Sorry, Donald, But Virginia’s Vote Was a Repudiation of You

Clean sweep for Virginia Democrats yesterday.

Donald Trump may be the only person in the world who didn’t interpret the landslide results of Virginia’s election yesterday as a repudiation of him and his policies. “Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for,” the president tweeted in response to election returns showing that Democrats swept the races for statewide office and made spectacular gains in the Republican-dominated House of Delegates.

But according to exit polls cited in Politico, half of Virginia voters said that expressing approval or disapproval of Trump factored into their vote. Thirty-four percent voted to oppose him compared to 17% who voted to support him. Governor-elect Ralph Northam ran especially well among a key swing group, white women with a college degree, winning the demographic by a 16-point margin, 58% to 42%. Hillary Clinton won it by only 6 points in the presidential election last year.

The statistics back up observations from my social milieu in western Henrico County. My Democratic friends were enraged by Trump’s election, whom they never imagined would actually win in 2016, and they mobilized to support the “resistance,” joining marches, contributing money, and soliciting candidates to run in local races. The level of intensity, formidable after Trump’s election, was reinforced by the backlash against the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. By contrast, my suburban Republican friends were apologetic, defensive, and dispirited by Trump.

Trump has said that an improving economy will dampen the electoral wildfires, and it might. The respite from eight years of Obama-era over-regulation seem to be giving the economy a little extra oomph. However, in my observation the anti-Trump furies are not close to burning themselves out. Virginia’s election results likely foreshadow a Democratic wave in the national elections next year.

Trump did not factor into my vote. The election was for state and local offices, not a referendum on the president. But then, I’m pretty clearly out of sync with majority opinion in Virginia.

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51 responses to “Sorry, Donald, But Virginia’s Vote Was a Repudiation of You”

  1. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Let’s call it 70 percent Trump, 30 percent Richard Spencer.

    There were anomalies in the 2016 vote involving white college educated voters that I thought might be a one-off, people offended by Trump or attracted by Clinton who would be back voting for a more traditional Republican ticket this year. But toward the end it turned into a repeat of 2016. The same buttons were pushed. And the results in the Virginia Beach and Henrico house races indicate a real realignment may have occurred. Run Stewart for US Senate next year and the third time will be the charm and cement the realignment. Virginia will be reliably blue again.

    The razor thin House of Delegates is the real Democratic accomplishment of the night, not to take anything away from Gov-elect Northam. They had a slate of candidates with their sails set to catch the wind, and in the final days poured in massive resources, unprecedented in VA legislative races. I said it would be interesting…..

  2. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    No message and little outreach. Two issues that would have gained some traction in NoVA were: 1) repeal the law that limited the use of proffers for residential rezoning (developer welfare); and 2) VDOT under McAuliffe did a crappy job in managing traffic in NoVA (massive cut-through traffic and a need to pressure Maryland on building a second span east of the American Legion Bridge). And BTW, I just read an Australian paper that concluded not all developer impact fees can be passed on in the price of housing, but does push down land prices. Poor land speculators.

    And the Dems worked much, much harder than the GOP. Saw Democrats for Kathleen Murphy multiple times at my house. Cheryl Buford AWOL. She also picked going to an elementary school back-to-school night over a media-covered McLean meeting on cut-through traffic. She was also advised not to rile up the developers by supporting the ALB over an Outer Beltway Bridge. Murphy won by 188 votes in 2015 and by a huge margin in 2017. The Dems worked hard and had a message.

    Retirement to North Carolina looks better all the time.

  3. musingsfromjanus Avatar

    Sorry, Bacon, but the only thing the election showed definitively is that more votes were reported for Northam than Gillespie. You recently criticized, correctly I thought, a commenter for his use of Krugman as a source of valid opinion on Virginia. I would suggest you have made a similar error with Politico which you may recall is the same outfit which obsequiously sought the approval of HFA for their reporting on the campaign.

    Reported results do show definitively that more votes were reported for Northam in Virginia’s metropolitan areas, particularly Northern Virginia, whose size seems increasingly to be rendering the rest of Virginia’s political desires irrelevant. Maybe we could legitimately conjecture that Virginia’s NOVA and urban, government-employed Democrats REALLY don’t like Trump.

