Labor Day marked the unofficial end of summer and the “official” start of the final stretch of this year’s campaigns. Virginians have the opportunity to let their voices be heard each year with local, state and/or national elections. This November 6 the election will be for the President, our Congressmen and one of our Senators.
In just about every reported scenario, Virginia has been identified as a battleground state in the presidential election. While Virginians will play a very important part in determining the outcome of the national election, we will be subjected to one of the most expensive marketing campaigns in the nation’s history. Additionally, look for numerous campaign stops from both the Democratic and the Republican candidates before the polls open.
The airwaves in our region have been flooded for the better part of this summer with paid advertisement that has done little to introduce the candidates. It appears the desired outcome is to bend and stretch the truth as far as possible while painting the most negative picture of these individuals. With the rise of Super PACs, there is no end in sight from this assault on our intelligence. Buckle up for the ugliest possible ride to the finish line. It is a bit disconcerting that a very defined number of individuals funding these PACs will have such a significant influence over the outcome of our national elections.
The drama of this cliffhanger may even continue into days after the polls close. We now have new voter identification laws and provisional vote processing, which may well be the significant factors in determining the outcome of this election. These elements add up to the perfect election storm that can hold up declaring a national winner for days. Be sure to bring identification to the polls when you vote.
Last week the Republicans met in Tampa for their convention. Despite a public distancing, from Todd Akin, their platform contains an extreme anti-choice position, including barring Choice options even in cases of rape and/or incest. The Republican War on Women is alive and well throughout this nation.
This week we have heard the speeches and read about the platforms of the Democrats in Charlotte. I believe there is a clear difference between the candidates. Cutting through most of the political rhetoric, I am still looking for the compelling argument to deny President Obama the opportunity of a second term.
I also believe that this Congress, led by Republicans, has failed to do its job and purposely stayed mired in gridlock to stymie the President’s agenda. It’s a shame that this stagnation has its roots in political advantage for the next campaign! The influence of the Tea Party and its threat to primary moderate Republicans makes compromise and legislative progress almost impossible.
I strongly encourage you to stay involved in this election – learn as much as possible about the candidates, volunteer and make sure you and your friends are eligible to cast your vote on November 6.
Best wishes to our students as they start the new academic year.
Senator Saslaw represents the 35th District in the Virginia State Senate. He may be e-mailed at [email protected]