|Trump supporting extremist David Brat is being targeted by PTA moms and progressive Virginia women.|
One of my sisters who lives in Virginia has traditionally always voted and followed politics but never has been super involved in politics. The election of Donald Trump changed that and, to my surprise she, her husband, daughter-in-law and son all participated in the Women's March in Washington, D.C. Many Virginia women are following that pattern as they feel revulsion for the horrid individual in the White House and are shocked at the Republican Party's anti-women agenda. They have gotten organized - ironically, in some cases through PTA's - and other organizations that have sprung up since November 2016. A piece in the New York Times looks at one such group of Virginia women and their goal of defeating pro-Trump lunatic, David Brat of the Virginia 7th Congressional District. Similar efforts need to be made to defeat Scott Taylor, the GOP incumbent in the 2nd District. Here are article highlights.
The Liberal Women of Chesterfield County did not exist when Representative Dave Brat, propelled by Tea Party-infused energy, shocked the Republican establishment in 2014 and defeated the House majority leader, Eric Cantor, in a primary triumph here that presaged even greater political upheaval two years later.
Now they’re all up in his grill.
“The women are in my grill no matter where I go,” he moaned, adding, “They come up — ‘When is your next town hall?’ And believe me, it’s not to give positive input.”
They haven’t gone away. A race that was once considered solidly in the Republican camp is now rated a tossup, and the Liberal Women of Chesterfield County are stirring women to come out in such great numbers that the Democratic nominee, Abigail Spanberger, a well-credentialed former C.I.A. officer, may make history of a different sort in a district that has been deeply Republican for decades.
“Republicans are now feeling like me when the Tea Party emerged,” said Becky Stuart Conner, a member of the Chesterfield County group.
For Republicans, Mr. Brat’s race is a bulwark in their defensive perimeter, the kind of district they must win to keep control of the House. The area’s mix of affluent suburbs and conservative rural stretches resembles the Ohio district where a Republican candidate in a House special election on Tuesday, Troy Balderson, clings to a narrow lead.
For Democrats, Ms. Spanberger’s candidacy represents a test of the breadth and effectiveness of their coalition of newly emboldened female voters aghast at President Trump’s White House tenure — and the ability of fed-up women to build an insurgency of their own.
“I think it is ironic, humorous,” Ms. Spanberger said of Mr. Brat being on the receiving end of a rebellion. “I read it as a cautionary tale of coming into the scene saying you want to do things differently, and not really doing it differently.”
Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District runs from the exurbs of Washington to counties south of Richmond, roughly tracking the decisive battles of the Civil War where Ulysses S. Grant ultimately defeated Robert E. Lee. In some of the more rural stretches, Confederate flags still hang from front porches.
But far more common are the booming commercial and housing developments closer to Richmond that are eating into what was once a conservative redoubt. Two counties that hug the commonwealth’s capital are likely to determine the outcome: Henrico, where Ms. Spanberger lives and which increasingly leans Democratic, and Chesterfield, a onetime Republican stronghold that is showing signs of change.
The area has had a surge of college-educated women; Henrico has gained about 65,000 residents since 2000, and Chesterfield has added 82,000. As those numbers have increased, so have the fortunes of Democrats.
Mr. Brat is hardly alone among Tea Party-aligned Republicans who are now in highly competitive races in Texas, California, Iowa, Pennsylvania, New York and other states where the swelling suburbs have chipped away at the rural Republican strongholds.
In Virginia’s Seventh District, many of the women have been engaged in their communities, through school groups and locally-based organizations, but are becoming involved in campaigns for the first time.
Kim Drew Wright said after Mr. Trump’s election, she posted on Facebook to find like-minded women in what came to be known as the Liberal Women of Chesterfield County. Her first meeting drew 100 women. Now the group has more than 3,000 members on its private Facebook page.
They have fused social and political activities, with meetings called to write postcards for candidates over drinks or coffee, hat-knitting sessions, and broader-based activities to get out the vote broken down largely on a school-district level.
Now she finds herself working on the effort several days a week. Her friend and dinner companion, Kristi Glass, said that the group “really got people together to get into politics instead of crying and drinking about the election.”
Mr. Brat no longer widely publicizes campaign events, instead requiring that people sign up in advance. He declined several requests for an interview.
Erin Sherwood, who said she was weary of the divisive words coming from Mr. Trump and Mr. Brat, summed up the feelings of many of the women in the district. “We feel the change coming,” she said.