The Democratic Party in Virginia runs a weak game against the forces of the ultra-right within the red state.
The Story So Far
As of this writing, Glenn Youngkin’s administration has purged thousands of early votes from the database that tallies all the votes in total. This was mainly people with a felony conviction, though Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) had restored their voting rights some time before. As of this writing, the investigator general (appointed previously by now-disgraced Ralph Northam as Governor) has been asked to investigate this predicament and how it happened, though whether anything can be found and pointed to anyone, including the current Governor himself, is hard to say.
It should be noted that this comes in a heady election season, where, as the Washington Post puts it, the election is “to determine Virginia’s political future for at least the next two years — deciding whether Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) can steer the state sharply to the right (and keep his presidential buzz alive) or Democrats can hang on to enough power to block his 15-week abortion ban and other conservative goals.” Indeed, even as the Democrats in Virginia have in recent years played a weak game with the state Republican Party (the previous Governor’s lackluster “At least I’m not Trump” campaign against Youngkin comes to mind), the ultra-right has been on the offensive. Indeed, much could ride on this election beyond the next two years, as the odds aren’t necessarily on the side of those standing against Youngkin and the Virginia Republicans.
In the opinion of the author of this article, Glenn Youngkin represents a threat much worse than Trump and DeSantis combined. With the ascendancy of Glenn Youngkin has also come the rise of a few new developments that have blossomed into movements, particularly the book-banning movement headed by evangelical donors and organizations and the anti-“CRT” scare. The “parental rights” movement has also made Virginia a burgeoning stronghold of the movement itself. Glenn Youngkin’s “centrist” veneer, coupled with “who, me?” rhetorical deflections, and buoyed by noncommittal answers to pressing policy questions has made him into a low-key ultra-right stalwart compared to, again, Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis. His political connections, such as his relationship with Gov. Greg Abott of Texas (R) is also a pause for concern (it should be noted that just recently, troops from the Commonwealth of Virginia were sent to the border of Texas to help round up undocumented immigrants).
In particular, the issues of abortion and the LGBTQ+ community (especially in regard to the transgender community) have come up the most in recent weeks, though this arguably doesn’t scratch the surface of what’s at stake, as police brutality, the sorry state of the mental health system in Virginia, and the Gaza war, even in the background, loom in the distance. An emboldening of the ultra-right forces that have coalesced around the current Governorship is also an issue, provided that they manage to shift government institutions even more to the right-wing. Housing is also a huge issue not often talked about in the press yet fights to protect the housing of the poor and BIPOC peoples of the state abound. Of course, these issues (but not all, unfortunately) will be determined by whether or not the state legislature is in the hands of the Democrats or Republicans.
Joe Sims in recent years has urged the Communist Party USA to run our own candidates in any way we can. For now, it is best that we support candidates, the most left (as far as bourgeois politics will allow), to combat the ultra-right menace. There should be no illusion that the Democratic Party, particularly in Virginia, is in many ways incompetent and in many ways complicit with the rest of the bourgeois factions that make up the structural state of the USA. Hence, why all avenues of struggle, not limited to voting, must be pursued. Mutual aid, mass movements, education, unionism, and the establishment of dual power are all valid forms, and many others not mentioned here. A state at the behest of MAGA Republicans, openly anti-communist (certainly: anti-us here at the Communist Party), would give little room to politically maneuver for the Virginia district of the CPUSA. Whether a communist votes is simply a tactical choice, not a moral one. You do not have to vote, but I would also argue that no one, particularly communists, should be shamed into abstaining from voting.
As students protest against the anti-trans policies of the Youngkin administration in Virginia and environmentalists challenge Dominion’s stranglehold of the energy sector of the state, it is doubly vital that we be out there for them, for the working-class. In the end, it’s to show that we’re with them. It’s not a matter of recruitment, but goodwill in general, of establishing alliances. Virginia’s history is bereft of activism in many areas. Let us help spur on that activist spirit within the state, in the state where hardly anything ever moves, where news doesn’t make it far outside its borders, where we have a solid chance of turning the state truly red due to new attitudes among zoomers and millennials and even Gen Xers and those even older. We’ve all seen it over the past years: what looked like complacency before within the state has given way to a heightened sense of activism with such groups like LaColectiva and the re-establishment of NAARPR since its heyday in the 1980s.
Nothing was given to us. We fought for all the democratic institutions that we have now, in spite of the American bourgeoisie. Let us be there for the people still fighting for them. But let us also show them and educate them, that there is something beyond those democratic institutions, something truly democratic for all. We have nothing to hide and we will not hide. People fought and bled for what little democracy we have in the United States so let’s at least stymie the ultra-right movement while we bring more people to our side as a truly independent force in the body politic.
Recommended media on the issue of the ultra-right:
Further recommended readings on related topics:
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