A Problematic Commonwealth
After examining the past three election cycles following the 2010 census, we've pinpointed some fundamentally undemocratic characteristics of the political system in Virginia.
Lack of Civic Education
We've been encouraged by the unprecedented emergence of a multitude, a set of citizens now activated due to our troubling national situation. These individuals, however, are often far removed from a formal understanding of Virginia government, electoral politics, and the processes by which citizens translate popular sentiment into political power.
Lack of Competitive Elections
Our House of Delegates (HoD) elections are notoriously uncompetitive due to financial barriers to entry, a lack of institutional recruitment, and a bipartisan disposition towards protecting incumbents.
Turnout in a year with gubernatorial elections hasn't exceeded 50% in Virginia since 1993. In years without statewide/federal elections, turnout hasn't exceed 50% since 1995. We believe this sad state of affairs reflects a general state of civic apathy and lack of awareness of elections.
Insufficient Campaign Support
A credible challenge to an incumbent, in most districts, requires at least $200,000. We've found widespread funding deficiencies across races, in addition to questionable spending practices, over the past several cycles.
In an effort to understand why Virginia's legislature is so politically lopsided, we analyzed competitive campaigns from the last three cycles. The sheet below contains our findings. We'll update this sheet in the next 72 hours to contain the funds paid from the campaigns to the DPVA and House Democratic Caucus, thus shifting the "Support" metrics.