Why Virginia?

The past two weeks have been anything but dull. Trumpcare 2.0 made its way through the House, and the president fired the FBI director, who just happened to be the guy investigating him. Through it all, we are reminded of this painful truth:

Elections have consequences.

But the good news is this:

Elections have consequences!

We can’t change the past, but the future is ours.  We are frequently asked to protest, march, and sign petitions, but the only thing that matters is winning elections. That is why you joined Sister District.

We announced our first wave of nine Sister Races in April, and already you have raised almost $25,000, which goes directly to these candidates! We held a training in Virginia last weekend, and we have another training in Seattle this weekend. We are preparing for phone banking, canvassing, and postcard-writing campaigns. If you have not yet been connected to your district captain, let us know (we respond to every message!) and we will be sure to get you squared away.  And don't forget that after the Virginia primaries in June, every team will get a second Sister Race to support.

Now that you have your Sister Races, most of which are Virginia House of Delegates races, we want to address the questions: Why the states, and why Virginia?

Getting involved in state legislative races is the most valuable action we can take this year. Here’s why:

  • Redistricting. State legislatures often control redistricting.  The Republicans have badly gerrymandered the states they control, keeping themselves in power and preventing proportional representation. The only way to reverse this is to win back state legislatures.
  • One Thousand Seats Lost. Over the past decade, the GOP has invested heavily in state legislative seats, and unfortunately, it has paid off. Republicans now control both chambers in 33 states, and Democrats hold 1,000 fewer state legislative seats than they did in 2008.
  • Trifectas. There are 25 Republican trifecta states, where Republicans control both chambers of state government and the governorship.  Democrats have only 6 trifecta states.  This is why we have been seeing so much awful legislation becoming law on issues of reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, gun control, immigration, and more.
  • States are Policy Laboratories. State level policies often serve as templates for national policy, and also for other states to adopt. We need strong Democratic state legislatures to set progressive policies that can be adopted elsewhere.  
  • Constitutional Convention.  If Republicans gain control of one more state legislature, they would be able to call for a Constitutional Convention to amend our federal Constitution. 

Ok. We know states are important. So why Virginia?

  • Only 2 states are having general legislative elections this year: Virginia and New Jersey. Virginia’s House of Delegates is heavily Republican, whereas both of New Jersey’s legislative chambers are controlled by Democrats.
  • Virginia has gone blue for the past three presidents, but its House of Delegates has 66 Republicans and 34 Democrats.  This is partly because the General Assembly controls redistricting, and Virginia is a heavily gerrymandered state.
  • Hillary Clinton won 51 of the 100 House of Delegate districts, and every one of those seats is up for grabs this year.
  • In 2015, there were 44 districts that did not even have a Democratic candidate. This year, there are only 20 districts without a Democratic candidate.
  • There are 17 districts that Hillary Clinton won that currently have a Republican delegate. All of those have a Democratic challenger.
  • The candidates coming forward to run are diverse, they include many women, people of color, and millennials. 

We could talk about the importance of Virginia all day.  But the bottom line is that the Republicans would love to add Virginia to their list of trifectas.  We need to win back the Virginia House of Delegates to lay the first brick in our firewall that will guard against a complete Republican takeover of this country.

We all know that elections have consequences.  And smaller elections can have giant consequences. Smaller elections also allow our relatively small organization to make a big difference.  So be proud to support your Sister Races!  They matter, more than anyone realizes. Seat by seat, we will remind the Republicans that two can play at this game.

And a reminder: we at Sister District are continuing to fundraise for our operational expenses so that we can support these important races.  We are so very grateful for your overwhelming generosity! Please check out our fundraising page to learn more and donate.

Keep up the amazing work!

Rita, Gaby, Lala, and Candis