    Spectators to today’s political blood sport will now have a week’s entertainment, as pundits and media sources divulge their results in this socio-political Rorschach test of election map results, as Bacon has now done in this posting.

    1. Musings, I’ll fully concede that my analysis is influenced heavily by my personal observations. In the run-up to the election, I observed a big difference in behavior and attitudes among the people around me in Henrico County. The Dems were charged up, the Rs were not. I am astonished that John O’Bannon, my delegate in Henrico, lost his race to a total newcomer (and a not terribly impressive one at that). It never occurred to me that he could lose. But he did. Meanwhile, the board of supervisors in Henrico tipped from a Republican majority to a Democratic majority. The Dem election sweep is much broader than Northern Virginia.

      As you know, I’m not a big fan of many Democratic Party values and policies. But reality is reality. What happened, happened.

  4. Looks like sooner or later, NOVA will finally take control over this state from the Red areas. Whether that helps Virginia succeed, or not, is a different question.

  5. LarrytheG Avatar

    I was not aware that O’Bannon was a big supporter of Trump. What were the issues in HOD 73?

    I don’t think this is solely about Trump. Health care was said to be one of the top issues with the voters and the GOP in Virginia seems to not care about folks who do work full time but are unable to get good insurance. I’d not be surprised is this does not come back on the GOP…

    And I really don’t buy the economy issue either.. Virginia has a low unemployment rate..

    Clearly Prince William has had enough of folks like Marshall, eh?

  6. S. E. Warwick Avatar
    S. E. Warwick

    Sorry to both sides.

    We need better candidates. The one term and you’re gone policy discourages well-qualified people who see little reward in disrupting their lives for a single term. Four years is not enough time to address major issues like badly needed VDOT reform.
    The GA needs people with local government experience who understand that poorly crafted laws burden those at the bottom of the electoral food chain. The recent proffer legislation is a good example of this.

    1. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      All due respect, we had two excellent candidates for governor, experienced and reasonable. Yes, with some marked policy differences, and with muted personalities compared to the 2013 contestants. LG-elect Fairfax has no previous office, but a great resume. Overall a strong field for statewide slots giving the voters choices. And the GA is packed with people who have served on city councils and local boards or school boards.

  7. musingsfromjanus Avatar

    If your point is that anti-Trump sentiment energized Democrats, that may well be correct. It is increasingly less and less safe in every respect to be perceived as Republican or even some shade of conservative as our media and academic and political leaders increasingly seek to inflame the worst fears and bigotry they can summon against the enemies of conformity to their approved speech and beliefs. All in the name of inclusiveness and tolerance, of course.

    Maybe, unlike Democrats for Northan, Republicans did not see a vote for Gillespie as an important act to signal their support for Trump.

    1. I agree with you about the malign influence of the national media and much of academia. Perhaps those forces, especially the media, color the way people view Trump, Republicans, and conservatives, and thus influenced yesterday’s vote.

      But the mainstream media have always been biased. Arguably, some outlets like CNN and MSNBC have gone overboard in their bias, functioning as shills for the Democratic Party. On the other hand, a feisty conservative media, mostly online, has emerged that allows different views to circulate. So, I wouldn’t overplay the role of the media in this election.

    2. “It is increasingly less and less safe in every respect to be perceived as Republican or even some shade of conservative as our media and academic and political leaders increasingly seek to inflame the worst fears and bigotry they can summon against the enemies of conformity to their approved speech and beliefs. All in the name of inclusiveness and tolerance, of course.”

      That’s a great “sentence”.

  8. LarrytheG Avatar

    Good LORD! Trump was elected. The GOP owns both houses of Congress and a majority of the Governorships and state houses.

    FOX News is the top rated “news” network not to mention Breitbart and a slew of Conservative Talk Radio….

    and the MSM is gumming up things?

    see. this is why I wonder about things sometimes…!!

    1. djrippert Avatar

      It’s not GOP vs Democrats. It’s the swamp-dwellers vs the swamp-drainers. John McCain is as big a swamp-dweller as has ever lived. Reread the history of the Keating 5 if you want to know why the swamp-dwellers feel so comfortable in the muck and mire. Robert Reich is a swamp-drainer despite being a hard left Democrat. In Virginia, Chap Petersen sometimes exhibits swamp-draining tendencies. On the same side of the aisle Dick Saslaw couldn’t be more of a swamp-dwelling reptile if he had green scales instead of white skin.

