Northam for Virginia. Part II.

The current Lt. Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, is the right choice for Virginia and for America. Here are some reasons why.

1. Good Policies for Virginians. Northam would continue many of Gov. Terry McAuliffe's Pro-Economic and Fair Social Opportunities Policies for Virginians with further emphasis on key issues:

He will offer more programs to bolster Virginia K-12 education and make higher education accessible to more Virginians through level tuition programs. He supports loan relief for students burdened by debt. He links economic policy to economic growth by his vision of making Virginia the Best State for Talent in America.

He stands for economic opportunity and access for all including women, Veterans, rural Virginians and poor Virginians. He supports a phase out of the state grocery tax, as a burden on the poor.

He is a doctor who will fight the opinoid and narcotic crisis in Virginia. He stands with NARAL and Planned Parenthood on women's health and women's right to choose. He supports Obamacare and the continued expansion of Medicaid in Virginia.

He supports reasonable gun control including enhancing background checks and banning Bump stocks, high capacity magazines and assault weapons. He has embraced Gov. McAuliffe's innovative initiative promoting low-carbon energy technologies with pragmatic, market-based policies.

2. A Leader for All Virginians. Unlike his opponent who was recently caught telling donors that North Virginia was “enemy territory," Northam is a candidate for all Virginians. The breadth of the policies he has proposed (see no.1 above) makes that clear. Unlike his opponent, Northam has stated his opposition to the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville.

3. Northam is Donald Trump's nightmare. Trump has tweeted for Northam's opponent. The election of Ralph Northam and other down-ticket Democrats in Virginia on Tuesday will send a message to the White House and the GOP on where Americans stand in 2017.

4. Overview. Here is The Washington Post's endorsement.

THE RESULTS of Virginia's gubernatorial primaries this spring, in which Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie each beat more extreme party challengers, looked promising for the commonwealth's voters, whose record of electing more or less pragmatic candidates in statewide races is well established. Both men are able, widely respected and have had impressive careers, including in business and politics — Mr. Northam, the current lieutenant governor, as an Army veteran and pediatric neurologist; Mr. Gillespie as a Republican operative and lobbyist.

Mr. Northam, whose knack for working across the aisle once prompted Republicans in the state Senate to ask him to switch parties, mounted a campaign largely true to his reputation for decency and good sense. Unfortunately, Mr. Gillespie chose a different path. Faced with a choice of highlighting his undeniable command of policy or pandering to vile and racially inflammatory tendencies in his party's base, the Republican opted for the latter. In so doing, he shocked even some admirers.

It is not that Mr. Northam is qualified and Mr. Gillespie unqualified. It is that Mr. Northam can convincingly promise to be governor for all Virginians, while Mr. Gillespie, even while asserting the same, has disqualified himself from any such credible claim. We support Mr. Northam.

Having used massive TV advertising buys to whip up the fears and hatreds of his party's extremists — by equating illegal immigrants with violent Hispanic gangs; by embracing Confederate monuments weeks after they were the rallying cause for neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville; by distorting the facts on rights restoration for a convicted sex offender — the Republican candidate has swapped his cloak as a problem-solver for a demagogue's mantle. Having chosen to campaign as a divider, Mr. Gillespie's chances of governing as a uniter are dim.

It is possible that Mr. Gillespie's descent into gutter tacticswill pay off at the polls Nov. 7. If that's the case, and Virginia Republicans rejoice on election night, what they will really be celebrating is a victory of divisiveness and the ascent of wedge politics in a state once known for comity.

On policy, both men have records reflecting their own party's mainstream priorities; we have agreements and disagreements with each. However, while Mr. Northam has maintained relatively consistent stances, Mr. Gillespie, trying to play to both right-wing and centrist factions in the GOP, has hopscotched from one side to the other on many issues.

He attacked Virginia's 2013 landmark transportation bill, the first to raise new revenue for deteriorating state roads in a quarter-century, branding it as a massive tax hike backed by Mr. Northam, before he was for keeping it, as a means of securing the endorsement of a business group in Northern Virginia.

On transgender bathrooms, he skewered the idea that girls would share a restroom with boys who identify as girls, then pivoted, again to court a business group's support, by saying he'd oppose legislation like North Carolina's banning transgender bathrooms.

He's similarly straddled on providing in-state tuition subsidies at public universities for "dreamers" — undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children — telling a campaign rally he'd oppose it while suggesting to us he had no position on the issue.

Before he tilted toward incendiary social issues, the centerpiece of Mr. Gillespie's campaign platform was a pie-in-the-sky tax cut that would slash state revenue, by about $1.4 billion from an annual tax-supported budget of $20 billion — even as he proposed dozens of costly new programs and initiatives. Asked to name state programs he might cut to pay for his tax plan, Mr. Gillespie did not name any.

We have areas of disagreement with Mr. Northam as well. He too proposes a tax cut, though a more modest one — scrapping the grocery tax for low-income Virginians — and, like Mr. Gillespie, offers no realistic plan to pay for it. Mr. Northam would kill Virginia's current standardized tests in public schools, on grounds that they are excessive and unfair to disadvantaged students. Yet he has no alternative that would measure achievement or ensure that schools remain accountable. (Mr. Gillespie, for his part, offers doublespeak on the question of testing and accountability, though he is more determined to broaden educational options by expanding the state's paltry roster of charter schools.)

On climate change, Mr. Northam would continue Gov. Terry McAuliffe's (D) innovative initiative promoting low-carbon energy technologies with efficient, market-based policies. Mr. Gillespie has condemned the plan, in keeping with his and his party's effort to promote coal, an outdated, dirty energy source that has struggled to compete in recent years.


Ralph Northam, in short, is a man of good sense and values. He will be an effective governor for Virginia, and move us away from Donald Trump's America in his person and in his policies.

#VoteNortham - Election Day, Tuesday, November 7th.

For the next 72 hours, any Democrat not focused on Northam v Gillespie in Virginia and on the Down Ticket races there is not focused on what we as citizens can do now to take back our country. We need to win this.


November 5, 2017

Post Script. Live In Virginia? Vote on Tuesday and remind family and friends to Vote. Live elsewhere? Sign up to Get Out The Vote in Virginia from Your Home State.

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