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Should More Millennials Run for State Legislature as a Democrat? Well, After They Treated Dr. Larry Lessig, Why Should They?

Emma Roller writes a nice op-ed in the New York Times about the apparent difficulty of the Dems to get people to run for state legislatures.  Here’s a useful highlight:

Another problem for Democratic Party operatives: There are plenty of other outlets for left-leaning millennials’ sense of altruism that do not involve running for political office. The Peace Corps recently reported receiving the highest number of applications since 1975. Why bother entrenching yourself in petty party politics when you could have a more direct impact overseas, or make more money working for a start-up?

Democratic Party operatives hope that they can find millennials who can get as excited about running for state assembly as they are for the new craft cocktail bar opening up in their neighborhood.


Finding experienced Democratic candidates to put up in future cycles means recruiting young people to serve in state legislatures as soon as possible. One option would be for the Democratic Party to start branding itself as a political disrupter, in much the way Republicans have adopted the language of Silicon Valley.

The Democrats would have a better case if they did not have awful policies:  Pro-abortion, increased spending and government power, a willingness to cede sovereignty to international institutions, etc.  (In fairness not all Democrats favor all those things and they do have a concern for the little guy and for justice not always seen in the GOP.)

But Roller is right:  State legislatures are a laboratory, not just as Justice Brandeis wrote years ago for ideas, but for people to run for Congress and statewide offices.  Remember my new fifty cent book I got at the library about running for state representative or senate I wrote about a few weeks ago.  (I got a nice email back when I told one of the authors how much I liked about the book and he recommended two other books he helped write.)  It awakened in me a desire to consider prayerfully at the right time a run for the state house!

Let me tell you:  Running for office can be the most fun with clothes on, but only if you run for the right reasons:  You have to have some idealism, some non-negotiable items to work for if elected.  A willingness to say:  I am not interested in budget committees or being speaker or committee chair but rather to get ideas debated and passed.  Seek term limits and perhaps other aspects of the Sanders Platform.  It’s almost too bad that my delegate and senator are both Republicans.  I do not like primary fights unless there is a good reason.  But we need something more in the GOP than thanksgiving that there was a contested race for sheriff in Powhatan County.

Finally, a note to the Dems:  Maybe if you want idealistic Millennials to seek political office, consider how you treated Dr. Larry Lessig.  I thoroughly disagree with him but I think the party could have found a place for him in the debates.  But Lessig did something I thoroughly disagree with:  He quit the race.  I think with all the duest respect that I have for Dr. Lessig’s effort that he should have taken a page from the Ron Paul book:  Practice guerrilla politics.  Have rallies.  Raise huge amounts of funds on one day.  Have the first flying blimp in the history of presidential politics  Walk hundreds of miles for liberty.  For Dr. Paul changed the tone of the political debate in our nation in the direction of liberty and several Paulites have run for a seat in their state house.  Some of those Lessigites would have made great Democrat candidates for state legislature in 2020.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

2 Responses to “Should More Millennials Run for State Legislature as a Democrat? Well, After They Treated Dr. Larry Lessig, Why Should They?”

  1. robert shannon

    Missing is the most important consideration——why are you running ? I ask every candidate this before I decide to volunteer to serve or assist them.

    Often times you hear answers that are crafted, the candidate seems to be trying to piece together a slogan or platitude meant to please or excite the largest number that he/she can. The universal truth is that one must pick two issues they are passionate about, and truly want to achieve specific goals that they can easily convey to voters……..and then stick to the message.

    If a candidate comes across without any distinguishing difference between themselves and their opponents they will surely lose. Drawing that distinction, concisely and clearly is priority # 1. Otherwise……why are you running ?
    Take on tough issues, if you are running for the Virginia G.A then take on Medicaid Reform, or School Choice, 2 issues everyone cares about, big issues people want addressed. Run on principles, not run from them. Run with passion, if it is genuine. Don’t run if you don’t have it, because all of the money or the best ground game or organization won’t bring the victory, absent the passion .

    Bob Shannon


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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