(By the Greene County Democratic Committee)
A source of information and inspiration for Democrats
Recent Activities Key Issues Bulletin Board How to Get Involved Why We Are Democrats Voting Procedures About Us
(click on the photo to go to the victor's website)
WHEN: March 31 - April 2 (Friday, March 31 - registration, welcome reception; Saturday, April 1 - registration, seminars, luncheon; Sunday, April 2 - awards breakfast)
WHERE: Holiday Inn Valley View, Roanoke, VA
For more information on speakers, registration, awards nominations, etc. go to: http://www.ruralvadems.org/rural-retreat/ .
Thank you, and I'll see you in Roanoke!
We will be meeting at the Town Hall in Stanardsville, which is located just to the left of the Post Office on Celt Road, just off Main Street. Parking is available behind the Town Hall or across the street at the County Administration building. No reservations necessary.
We will be discussing actions we can take to convert the "Resistance" efforts into election success this November in Virginia, and throughout the country in 2018.
Come and get involved, and enjoy good conversation, good coffee and some good snacks.
The Voter Registration deadline to be able to vote in the Primary is May 22.
We also will be voting for our House of Delegates member representing Greene County, and for our Board of Supervisor member from the Standardsville and Midway Districts in Greene.
The Voter Registration deadline to be able to vote in the General Electin is October 16. The last day for absentee voting in person is November 4.
By Timothy Snyder
How to Change Your Government
- Republicans control the US Senate and House of Representatives, and a person who claims to be a Republican is now President.
- Republicans control the Virginia Senate and the House of Delegates. Even though Virginia has a Democratic Governor, the Republicans in the General Assembly can prevent most Democratic initiatives, and they control funding decisions.
- How did Republicans gain control of the US Congress and the Virginia House of Delegates? Republican candidates won more Senate and House seats than their opponents, and therefore they had the majority of members in each legislative body.
- As the majority party they get to establish Committees, name Chairs of the Committees, decide what bills will be considered and passed, determine government funding levels, and confirm or reject appointments by the President or Governor. Only the legislative bodies make laws at the Federal and state level. The President does not make laws. Governors do not make laws.
- There are only two political parties in the United States that have been able to gain the number of elected representatives to control a legislative body: the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. And one of those two political parties controls every Federal and state legislative body in the country.
- The only effective way to change what our Federal and State governments do is to change the political party in control of the US Congress and the Virginia General Assembly.
- Voters must decide which of the two political parties is most likely to represent their interests. There is no third political party that has any control over any Federal or state government. The choice is to elect a Democratic majority or a Republican majority. A vote for an “independent” or for a third party, or a failure to vote for a Democrat, is in effect a vote for the Republican party.
What Actions Are Necessary to Elect Democrats?
Electing more Democrats is a “Do It Yourself” project. There is no established organization or institution or individual with the power or ability to do this for you, no matter how much you are willing to pay.
There are three key steps to electing more Democrats:
1. Get involved in selecting the individuals nominated to be the Democratic candidates for elected offices, at all levels of government, to help ensure that the candidates will be successful. This may include being a candidate yourself.
2. Persuade progressives, liberals and other like-minded people to vote for Democrats at every election, at all levels of government, even in cases when they are not inspired by the candidate or do not agree with everything the candidate proposes.
3. Persuade “independents”, the undecided, and the uninformed or the misinformed of the importance of electing Democrats to all positions, at all levels of government, because Democrats will promote and pursue their interests, and the alternative is Republican rule. There is no need to attempt to persuade Republican activists - there are ample Democratic votes without them, if people actually vote.
How to Get Involved in Selecting Democratic Nominees
The Democratic Party determines the process and sets the rules for determining which candidates will appear on your ballot as a Democrat. You can directly influence the process and rules only by being an active participant in the Party. (The exception to this is that by Virginia law, incumbents in Virginia’s Senate or House seats may determine whether a primary or caucus process is used.)
Candidates for government office become Democratic nominees by one of two processes: 1. a Primary election, or 2. a Caucus, with or without a Convention. With the exception noted above, the appropriate Democratic Party Committee decides which of these processes will be used.
The Democratic Party of Virginia decides on the process to be used for selecting nominees for US Senator, and for Virginia’s Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General. It also sets the process for selecting delegates to elect the Democratic nominee for President. The Congressional District Democratic Committee for each of the eleven Congressional Districts in Virginia decides how US House of Representative candidates will be nominated. Nominees for Virginia’s Senate and House of Delegates seats are selected by a process determined by the County and City Democratic Committees located within the respective Senate or House district. Democratic candidates for any County or City elected position are determined by a process set by the County or City Democratic Committee.
