Ralph Northam and Democrats To Skip the Buena Vista Labor Day Parade

There are three events in Virginia politics that are must-attends at one point or another in a candidate’s political life.

One is the annual Shad Planking, a big event due to its Virginia political history. The second is the Galax Old Time Fiddler’s Convention Poor Man Supper, a time-honored tradition that has been attended by everyone from George Allen to John Warner (and his wife Elizabeth Taylor).

The third one captures the hearts of Virginians in the Shenandoah Valley and throughout the western portions of the Commonwealth, and this year it is being rejected by the Democratic Party of Virginia. The Buena Vista Labor Day parade is a classic, a tradition in Virginia politics. Everyone gets up really early, puts out over 10,000 lawn signs, walks five miles in the parade, then ends with a rally and political speeches at Glen Maury Park.

However, according to Roanoke TV station WDBJ7, not a single statewide Democrat will be participating in this year’s parade.

The Roanoke Times also took notice:

“Labor Day in Buena Vista always has meant facing the voters directly in an old-fashioned kind of way. As Virginia changed, and the weight of the population shifted further and further east, spending so much time west of the Blue Ridge made less and less sense. Still, the quaint little tradition of the Buena Vista Labor Day parade was one that candidates always honored — and often extolled in the way that politicians do. Showing up in Buena Vista, walking the parade route, and giving a speech in the park was simply a requirement of Virginia politics.”

Lieutenant Governor Northam, Justin Fairfax, and Attorney General Mark Herring will appear at the Democratic breakfast in town that morning, but will not be participating in the parade. We have received confirmation that Republican nominee for governor Ed Gillespie will be in the parade.

While in a way I am surprised that the Democratic candidates will not be attending this year’s event, at the same time I’m not suprised at all that the Democratic candidates will not be attending this year. To me, this is just further proof that the Democratic Party of Virginia doesn’t care about rural Virginia. One could tell that when this past year, the DPVA held their “rural summit” in my hometown of Roanoke. While some would say that Roanoke is small, it’s actually got 100,000 people in the Roanoke metro area.

Also, one could wonder if Northam is going to skip the parade to avoid those pesky anti-pipeline protestors. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline that Ralph Northam now supports could run very close to the town of Buena Vista. All those liberal Democrats protesting Ralph Northam could make for a very embarrassing photo at the parade.

Either way, it is a shame the Democratic Party of Virginia has turned its back on the small towns of Virginia. Every vote in Virginia should count. Apparently, to the DPVA, your vote doesn’t count if you live in rural Virginia, so much so that they will skip a parade just to avoid rural voters.

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  • mezurak

    Sounds like a time management issue. Where did the Dems have lunch? Face the facts, RoVa isn’t even a gleam in a Democrat’s eye. They have NoVa wrapped up so why spend time somewhere that isn’t going to win you districts? When RoVa cities like Roanoke votes blue you can’t expect a Dem candidate to spend more than a few words after pancakes and eggs.

    • ameri…canwork

      As a student of Carroll County High School, Hillsville, Va
      we looked forward to the Fiddlers Convention.
      The Southwestern Va Democrat is way more Conservative than the Eastern shore or Northern Va. Democrat and probally even Northern Va
      Republican also.

      • mezurak

        Most of today’s Come heres could care less about fiddles, banjos, or country culture. The rest are rich urbanites reliving their youthful days spent stoned out in Nederland, Colorado. They are the ones you see wearing those $200 plaid shirts at bluegrass and Hillbilly festivals.

        • ameri…canwork

          I hear ya,
          Floyd County must be the hippie capital in Va. edging out Blacksburg and Giles County.

  • notjohnsmosby

    Why would they go all the way there to see a few people who might vote for them when they can go to events in NoVA or Tidewater and see 20x the number of voters?

  • ameri…canwork

    Parade vs policy
    Northram will continue with policies involving McAuliffe’s
    Executive Order 24, in particular the VOAHA/DOLI notification to DPOR of the use of unlicensed contractors.

    What is Ed Gillespie’s policy for Employee Misclassification and unlicensed contracting?

    Free market, Santurary by being complicit to illegal employment?

  • old_redneck

    You need to scratch the shad planking from your list of required events for Virginia politicians.

    Here’s a quote from a description of the last couple of years of the shad planking:

    — quote

    shad planking 2016


    “. . . becoming a nearly all-white, heavily Republican event with more place in political history than current-day relevance. . . . ”

    — end quote

    — quote

    shad planking 2017


    “The shad planking became a Democratic affair shortly after its
    appearance in the 1930s, but it has in recent years tilted strongly in
    the other direction. Today, it is almost wholly a Republican event, with
    Rep. Bobby Scott (D-3rd) one of the very few Democrats to regularly

    “The Democrats have checked out,” said one attendee.

    . . .

    Gillespie, in fact, was strangely absent.

    — end quote

    • ghostofteddalton

      Yeah. I’m wondering if there will be a Shad Planking in 2018. I hope so for the sake of the Ruritan Club, but it feels like it’s almost died out.

      notjohnsmosby is correct. Why in the world would a Dem candidate go out to Buena Vista for most of the day in this day and age? Voting is so polarized (not just in VA, but nationwide) that I seriously doubt a Dem would “gain” any more than a dozen votes at most attending such an event. Whereas, there are plenty of events in the Urban Crescent that help juice up turnout. The D’s are happy to give up those dozen votes in dying rural Virginia in exchange for hundreds of votes “gained” in the Urban Crescent on Labor Day.

      It’s sad our state and nation are so polarized, but that’s just the way it is nowadays.

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  • Cam

    No surprise, really; today’s democrats genuinely hate rural, white Americans.

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