Founded in 2007, the New Virginia Majority (NVM) describes itself as a “catalytic force” which aims to propel “the progressive transformation of Virginia” through “mass organizing,” “leadership development,” “strategic communications,” “legislative campaigns,” “voter registration,” and “social media organizing.” Specifically, NVM seeksto promote political activism among the members of demographic groups that typically support Democratic Party policies – i.e., “communities of color, women,… LGBTs, youth, and progressive people.” Each fall, hundreds of NVM staffers, canvassers, and volunteer leaders visit tens of thousands of individuals in these target groups across the state of Virginia, to try to solicit their support and their participation in the electoral process. During NVM's first ten years of operation, its representatives personally visited more than 250,000 potential voters.
NVM's work is divided into several major programs:
(1) The Immigration program condemns “the backlash against immigrants in the streets and in our halls of government,” and seeks to make Virginia “a beacon of fairness to immigrants from around the world” by: (a) promoting amnesty and a path-to-citizenship for illegal aliens who reside in the U.S.; (b) ensuring that “all people,” regardless of immigration status, are “guaranteed the right to work, attend school, and live productive, full lives … free from the fear of discrimination”; and (c) banning “law-enforcement programs that harass immigrants and make immigrant communities unsafe and unhealthy.”
(2) The Smart Growth/Transportation program calls for increased public spending on infrastructure projects like mass transit, bridge repair, and the maintenance of secondary and urban streets. “Transit and local street networks,” says NVM, “are critical for relieving metropolitan congestion, cutting energy and air pollution, and providing access to jobs for all socioeconomic groups.”
(3) Through its Voting Rights program, NVM promotes a variety of policies whose implementation would make it much easier to commit voter fraud – most notably the termination of Voter ID requirements and the adoption of “'no-excuse' absentee voting,” where people are permitted to cast absentee ballots with no requirement that they state a reason for their choice not to vote in person. In addition, NVM favors the “automatic restoration” of voting rights to the state's 400,000+ convicted felons who are currently “ineligible to vote due to the Commonwealth’s disenfranchisement law.”
(4) The Drive Virginia Forward campaign promotes legislation that would not only permit, but would actually require, illegal-alien drivers in Virginia to obtain a state driver’s license.
(5) The Climate Justice program – predicated on the axiom that greenhouse-gas emissions associated with human industrial activity contribute heavily to environmental degradation – aims to “educate and inform communities” on how “climate change” has led to “rising sea levels” that “have left Portsmouth/Norfolk as one of the most endangered regions in the United States.”
(6) The Virginia Student Power Network seeks to “end student debt” by demanding “free” access to colleges and universities, meaning that higher education would be funded entirely by taxpayers.
The founder and executive director of NVM is Jon Liss, a longtime activist who organized for the creation of an African American Studies Department as a student at the University of Virginia in 1979-81; organized for U.S. divestment from South Africa's apartheid regime in the 1980s; and served as executive director of Tenants and Workers United – “a low-income racial and gender justice organization” – from 1986-2011.