A Lesson from Virginia

The headline coming out of Virginia’s House of Delegates is that a transgender Democrat beat a proudly homophobic Republican. It’s a great headline, and it’s significant, but we think there’s more to Danica Roem’s victory than her defeat of hatred.

Roem didn’t run on her identity. She didn’t let the election be about the divisive social issues her opponent preferred, and which have been used to divide working people for decades.

She ran as a mom and a lifelong resident promising to fix traffic chaos on the main thoroughfare through the district. She ran based on doing important things for the people who she was asking to vote for her. When her victory was assured she refused to condemn her opponent, saying he is now her constituent and she doesn’t insult her constituents.

She won for many reasons, primary among them her adherence to the maxim that all politics is local. She refused to be distracted by anything else. She is deeply connected with her district, it’s service is her calling, and her potential constituents recognized that.

That’s the kind of candidate Democrats need to nominate if they’re going to reclaim lost ground in the industrial Midwest and Appalachia – traditional strongholds that have been lost to the politics of division and abstraction.

Those are the candidates People’s House Project finds and supports.

The People's House Project