More Choices this Election — in a Two-Party Duopoly Kind of Way

Fired up by Donald Trump, Virginia Democrats aren’t just proclaiming themselves the “Resistance,” they are running one of the biggest slates of House of Delegates candidates of recent years.

The graphic above, taken from the Virginia Public Access Project, indicates that two-thirds of the House seats are being contested by either a major party candidate or “other” candidates (independents and Libertarians, for the most part).

What’s not clear from this snapshot is how many of these races are truly competitive. All “other” candidates are a long shots, and even some of the major-party nominees  in gerrymandered districts are running kamikaze missions.

I’m heartened to see the heightened interest in state-level politics, but I’m concerned by the dearth of outsiders running for office. In this time of dissatisfaction and unrest, the two-party duopoly still has a stranglehold over the political process. Nothing much will change in an election that whittles down the Republican majority in the House by five or six seats. But just imagine the new political dynamic if five or six independents (preferably of a libertarian persuasion) won election.

Virginia’s political system is poised for an upheaval. As it stands, Virginians have a choice between economically liberal, socially liberal Democrats and economically conservative and socially conservative Republicans. Yet a majority of the electorate, I would argue, is libertarian — economically conservative and socially liberal. (That’s an oversimplification, but it holds true as a generality.)

Bottom line: It’s a good thing that Virginians will have more choices at the ballot box this year. But the range of choices is limited. Political competition is not nearly as robust as it needs to be.

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3 responses to “More Choices this Election — in a Two-Party Duopoly Kind of Way”

  1. LarrytheG Avatar

    well .. HERE’s a meaty issue to contest:

    ” Legislator proposes exempting poorest Virginia localities from some taxes”

    Del. Will Morefield, R-Tazewell, a four-term incumbent seeking re-election in the fall, said the legislation would be aimed at spurring economic growth in the coalfields. Democratic challenger Bill Bunch favors a more traditional system of weighing tax breaks for businesses based on investment and job creation.


    isn’t this a variation of the cut taxes and spur the economy idea?

    If it works for the poorest places in Virginia.. isn’t that a good thing?

    1. djrippert Avatar

      “All property, except as hereinafter provided, shall be taxed. All taxes shall be levied and collected under general laws and shall be uniform upon the same class of subjects within the territorial limits of the authority levying the tax, except that the General Assembly may provide for differences in the rate of taxation to be imposed upon real estate by a city or town within all or parts of areas added to its territorial limits, or by a new unit of general government, within its area, created by or encompassing two or more, or parts of two or more, existing units of general government. Such differences in the rate of taxation shall bear a reasonable relationship to differences between nonrevenue-producing governmental services giving land urban character which are furnished in one or several areas in contrast to the services furnished in other areas of such unit of government.”

      It seems to me that our wretched constitution can at least stop the stupidest of stupid ideas.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    Re: ” the stupidest of stupid ideas.”

    perhaps! But if you look at the Va 760 – it gives folks of a certain age an automatic $12,000 deduction to income taxed.

    two folks on social security with little other income pay virtually no income taxes in Virginia – regardless of where they live.

    If you look further – folks who farm are given additional tax breaks…

    Low income folks get deductions to income taxed.

    so my guess is that it’s doable… besides … you cite says “property”… and if you haven’t been aware – counties are allowed to lower taxes dramatically on a land-use basis… on land that is not developed… developers use it all the time to acquire land to be developed in the future – and essentially defer the taxes on it until it is actually developed.

    besides – this is an excellent way to prove the basic Conservative belief that if you lower taxes, it will stimulate the economy and ultimately INCREASE the amount of tax collected! I say – let’s DO IT …. and fully instrument the selected counties to see just how well tax cuts DO stimulate!!! what better way to do this? 😉

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