We are 8 hours away from the polls closing today as voters in the 8th Congressional District are in the process of choosing the “Democratic” primary for this November’s US Congressional election. While today’s primary is being held up as an example of representative democracy in action, in reality, it is a dog and pony show because the outcome was determined the minute incumbent Donald Beyer won reelection in 2020.
What will become evident when the last vote has been cast and the winner is announced is that his challenger Victoria Virasingh never stood a chance. This is not for the lack of trying, I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Virasingh and she came across as knowledgeable, energetic and has been working hard to earn the support of the electorate in her district. The problem is that the two parties do not want change and they definitely do not play fair, their interest lies in preserving the status quo and protecting incumbents.
Congress in this way has become a country club of millionaires who are working for billionaires and is not welcoming of anyone who is not bought and sold by the wealth supremacists and moneyed special interests. It’s a perfect place for my soon-to-be opponent Donald Beyer who inherited a vast fortune from his dad and multiplied his accumulations by way of Obama’s 2009 “Cash for Clunkers” scheme—not so much for outsiders like Ms. Virasingh and me.
I found this out the hard way in 2008 when I ran to become a voting delegate in the very Congressional District that I am currently running to represent. After working tirelessly to register countless voters and knocking on at least a thousand doors, I decided to run for delegate to cast my vote for Obama at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Convinced that Obama represented a new day for American democracy, I presumed that I had a fair shot at winning.
Boy was I wrong! I ran headfirst into the “Kaine Slate”, a group of eight political insiders who were “blessed” by then-Governor Tim Kaine as he used the power of his office to tip the favor towards those whom the party favored. Despite the outside interference, I gave a spirited run intent on trying my best no matter the outcome. I gave a stirring speech at the nominating convention in Alexandria that excited the participants who were set to cast their votes for the nominees of their choice.
When the “Kaine Slate” observed the audience’s warm reception to my speech, they turned to chicanery to ensure that only the political insiders would have a chance to win the “election”. One by one, members of the “Kaine Slate” dropped out in order to consolidate their votes. When the final tally was determined, I lost by a handful of votes. Had all the contestants stayed in the race, I would have won and gone on to represent Obama at the DNC in Denver. Alas, everyday people like me are meant to be used and never to have a voice.
Americans have been witnessing the deception of the duopoly election cycle after election cycle and most now know that our political process has become a kleptocracy where the “connected” are protected and “commoners” are kept out. Those who don’t play the game are booted out and marginalized while those who keep their mouths shut and go along are promoted from within and rewarded for their obsequiousness.
Consider this astounding fact: while the approval rating for the US Congress hovers around 18%, incumbents get reelected 94% of the time. That is because the politicians on both sides of the aisle are working together to ensure that their seats are safe while doing everything in their power to prevent any form of competition from emerging. Through their handlers in mainstream media, incumbents have convinced too many Americans that voting for anyone other than Democrats or Republicans is a wasted vote. The perception that the two major political parties are viewed as the only “viable options” fosters an environment of inevitability for incumbents and encourages malfeasance because incumbents rarely have to worry about accountability.
Witnessing this level of corruption and collusion between Democrats and Republicans is the reason I decided to run for Congress as an independent. What has become abundantly clear is that one cannot hope to beat the system by joining it, only by declaring our independence from both corporate-owned parties and empowering independent candidates who are not beholden to special interests can we start to reclaim our government from the hands of multinational corporations and their billionaire owners. Until we take this bold step on behalf of our common humanity, we will continue to have our savings bled dry each time we pump gas and wince every time we purchase groceries.
I look forward to debating Donald Beyer over the coming months as I will be pressing the case on a variety of issues from economic fairness for workers and small business owners, local empowerment and getting beyond the toxic “us vs them” rhetoric that is Balkanizing the United States. Voters in the 8th Congressional District deserve an open and honest discussion about the issues that matter to us, I hope Donald Beyer and Republican nominee Kezia Tunnel will join me in conversations throughout Alexandria, Arlington and South Fairfax so that voters can make a choice based on merit alone.
**EVENT ALERT: I will be appearing at Busboys and Poets in Shirlington, VA this evening from 7PM – 9PM to take part in their “Meet the Candidate” townhall forum. If you are in the DC area, come through and take part as this is a free and open event where you will have a chance to ask questions and find out more about where I stand when it comes to the issues constituents in the 8th Congressional District care about.