By DPVA Chairwoman Susan Swecker
The passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a tragic loss to all of us who, regardless of political party affiliation, believe in fairness and equal justice, and to women everywhere who were inspired by her life and her work. Now that we’ve had some time to mourn, I have to put my DPVA Chair hat back on and absorb what her passing means for our political future. I can sum it up in three words: elections have consequences.
We’ve been saying it for years, and the campaigns we’ve had since 2016 in Virginia have taught us better than anyone what the consequences of a few elections can mean. And to RBG the consequences of elections were painfully clear. Her final words, “my most fervent wish is that I not be replaced until a new president is installed,” are a sign that she knew how much was at stake. The Affordable Care Act and millions of Virginians’ health care hangs in the balance; not to mention the future of gender and pay equality, reproductive rights, same sex marriage, environmental protection, voting rights, workers’ rights, and more.
The pundits say Democrats aren’t as motivated by the Supreme Court as Republicans. I think this year is going to prove them wrong. In 2016 far too many people took the election for granted, too many read the poll numbers and celebrated early, too many people were too worried about the victory party and not about the hard work to get there. But this year I believe all Democrats, not just in Virginia but around the country, have the same thought: never again, not this time.
One thing I’ve learned through many election cycles and the pain of a few defeats is that you can’t change the political past. We can’t build a time machine and go back to elect Hillary. We can’t control the fact Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett. But what we can control are the results of this coming election. And we can control the future. We can control what happens after January 20, 2021. But in order to do that we must stay laser focused and not get distracted. To quote Elvis Presley, Democrats need a little less conversation and a little more action. Or in 2020 terms, “tweet less, work harder.”
For the past week I have answered hundreds of emails, texts and calls from anxious Virginia Democrats. And my advice to them simple: let’s quit watching so much cable news, get off the laptop, and get to work. It is up to us to make sure we do not have four more years of Donald Trump or a Republican-controlled Senate. It’s up to us to organize and let our neighbors know who we are for. It’s up to us to safely remind people to vote for Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Mark Warner and each and every one of our Congressional candidates. And it is up to us to make sure everyone we know is registered and has a plan to vote. It is up to us to let people know they can vote early, vote by mail, or vote on Election Day. Never before has voting in Virginia been this easy; and never before has there been so much at stake.
While Virginia is definitely trending blue we can’t rely on the past and put our Commonwealth automatically in the win column. And that gets back to the calls I’m getting from Democrats from Richmond to Roanoke, Fairfax to Fredericksburg. Everyone wants predictions about November 3rd. We all need to remember that we win when we stop predicting and start affecting. Each and every one of us can affect turnout, create enthusiasm, and make the case for why we need to make Joe Biden the next President of the United States.
So between now and November 3rd let’s keep our eye on the prize and help Joe Biden and Kamala Harris restore the soul of our nation. Justice Ginsburg gave it her all, let’s pick up the mantle in her honor, in support of our candidates here in Virginia and across the nation who need our help. Together we can affect the outcome of this election and get this country we love back on the right track.