The Primary Election Process
If the appropriate Democratic Committee decides to have a primary to select their nominee for a position, the Committee will inform the State Board of Elections of that decision, and the Board of Elections will organize and manage the primary election. The Democratic Committee and the Board of Elections will set forth the rules to be followed by any candidate who wishes to have his or her name on the Democratic primary ballot. There will be a deadline for filing as a candidate, and requirements will include a minimum number of signatures by eligible voters, and a filing fee.
The Democratic Party of Virginia has decided that there will be a Primary Election to select the Democratic nominees this year for Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General. The Board of Elections has set the Primary Election Date as June 13.
In Virginia, voters do not register by Party, so any registered voter may vote in the Democratic Primary (but they can’t vote in both the Democratic and Republican Primary). The ability of Republican supporters to vote in the Democratic Primary permits them to vote for the candidate they believe has the least chance of winning in November, and it can have very unfortunate impacts in a close race.
The state Democratic Party also decided to use the Primary Election process in 2016 to determine the number of state Delegates to the Democratic National Convention who would be pledged to support Clinton or Sanders. Although the actual Delegates to the National Convention were elected at later District Democratic Conventions and the State Democratic Convention, the numbers to be elected pledged to Clinton and Sanders were already decided by the results of the Primary.
The Fifth District Democratic Committee could decide to hold a Primary to select the Democratic nominee for Congress every two years, but in recent years the Committee has opted for the Caucus process. The Committees to select nominees for the Virginia State Senate and the House of Delegates and for any County or City Democratic candidates also could use the Primary process if they wished, but the Caucus process is more commonly used for these positions.
The Caucus Process
A Caucus usually is organized and managed by the local County or City Democratic Committee, and usually is held within the County or City. The organizing Committee announces that registered voters in the county or city who are Democrats may attend the Caucus at which they may vote for one or more of the candidates for elected positions. In some cases the Caucus attendees will vote to elect delegates to a convention who are pledged to vote for a particular candidate, rather than voting directly for a candidate. In Virginia, voters do not register by political party so it is not possible to limit participation to registered party members, but participants are required to sign an oath that they are Democrats and will not support any competing candidates in upcoming elections.
In many cases, the local Caucus will be one of many such local Caucuses held within a Congressional District or a Virginia Senate district or a House of Delegates District, to elect pledged delegates to a central convention to formally elect the Democratic nominee.
The candidates for public office are responsible for encouraging their supporters to participate in the Caucus to vote their support for the candidate. And candidates or their representatives are provided an opportunity to appeal for votes before voting begins at the Caucus. In most cases, participation will come primarily from active Democrats in the community who are informed about the qualifications of the candidates, and total participation usually is smaller than in a Primary election.
In 2016, the Fifth District Democratic Committee decided to hold Caucuses followed by a Convention to select the Democratic nominee for Congress. Greene County held a Caucus to elect delegates to the Convention, and the Convention included delegates from all 23 counties and cities in the District.
This year, the Democratic Committees from Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, and Rockingham have created a special Democratic Committee to be responsible for selecting the nominee for the House of Delegates seat representing our area (now held by R. Bell). The special Committee, chaired by an Albemarle Democratic officer, has decided to hold a Caucus to select the nominee.
How to Persuade Progressives and Liberals to Vote for Democrats?
There is no secret method or special tool to use in this DIY project. It is simply the process of telling everyone you know of the importance of voting for Democrats, this year, next year and the years thereafter.
Several new progressive groups and anti-Trump groups have been formed since the November election, and there are several long-term special interest groups that support progressive causes. These groups can and do operate independent of the Democratic Party, and can help define and promote desirable governmental policies which can be adopted by Democratic candidates. But we do need to come together to win elections this fall and in subsequent years. By having good voter turnout and winning elections, we will be able to defeat Republican candidates, reform the election redistricting process before the 2020 Census, and provide the basis for longer term progressive success.
All progressives, liberals and clear thinkers need to understand that come election day there are really only two political parties, and only a vote for Democratic candidates at all levels of government will remove these Republicans from control of our governments. Failure to vote for Democratic candidates is a vote for Republicans.
How to Persuade the Independents, the Undecided and the Uninformed?
