I sure hope Del. Rasoul isn’t upset at me on this – he is an idealistic young (well younger than me – he’s 35 and I am – well old enough I’ll need to lay down after writing this part of the blog post!) legislator who is in politics for the right reasons. Consider these bills from 2016:
- Term limits (HJ 18) (I agree!)
- Ballot Access (HB 82) (I agreed so much I collaborated with Del. Rasoul on this idea and then blogged on it and then spoke to the subcommittee that killed the bill)
- Redistricting reform (HB 303) (I disagree – but this is the idealist position and I respect it)
- Top two primary system (HB 1040) (I disagree – see the US senate race in California where the top two were both liberal Democrats. But again this is the idealist position – Del. Rasoul thinks this will cause the parties to run candidates closer to the center of their party.)
- Juvenile sentencing reform (HB53) (This bill would give juvenile offenders who commit serious non-homicide crimes a chance at parole after the offender turns 35 or 20 years of his/her sentence. I would make it 4o or 45 or 30 years. The SCOTUS will probably in next several years mandate us do it. In that sense, Rasoul is ahead of his time.)
Rasoul also collaborated with Senator Dance on the statewide indigent defense study bill (SJ 51) and plans to introduce this bill in this (2017) session as amended last year by the Senate Rules Committee to limit the study to a statewide appellate defender system.
Now yes, Del. Rasoul did introduce some bills that are traditionally liberal (The ERA for example) but he’s the real deal: I actually got the Richmond Crusade for Voters to have the delegate from Roanoke as a speaker and I got to know him better. I admire him a lot.
So, here is the Times-Dispatch article on his resignation from a leadership position in the Democratic House Caucus:
Virginia’s only Muslim-American state lawmaker resigned from his Democratic leadership post Friday and called for a “massive overhaul” in the party to reconnect with working-class voters after Donald Trump’s presidential victory.
Rasoul called himself a “proud Democrat,” but said “the establishment does not want to change.” Rather than change the platform, Rasoul said, the party needs to rethink its communication strategy to build trust and listen to people’s concerns.
But the platform needs to change – and Sam Rasoul is the perfect one to do it. (I heard a bit of the delegate’s interview on the John Fredericks Show and he won the respect and admiration of Fredericks! So, here’s where we are – hoping the delegate is not too upset at me!
Delegate Rasoul should boldly seek out a forum big enough for the ideals he espouses so well. He should run for Lieutenant Governor. Here’s my thesis:
Governor is pretty much taken (LG Ralph Northam is the solid favorite and has probably tied up all the money available) and it might be seen as a big jump from delegate to the Governor’s mansion.
There is also the issue of funds: it would take millions to run for governor and Del. Rasoul would need several millions to have even a chance to overtake Northam and several million more to win the election.
But in the last (2013) election, the funds spent on the Lieutenant Governor’s race was nowhere near what was spent on either the Governor’s (over SIXTY million dollars!) or Attorney General’s race (Check out how close that election was? But Rasoul is not a lawyer so he is not eligible for AG).
The 2013 Democratic primary for LG was won by about 10,000 votes and the fundraising winner did not win the primary. I assume the primary would be the method for the election – and here are the candidates running – Justin Fairfax, who lost the primary to then state senator Herring in 2013, and Gene Rossi, former federal prosecutor. (Some of the political friends who gave me the honor of asking me to help with the Richmond Crusade for Voters – which I am still a member until the end of the year but I doubt I’ll remain after my friend Regie Ford left the presidency – asked me to help Justin and I declined)
The obstacles are not insurmountable for a Rasoul run for LG as a Democrat. Even a hint of the idealism of Bobby Kennedy in this race. He wants VA Dems to go in a different – positive, issue oriented, direction.
But if he wants to be on the General Election ballot – perhaps consider the Libertarian Party. Maybe he could be the candidate for Lieutenant Governor I have advocated to get the 10% the LP would need for ballot access. His theme: Open up the Virginia political system! Every vote counts and 10% is the victory to open up the system!
Why not Governor as a Libertarian? In the general election, the governor’s race tends to be a “lesser of two evils” election and thus it would be very difficult for a independent or Libertarian to get the ten percent to win ballot access.
I cannot speak for or promise the LP’s nomination. (I would help Sam out for sure – talk him up of course – even consider joining the LP to help the delegate – to paraphrase the President, I only need a pen and the right piece of paper!) Delegate Rasoul would have to seek it out – and let me tell you – I know many libertarians and regard them with great respect – but they are a tough crowd to win over. Got to espouse ideas. But I would favorably consider helping Sam for either the Dems or the Libertarians if he ran for LG (there goes four more years out of the Hanover GOP Committee!); I think Millennials and those tuned out by politics might find a Rasoul candidacy fulfilling. His Muslim religion might speak to marginalized persons in the process as a plus. (Of course some of my conservative friends would be upset and I do care but so be it!)
I think Del. Rasoul would have a chance to really open up the political system in the Old Dominion. That would do all of us a favor.
My first choice: Boldly switch parties and become the first Southern state legislator to be a LP member then resign and run for the office, win it in the special election, and then move right to the LG as a LP. Let’s get that ten percent and open up the clubby political system in the Old Dominion.
But even as a Democrat, Rasoul would open up the political system. If he gets a sizeable vote as either a Libertarian or a Democrat, it opens up a constituency for his ideas.
Run Sam Run! If you agree with me – contact Delegate Sam Rasoul here.