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DFA Takes a Stand in Virginia Governor’s Race

DFA Electoral Staff March Against White Supremacy - August 2017

Democracy for America (DFA) is not the Liberal Tea Party. Sorry to burst the bubble of certain journalists and hardcore Virginia Democrats who are freaking out that the organization is not another rubber stamp operation.  In response to comments made by Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam, DFA released a statement indicating that the organization would no longer do anything to directly aid Northam’s campaign for Governor.

Per the statement, DFA never endorsed Northam, but provided aid as a part of grassroots activities to engage voters “up and down the ballot.” In its statement, DFA further explained that for the past several weeks there had already been issues concerning the Northam campaign’s treatment of Lieutenant Governor candidate Justin Fairfax. Northam’s recent statement was the last straw. DFA did what Democrats ought to do, stand against political gamesmanship and throwing constituencies under the bus.

Under its current leadership, DFA has been committed to fighting for racial and economic justice. The night of the Charlottesville attack, DFA staffers helped lead a solidarity march and rally of attendees from Netroots Nation. Instead of rushing to take the stage, staff ensured that activists and organizers of color were centered during the rally.

Defenders of Northam gloss over his statements and the treatment of Fairfax. There is little to no concern for the dog whistling because “no one is perfect” and he’s the “best chance” to win. Democrats need to learn to not make the same mistakes where they are backed up against a wall defending the indefensible.  DFA founder, former Governor now lobbyist Howard Dean, took to Twitter to denounce the organization and called the position “stupid.”

Another defender of Northam chose to highlight the Dillon rule as preventing Virginia from having sanctuary cities. For this faithful carrier of the blue flag reciting this fact undid the tone and nature of Northam’s comments. Even if the Dillon rule would prevent the establishment of sanctuary cities this begs the question “why would Northam go out of his way to comment on not supporting sanctuary cities”? Simple, it sends a message to anti-immigrant tough on crime Republicans that he is a viable option.

This type of maneuvering has been employed several times and failed. Democracy for America is well within its right to take a stand when candidates or Democratic operatives espouse views that are contrary to the organization’s values. In the aftermath of the Charlottesville attack, liberals and progressives of all creeds and colors stood together to stand against White Supremacy. Unfortunately, many care about ending White Supremacy only when it comes to “resisting” Trump. Democrats threaten to pull resources from good candidates or deny access to voter data for far less.

As with the Charlottesville rally, DFA once again followed the lead of staffers of color and took a stance in accordance with its values. Taking a stand on matters of racial and economic justice should be applauded always and encouraged.

Written by Anoa Changa

Mom 1st, Lawyer 2nd. Anoa Changa is Director of Political Advocacy and a Managing Editor of Progressive Army, as well as a member of its Editorial Board. She hosts The Way with Anoa, Wednesdays at 9pm ET on YouTube . Follow her on Twitter @TheWayWithAnoa. "Never tell me the odds." - Han Solo


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  1. brilliant for DFA to un-endorse someone they hadn’t endorsed in the first place. And if we lose the Virginia governor’s mansion, that’ll be 33 governor’s mansions controlled by GOP, only one away from 34, the number of governors required to convene a Constitutional Convention. How do we all think a right wing controlled constitutional convention would shake out for liberals and every marginalized community in this country? I’m a long time Virginia state disabilities and feminist activist. Northam commented on a non-issue in VA because WE HAVE NO SANCTUARY CITIES IN VA. it’s hypothetical here, as opposed to being right on issues that AREN’T hypothetical here. It’s fascinating to me that the far left wing of our party thinks they know how to win elections. Seems to me you all may help us lose the Virginia governor’s mansion.

    • They issued a statement explaining why they weren’t doing something and why they were taking a stand. There have been a lot of issues and they decided to do as they felt was best for the candidates they have endorsed. Orgs and individuals need to stop excusing bad party behavior and demand candidates and their campaigns do right.

      Former Governor Wilder also notes some of the issues in the party https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/first-read/inside-bellwether-virginia-governor-s-race-tightens-n816631

      Enjoy your Saturday!

      • Kind of late in the game to be demanding a proper candidate, isn’t it? You think Ed Gillespie is any better, because right now you are actively working towards his election. God damn you far left morons are taking the rest of us down with you in your need to have everything perfectly how YOU want it.

    • You should be demanding better from the VA Dem party. Really hope they aren’t doing republican canvassing again this weekend.

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Turn the Republican Base Against the Republican Party: Part One

DFA Takes a Stand in Virginia Governor’s Race