      The level of corruption in both DC and Richmond is astronomical. In DC there was much mock indignation over the US Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United. Liberal after liberal shook their fist in the air and cursed the Koch Brothers, Clarance Thomas and the GOP. So, is there an energized, active effort to get a constitutional amendment written that would limit money in politics and upend the Citizens United ruling? Of course not. In Virginia our General Assembly has handed out $12.5b per year in company-specific and industry-specific tax breaks that never expire. JLARC admits that nobody has any idea whether these freebies do any good for Virginia. So, when Chap Petersen introduced legislation to cap the tax breaks at 5 years unless authorized via a vote of the General Assembly, what happened? The slimy reptiles in the Richmond swamp from both parties quietly killed the bill. What could we do with $12.5b? We could provide 500,000 college students with $25,000 per year for tuition. I wonder what Virginia would be like if we had a continuous pipeline of an additional half million people getting a college education or learning a skilled trade.

      1. Hear, hear!

  9. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    This is where I came in. After the 1985 election (second sweep in a row, just like now) there was much navel gazing within the GOP. Many complaints that the media hated them. So this reporter became party press secretary and worked pretty hard on message, etc. Yes there is now an open war between President Trump and the media, but both sides see benefit in it – it is a war he welcomes and feeds on. This VA election was from the beginning all about who would turn out – and the print or broadcast news media are losing their audiences and mean far less than the social media in driving the voters who buried the GOP yesterday.

    After the 1985 election there was also the same bloodbath internal GOP debate about whether or not the nominees had been sufficiently pure in their conservatism. The shouting match between ideologues and the establishment “squishes” was exactly as now. (That was me, I guess, a squish…) I will never forget a congressional district chairman telling me, seriously, “I’d rather see a Democrat win than the wrong kind of Republican.” That would have been maybe 1986 or 1987….sound familiar?

    Haner’s First Law of Politics: All fatal wounds are self-inflicted.

    1. LocalGovGuy Avatar

      Interesting parallel, but there is a distinct difference.

      I was very good friends with a GOP House of Delegates member at that time (late 80s). I know that people on this blog seem to go crazy any time racism is mentioned, but the Virginia Republican Party’s ideological debates in 1985 were about issues such as taxes and abortion. The party at that time would have laughed at the “alt-right”, white nationalists, et al. Racism had no place in the 1985 Virginia Republican Party.

      It seriously looks like the VA GOP is about to nominate Corey Stewart for Senate in 2018. This is not your father’s Republican Party. I’m sure people may think of this as a flame post, but it’s not. I truly worry that the Virginia GOP is about to “take the plunge” into pure white identity/supremacy politics in 2018. Marshall Coleman, Paul Trible, etc. were good men in 1986 debating serious issues. Corey Stewart and his ilk are clowns. That’s where the comparison breaks down. The 2018 VA GOP debate is whether the party goes complete alt-right or not.

      1. Sara E. Carter Avatar
        Sara E. Carter

        And I wasn’t a Republican in 1986, but what drew me to the party over time was the thoughtful consideration of real issues from men like Paul Trible and John Watkins. The spirit of public service and the focus on good governance from the Republican party is what moved me steadily right as I got older. I fear that I do not recognize a significant portion of the GOP anymore- I remember thinking that it was the party of the adults in the room. No longer. I am fundamentally a Republican, so I’m sticking. But I hope that we recalibrate to be about things, not just against them.

  10. LarrytheG Avatar

    the whole narrative about the MSM is so lame … it’s like a 5yr old crying because he did not get his way.

    I don’t need the MSM to “listen” to Mr. Trump. He does that quite well , quite without the MSM..

    Every day I get to see who he really is… without the MSM…

    The problem with the GOP is pretty simple. They have strong beliefs and principles…. and they are conflicted as to whether they support their “principles” more than they should “represent” voters.

    Health care is a prime example. The GOP fundamentally does not want the govt in health care… but they dare not actually say it and proceed to dismantle it … cause they know they’d get thrown out of office – so what to do? Well.. you have this “narrative” they use… and you see what happens when they try to fashion legislation …. it splits their own party in half and the more they try to change the legislation to get votes on one side – they lose them on the other.

    This ain’t the Dems and it ain’t the MSM… it’s the GOP.