Most people who are undecided about which political party to support have a few specific interests or issues that are most important to them. It may be health insurance, or Social Security, a job search, or an environmental concern. Try to determine their interests and then explain how Democratic policies and programs will deal with their concerns while Republican actions clearly show that they are intent on protecting the rich, and large corporations, at the expense of the poor and powerless.
The Greene County Democratic Committee members can provide information to help you explain the Democratic and Republican positions on all the major issues and concerns of today.
How Do I Get Involved With the Democratic Party?
The saying that “all politics is local” is particularly accurate in getting involved in the Democratic Party. The local County or City Democratic Committee is the entrance to and the home of all grassroots Democratic activities in the state. Activists at the County or City level might become participants in decisions at the District, state or national level, but the real action occurs at the local level.
It is easy to get involved. Come to monthly events held by the Greene County Democratic Committee. Volunteer to perform some of the many activities of the Committee. Propose new activities and volunteer to lead the effort. Volunteer to serve in contacting potential voters. Volunteer to serve as a worker on election day. Volunteer to serve as a Precinct Captain, or as an officer at the County level. Volunteer to be a delegate to conventions. Take the initiative to propose and implement changes if you are not happy with what the Committee is now doing.
The Democratic Committee can help with information about how to run for office, how to influence the selection of Democratic candidates, how to turn out voters, and how to follow the rules to make an impact. We must all stand together to win elections and take back our government. The Democratic Party can do nothing if we don't win elections on all levels, so we all need to get involved now in growing and improving, YES, IMPROVING, the Democratic Party at the grassroots level.
The Democratic Party is not a static organization. It can and will change in response to your DIY actions. Give it a try.
By Jesse Lee
For eight years I had the indescribable honor of serving in President Obama's White House, most recently as Special Assistant to the President & Director of Rapid Response. I played a lot of different roles, but going back through the 2008 transition and even back to the DNC during that campaign, I've served as a nexus between the White House and progressive advocates, bloggers, journalists, and pundits — I thought it might be worth sharing some of my perspective publicly with any progressive that cares to read it.
First and foremost: I say in all honesty that very little would have gotten done without you, and it’s become even more clear to me in these final days that your constructive criticism/pushing/occasional outrage helped make this White House a better White House, and this president a better president.
Looking forward, as bleak a moment as this is in many ways, I’m optimistic for the future of progressives and the Democratic Party. As contentious as things can sometimes seem within our side, I think there’s remarkable consensus on the kind of progressive change we need, captured in great detail through the hard work of the unified Democratic platform. I think a lot of the goals we had coming into 2009 have seen immense measurable accomplishment, more so than virtually any pundit would have thought possible at the time. On so many issues, progressives and President Obama have helped move the Overton window in the right direction (take some time to reflect on political conventional wisdom in 2008 and I think you’ll agree). But part of progress is having to defend that progress, sooner or later, with your back against the wall. That time came sooner than expected, but it was always going to come. And reversing it is going to be a lot harder than Republicans advertised, because the benefits are just so damned real.
As we all continue to grapple with the election's aftermath, there’s one critique that I’ve heard from the media, from some supporters of the incoming administration, and from some folks on the left who I truly respect, that I want to take on — namely that the Democratic Party and/or Obama “didn’t fight for working people.”
That I can't abide.
• When Obama passed the Recovery Act, a bigger stimulus than the New Deal, the infrastructure spending, the investments in clean energy manufacturing,
and the Making Work Pay tax cuts were for working people.
Obama wasn’t perfect; with any president you can find shortcomings, and more people that could have or should have been helped; we owe it to those people to learn lessons and do better in the future. But I honestly believe he will be remembered as one of our greatest presidents, precisely because fighting for working people is literally what got him (and his staff) out of bed in the morning, what made him love and cherish the job up to the very last day. And the Democratic Party, which buckled down and sacrificed huge numbers of its members for the sake of insuring tens of millions of people, and which in vast majority stood strong to stop war in Iran, has been a party I can believe in as a vehicle for change, for all its warts.
All of that is to say that I’m proud, and I hope you’ll be proud too of what you’ve been a part of and witnessed. Because it is now all under threat from the party that actually disdains the working class. Take stock of what we've done together because the time to defend it has already come. And the fight is not for Obama's legacy, nor would he want it to be. It's for working people, be they white, black, Hispanic, Asian, tribal—even Trump's own voters.
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