This week has seen the 2020 primaries heating up with the switch of Virginia, a formerly republican red state, to a democratic blue. This voting result is consistent with the surge of more suburban populations attending the polls, which has been seen nationwide. The democrats are in control of the top three statewide offices as well as the House of Delegates and the Senate within Virginia after Tuesday’s election.
An important takeaway from this election is the money put into voter mobilization efforts in Virginia from a Democratic Super PAC, Forward Majority, allowing for more blue voters to turn out in greater numbers.
“A total of 1.2 million Virginians cast votes for Democratic state Senate candidates on Tuesday, while 892,000 chose Republicans, according to the state board of elections. More than 1.1 million voters supported Democratic House of Delegates candidates, while 985,000 chose Republicans,” stated the Washington Post. “Democrats flipped two seats in the state Senate and five seats in the House, ensuring majorities in both chambers. They also gained several seats and took control of the boards of supervisors in both Loudoun and Prince William counties.”
But what are the implications for this switch? More liberal policy changes are to be expected in the state alongside potential ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Virginia is a key state due to its tendency to be majority Republican in its House and Senate seats. Its proximity to Washington DC also shows significance in overall voting trends.
The next important event in the 2020 Democratic Primaries is the fifth debate, which will be taking place in Georgia and is co-hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post. This increase in debates with next year’s caucuses nearing shows the importance in state leanings from this point onwards.
This election also holds value due to the power of redistricting that is given to the Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting in Virginia. How these new districts are drawn directly ties into how each party will fare in each section. A new bipartisan commission has been proposed as a constitutional amendment to draw congressional maps and this will require each party’s vote before it is cemented fully.
The most vital aspect of this democratic win in Virginia is how their governmental actions will be perceived by other states. “That could have broader implications given the national election. People will be watching to see what the Democrats do in power now that they have it,” said Mark Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.
Virginia should be placed alongside other key partisan elections that happened in 2019, including Mississippi and Kentucky. The gubernatorial race in Kentucky shows the decline in percentage points for Republican incumbent Bevin, who is losing favor in the polls due to the moderate campaign of Democrat Andy Beshear.
For the students of Alma College, we should remember that our vote counts more than ever in both primary and national elections. 2020’s election is not a guarantee for any party just yet and everyone should make an effort to let their voices be heard civically.