  11. djrippert Avatar

    The liberals I know have been throwing an absolute hissy fit for the past year. I am sure they stomped into the voting booth yesterday to vote Democratic and “teach Trump a lesson”. Add to that the two candidates. Ed Gillespie has never been elected to office, is a transplanted Virginian and clearly represents the swamp in DC more than those who seek to drain the swamp. A very unattractive candidate. Northam is a Virginian through and through, an Army vet, a doctor and the sitting Lieutenant Governor. In reality, he’s a deeply entrenched in the swamp of Richmond as Gillespie is entrenched in the swamp of DC but Northam did a better job of hiding it.

    Gillespie also ran a pretty hapless campaign. He was going to be painted by the Trump brush no matter what. He could have come out hard against Trump or he could have come out hard for Trump. The one thing he couldn’t do was pretend that Trump doesn’t exist – which is exactly what he did.

    One of my favorite things to do is to ask progressives what they don’t like about Trump’s policies. Not his inane tweets or his rants – his actual policies. Start with the fact that his proposed tax plan will definitely raise my taxes. If there’s a gift in there for affluent Americans neither me nor my tax man can see it. He wants to reduce the corporate tax rate. Is that a bad idea? I’m not sure but it seems like it’s worth a try to get the US private sector economy rolling again. I think it was Democrat who once said, “It’s the economy, stupid.” A rolling economy solves a lot of social problems. But try telling that to a liberal. They go unhinged insisting that the Trump tax plan is just a new way to steal from the poor to give to the rich. I guess I need a new tax guy. Trump wants to enforce existing US immigration laws by building a wall. Separate the two ideas – enforcing existing law and building a wall. Is it really absurd for the president to want to enforce the laws Congress has passed? Isn’t that pretty much the definition of what presidents are supposed to do? If Congress wants to allow for unlimited immigration they have the capacity to do so by changing the law. They pass laws restricting immigration but then don’t want the president to enforce those laws. Really? Will a wall work? I have no idea. However, nobody seems to have a better idea other than passing laws that are not enforced. Is global warming real? I think so. Was the Paris Accords signed by Obama a fair deal for the US? I don’t think so. So Trump canned it. Nothing stops Congress from legislating tight control on emissions.

    Greek mythology contains the legend of Cassandra. The God Apollo gave her the gift of prophesy in order to seduce her. When she refused him he put a curse on her so that nobody would believe her prophesies. I think most of what Trump is trying to do is right (note: most, not all). However, Trump curses himself with such bizarre behavior and commentary that almost nobody takes him seriously. There is a swamp in Washington and it needs to be drained. Honest politicians (the few there are) from both sides of the aisle know how badly the swamp needs draining. Read Robert Reich’s book Supercapitalism. Listen to Rand Paul’s speeches. If you need more evidence of a swamp look at how the Democratic primary was run. Every 100 years or so America elects a president who can make progress draining the swamp. The last one was Teddy Roosevelt. Now we have Cassandra Trump. He more or less “gets it” but he’s so crazy that nobody believes anything he says. There’s a swamp in Richmond and it’s proportionately every bit as deep as it’s bigger doppelgänger in DC. Unfortunately, none of the 6 candidates running for statewide office yesterday had any interest in trying to drain that swamp. The 6 of them are the kinds of reptiles who can’t imagine living anywhere but in a swamp.

    1. LocalGovGuy Avatar

      Nothing will ever change in this day and age until we have 100% public financing of campaigns. That’s the absolute bottom line. I don’t care if you’re a Tea Partier or a Communist, if you want to “drain the swamp”, the only way to do so is to establish an electoral system that prohibits private campaign contributions. Campaigns have become so expensive that the people contributing money have an inordinate amount of influence on the entire political process.

      Everyone on this blog understands this, though due to ideology, many will not agree with the statement.

