Upbeat Democrats gathered in Falls Church’s Cherry Hill Park on Labor Day this Monday described signs of a major, seismic shift in the U.S. electorate as the nation moves closer to the November midterm elections here.
“The tide is turning,” beamed State Del. Marcus Simon. He proudly claimed Virginia as a “sanctuary state” where women from states with uncompromising conditions are flocking to ensure access to a woman’s health needs.
After being introduced by State Sen. Richard Saslaw as one of the most outstanding legislators in the entire nation, U.S. Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr. rallied the crowd around the potential for a huge sea change this November. It came after Saslaw announced that he would be contributing $1 million of his own money to the Democratic caucus in Richmond.
Marking Labor Day, Beyer noted that a massive change in the mood of the nation is reflected in the highest percentage of support for organized labor in the U.S., now up to 71 percent, the highest number in a century and a half, since prior to the Civil War.
He cited the recent passage in the House of the PRO Act (Protecting the Right to Organize) by a 225-206 margin. While it won a half dozen Republican votes, it faces a steeper challenge in the Senate, where among its detractors for the time being is Virginia’s U.S. Senator Mark Warner.
He said there is a strong push in the Senate led by Virginia’s other U.S. Senator Tim Kaine to block passage of legislation to reinstate Trump’s Schedule F, which would make it possible for any chief executive to fire a civil servant.
He said momentum is now swinging in favor of three first time Democratic women congressmen from Virginia – Elaine Luria, Jennifer Weston and Abigail Spanberger – who were elected in 2020 and now have been targeted by the Republicans for defeat this fall. Beyer said he will have all three lawmakers present for a fundraiser in his Alexandria home next week, and two of them will be present for a major fundraiser hosted by the LGBT+ Democrats of Virginia at Freddie’s Beach Bar in Pentagon City, tonight (Thursday).
Beyer said he’s heartened by the recent gains for President Biden and the Democrats for getting major legislation passed in recent weeks, including the massive climate change and job-creating legislation that sets a bottom of a 15 percent corporate tax, offsetting the fact that 25 percent of major companies in the U.S. were paying no taxes at all. “We’re getting there,” he exclaimed, hailing the triumph of “people over politics, greed and narcissism.”
In an Arlington event featuring Beyer and his two opponents on the ballot this November, Republican nominee Karina Lipsman and independent Teddy Fikre, there was little stomach for Beyer’s rivals to adopt a pro-Trump posture, or even an anti-abortion one, with Lipsman saying that she will respond to the will of the voters on the abortion and gun issues in the election.
Beyer briefed the News-Press on his recent trip with four U.S. congressional colleagues to the Far East. His delegation, led by Sen. Ed Markey and including Reps. John Garamendi, Allen Lowenthal and Amata Radewagen, followed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
He said he was most impressed by the appreciation shown the delegation by the Taiwanese leadership, which has been shaken by mainland Chinese encroachments closer to the island, with missiles being fired over the island, than at any point since the 1982 (“Six Assurances”) agreement was crafted aimed at advancing security and stabilization in the region.
It was not Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan that prompted this, he said, but that Pelosi’s visit was in reaction to it and Chinese president Xi’s aggression generally in the South China Sea.
In Cambodia, the delegation met with a prominent dissident to the current dictator there, and in the Philippines, the delegation was the first from the U.S. to visit with new president Ferdinand (Bongbong) Marcos, the son of the former dictator. “Human rights is the biggest issue there,” Beyer said. It was reported that 600-700 dissidents were killed in an alleged anti-drug crackdown, but there is evidence the death toll was closer to 6,000-7,000, he said.
The delegation met with the jailed leading dissident Sen. Leila de Lima.
Overall, Beyer told the News-Press he has hopes for long-term stability and progress in the region as pressure from the U.S. to address human rights issues grows.