" some democrap panelist saying much the same thing (adding expansion of Medicaid, which would be more important IMO)

All I can say is, we'll see. I hope so, for the sake of those who must live in VA.

But if the new lege gets tied up vying for corporate dollars and whatever else can smother such reforms, which a corrupt party might only pass to pander to voters to stay electorally relevant, it won't take VA voters but one cycle to sweep them aside for a more honestly corrupt group.

I do honestly hope that 8:30 is correct. Wouldn't it be nice for a change for an electorate to benefit in spite of themselves... maybe start a trend? like was started in 1932? And was ended in 1980.

 
At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The House leadership race is a bad sign, but not entirely unexpected. Organized money dominates state politics as it does the federal level. Corporate lobbies have outsized influence.

Still there are some good signs -- in NoVA, the long serving Dem state senate majority leader Dick Saslaw almost lost to a progressive challenger in the primary this past June. Lee Carter looks like he actually got some support this go around too (if not from the state party, then at least from his House colleagues in safer seats). Several of the newer House Dems look pretty good on some issue. At a minimum the Virginia power company monopoly looks like it could face a challenge to its power in the near-term.

I agree with Stamp that there isn't enough investment in rural districts by the state party. Most of the party building seems to be fairly decentralized at the county level. Stamp faced an additional challenge -- in addition to the 5 to 1 money disadvantage and Northam's snub -- he was trying to win a district that is understood to be firmly in the GOP's control (e.g. a 23.2+ point GOP lean based on models) I'm sure that the assumption was that even if he'd had a 1 to 1 advantage in money he still probably would have lost based on the history of the district. Still, you never really know until someone runs.

Incidentally, if you want a great research, the Virginia public acess project (VPAP), has a good website that makes it easy to research money and elections in the state.

https://www.vpap.org

 

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