      1. djrippert Avatar

        Same thing Robert Reich essentially wrote in Supercapitalism. I completely agree. Then, cap the tax deductibility of charitable contributions at $5,000 per year. You can donate any amount you want, you just can’t deduct anything more than $5,000 from you taxes. No more of the Gates’, Buffets, Clintons or Soros’ setting up parallel government organizations on the backs of US taxpayers. Then, no more close relatives of sitting government officials getting paid exorbitant fees for giving speeches. That’s just another form of payola. My wife works for a publicly traded company. I can’t buy or sell shares in that company from the first day of the last month of a quarter through the day after the earnings are released. I don’t work for that company. Doesn’t matter. My wife wouldn’t tell me insider information about the company. Doesn’t matter. My wife might not have access to any non-public financial information about the company. Doesn’t matter. In order to maintain the confidence of people in the integrity of the system there must be honesty in fact and in appearance. When Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State her husband had no business taking money for speeches when the people paying his fees stood to potentially benefit from Hillary’s role as Secretary of State.

        1. LocalGovGuy Avatar

          100% agree.

      2. TooManyTaxes Avatar

        Public financing of campaigns won’t cut it. Outside groups, including the MSM and the Non-MSM, can still spend as much money as they want so long as they don’t coordinate with a candidate. I think a Constitutional Amendment would be needed to achieve this result.

        Even disclosure has its limits based on the old NAACP case that allowed secrecy for donors if there is a risk to them personally. And in today’s world, a donor to an unpopular cause may well be at risk.

        I like DJR’s suggestion to limit tax deductibility of charitable contributions. I’d go further and abolish the tax exempt status for any organization that paid for lobbying, either directly or indirectly, or gave contributions to an organization that lobbied. Lobbying would be any contact with any elected official or appointed official who was approved or hired by an elected official or body. If you’re going to feed the poor, you can be tax exempt. If you try to influence government policy about feeding the poor, sorry you should be taxed.

        Non-profits, most especially private foundations, live deep in the swamp.

      3. Agree with you, LGGuy. The money in politics is the root problem. Don’t blame Citizens United — all that said was, corporations are as entitled to free speech as persons. No, stop all donors — corporations and persons and PACs and whatever else they transmute into — from giving (with strings attached) the obscene sums necessary to run a decent political campaign today.

        Not so sure about the Reich thesis. Big pros and cons there.

  12. As New Jersey transplants, we loved this quote by Tom Davis:

    “(Former Rep. Tom) Davis said Republicans must now realize that half of Virginia “is essentially New Jersey and the Trump people can’t insist on ideological rigidity. The Trump voters are still important, but they weren’t enough to win here last year, and they certainly weren’t enough tonight. Our party is alienating every ethnic voter, and if we’re not careful, Virginia will become another California, where we don’t matter at all.”

    1. Haha! After screwing up New Jersey, you guys headed South to where the jobs were. Now you’re determined to screw up Virginia!

      Chris Christie may have been an obnoxious bully, but for eight years he put the brakes on New Jersey’s worst instincts. I expect it will soon follow Illinois as the nation’s fiscal basket case.

  13. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: ” One of my favorite things to do is to ask progressives what they don’t like about Trump’s policies. Not his inane tweets or his rants – his actual policies. ”

    oh man – where to start….

    how about health care? or immigration… or homosexuals in the military or dismantling the EPA, National Park Service and NOAA?

    he has no “policies” other than his inane and ephemeral sound bites that have zero connection with realities.

    One minute he’s “making a deal” with the Dems or the GOP and the next minute he’s calling them names … He demeans the CIA, the FBI and the State Department…

    Having said that – I don’t think the vote is aimed at Trump. It’s aimed at the GOP for supporting Trump 75-80% at the same time they themselves cannot get legislation done either….

    You got GOP folks like O’Bannon who got dumped… I’d like to know what issues he lost on because I’m betting it was not on Trump.

    1. djrippert Avatar

      Health care? Obamacare is failing, Larry. You make a lot of comments about how people won’t make the necessary changes to Social Security or Medicaid until there is a crisis but you want to let Obamacare slide into crisis. Trump thinks it should be repealed and Congress should start over. As Nancy “float like a Butterfinger, sting like a tree” Pelosi said, “We won’t know what’s in the bill until we pass it.” Now we know. Trump thinks it’s unsalvageable in its current form. I think he may be right. At least he’s trying to do something before it’s a full blown crisis.

      Immigration – enforcing the law is somehow wrong? Even if you believe that it’s hard to claim a president is deranged because he wants to enforce the laws Congress passed. Did you see how fast Ralph Northam flip-flopped on the sanctuary city issue? Americans are tired of unlimited unregulated immigration. Congress can always change the laws. But they won’t because it would cost a lot of them reelection.

