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Democrat Debate For First District Congress: No Sanders Endorsement

Two fine, sincere candidates very wrong (mostly) on issues

I was invited by a progressive friend to listen in on a debate (let’s call it a forum) sponsored by the Hanover County Democratic Committee (thank you John Suddarth) between the two candidates for the Democratic nod to face incumbent GOP Rob Wittman: The 2018 nominee Vangie Williams and a 2019 unsuccessful aspirant for state senate (against Senator Stuart) Qasim Rashad.

Let me say two things I like about this forum: They gave the issues in advance to the candidates so they could be conversant at the forum and there was a long lightning round with opportunity to explain a position.

It’s a shame positions were bad generally between the candidates.

Some items I liked about each candidate: Williams opposes abolition of the electoral college because the small states will lose power. Rashid said broadband Internet should be treated as a public utility and thus force the providers to serve the rural areas. That is not an endorsement by me of that idea but it is thoughtful. He might be right. Then Rashid said broadband Internet is a “human rights” issue. That is a silly trivialization of civil and constitutional rights.

More things I liked: Williams wants to be a problem solver. But her solution seems to be based on her long service in government. Rashid took essentially the LP position on marijuana. Qasim is the guy I would take out for a sweet tea (and I might do so) and have a free-wheeling discussion of issues. If I HAD to vote in the Dem primary (and I can but I almost surely won’t) I would vote for Qasim Rashid. I like his fervency.

Rashid started his presentation with a reference to race and millionaires getting tax breaks and Medicare for all. Williams pratted out Trump has no plan, America is not great under the President, too much income disparity (I am afraid Williams did not mean public sector wage disparity), and yes to single-payer health care system.

Both candidates wanted to release non-violent offenders due to COVID. Both candidates want federal regulation of firearms (Rashid said I think so). Qasim wants a wealth tax (Williams said no – wants a “fair tax” but did not specify what she meant by that). Both supports 12 weeks PAID leave (the unpaid leave in FMLA was the trade-off and that trade-off made that unfunded mandate somewhat acceptable); neither supports nuclear power.

Really bad ideas: Rashid came out for prisoner voting. Not reformed ex-prisoners. Prisoner voting. Williams said reduce or cancel student loans based on income.

And I was open to endorsing Rashid just for the primary. But I can’t. Too many bad ideas. Let’s go after the primary for a sweet tea. Maybe liberty can prevail…or Rashad can persuade me to make Internet access a public utility.

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)

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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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