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Democrats, Don't Give Up!
October 23, 2001
by J. Carlos Jiacinto

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The Democratic Underground message board seems to be full of posters claiming that the Democratic party's cause is lost going into 2001 and 2002. The defeatist mentality fills web sites with Democratic loyalists acting as if they already lost the elections of 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004. Reading their posts, one leaves with the impression that the world has ended and that the sky is falling. In this current period in time, where Bush's numbers are extremely positive, many Democrats have adopted a defeatist mentality.

Although the attacks of September 11, 2001 changed the political dynamics, I am writing to say that by no means are the Democrats' chances gone. If anything the party is still alive and well. I say this because two major races are occurring in this country. In Virginia and New Jersey voters will elect two new governors.

In the New Jersey race, due to his opponent's horrendous missteps, Jim McGreevey stands poised to return Trenton to Democratic control. In Virginia, with the endorsements of the Washington Board of Trade, the Firefighters Association, various sherrifs, and the Washington Post, coupled with more than enough money, businessman Mark Warner leads GOP Attorney General Mark Earley.

Warner seems headed for a narrow victory, returning Richmond to the Democrats after eight years of Republican rule. Coupled with Jim Hahn's win in Los Angeles, and the likelyhood that Mark Green will defeat Michael Bloomburg in New York city, the Democrats seem poised to deal the GOP several critical blows on November sixth.

The fact that the Virginia's governor's mansion remains in the grasp of the Democrats this close to election day should be good news. Democrats should be out celebrating that they stand to make a resurgence not just in the Old Dominion, but also the Garden State. These two races will undermine GOP strength, especially the Virginia Governor's contest, taking place in Republican National Committee Leader Jim Gilmore' home state. Although on the presidential level the prospects look weak, they are anything but so on the local, mayoral and gubernatorial letter.

Across the country those Democrats who feel that the cause remains hopeless need to stand tall and stop feeling nothing but pity for themselves. The country is depending on the Democrats to stand firm in this time of crisis. They demand that the Democrats fight these 2001 with the strongest level of enthusiasm. In order to build momentum for 2002 and 2004 the Democrats must begin winning 2001 key contests.

2004 is three years away. Worrying about Bush's reelection prospects and superhigh approval ratings helps no one - and actually hurts the Democrats who are running for office. Democrats, stand tall and calm down! The candidates in Virginia and New Jersey need full enthuasism and dedication, not pity and defeatism.

Whether the Democrats can run an effective race against Bush in 2004 is a question that remains to be answered. However, the answer to the question of what the Democrats should do now rings loud and clear: stand tall for our ideals and fight for our candidates in 2001.

While we cannot do anything to change 2004 or the wrongs of 2000, we can at least direct our energies to the goal of winning 2001. That fact is uncontestable and should drive us all to improve the party now - and not feel sorry for ourselves.

 
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