      Homosexuals in the military? I assume you mean the order prohibiting the enlistment of transgender recruits. In 2016 Obama’s Secretary of Defense issued an order that transgendered people be allowed to enlist in the military while specifically not addressing the long term policy questions. The policy issues were supposed to be decided by June 2017 by the military but they weren’t. Trump thinks it’s better to halt transgender enlistments until the military decides what long term policy should be. I agree with that. Allowing people to enlist in the military who you later may determine shouldn’t be in the military seems like a pretty stupid idea.

      Dismantling the EPA? I agree with you on that one. Stupid.

      National Park Service? The 2018 President’s budget request funds 6.4 percent fewer FTE (-1,242). Really? A 6.4% headcount cut in a country that is running massive deficits? I’m not sure how you think the deficits will go away if some things don’t get cut. My guess is that the national parks won’t turn into toxic waste dumps if we cut headcount by 6.4%.

      NOAA? A 16% cut to an agency that where Obama increased funding during his tenure. Again, if you want to cut discretionary spending – where are you going to do that? NOAA says their ability to improve the accuracy of their weather predictions will be compromised. Maybe they’re accurate enough already.

      Your examples make my point. None of these decisions by Trump are particularly wild eyed or crazy. People can disagree whether NOAA should have its budget cut by 16% but that’s hardly an insane idea, especially given its recent budget growth.

      The problem with Trump is that while his decisions may not be wild eyed or crazy he personally seems to be both.

  14. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    DJ, I agree with much of Trump’s agenda. My strongest disagreements are in the area of trade policy, but I have no objection if he is just posturing for better agreements. I will be very upset if he kills NAFTA entirely, but have my fingers crossed we actually do stay on the path to free(r) trade. I see merit in the tax bill, and like you I do not see it saving me much if anything. I like the simplification and I like eliminating deductions that skew economic decision making.

    But his tweets and his antics have consequences. The internal party war he and Bannon are gleefully waging has consequences. The Party of Lincoln (!) standing by the Lost Cause 152 years after Appomattox has consequences. Hell, it was the Democrats who put up those d#@& statutes and they just won another election with them, you morons! There were about 400,000 more votes this year than four years ago. Why? What fired them up? Northam ran 330,000 votes ahead of McAuliffe four years ago, and Gillespie added about 160,000 to Cuccinelli’s total. My guess is most of Gillespie’s growth was people who voted for Sarvis last time, but most of Northam’s growth was voters who didn’t vote at all in 2013. Why? Because Trump revels in being Peck’s Bad Boy, revels in personal attacks, would rather be hated than ignored, and people were standing in line at 6 a.m. to demonstrate that disdain.

    One of the big problems is too many people think Trump won because he’s a genius and forget that he mainly won because the Democrats ran who they ran.

  15. djrippert Avatar

    Trump was a factor but not the only factor. Four years ago the Democrats swept the same three state-wide races and anybody back then who would have said Donald Trump would be president in 2017 would have been laughed out of the room.

    Virginia is becoming a liberal Democratic state. The gerrymandered House of Delegates districts let the Republicans hold on longer than in the “impossible to gerrymander” state-wide elections. If you want to see the political future of Virginia look toward Maryland. Urban areas are almost always liberal areas. As urban areas account for an ever increasing percentage of Virginia’s population Virginia will become increasingly blue. You’ll get the odd “Larry Hogan” from time to time but the consistent trend will be more liberal and more Democratic.

    So, what should conservatives do? Disable Trump’s Twitter account? Not only would that end the extremely entertaining flow of rants that always brightens my day it wouldn’t reverse the long term trend. The only hope for conservatives is to break down the power of our state government in favor or more power in local government. Virginia’s strict implementation of Dillon’s Rule in the 1972 Constitution will inevitably mean that people living in conservative areas of the state will be increasingly dominated by an ever more liberal, Democratic, all powerful state government. I’ve lived on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I know what it’s like to be in a conservative enclave dominated by a liberal statehouse. It will be worse in Virginia. At least Maryland’s Constitution provides considerable power to localities. In Maryland counties can levy income taxes. At first that sounds terrible. However, it’s not. Liberal Montgomery County has an income tax rate well over twice the rate in conservative Worcester County. Of course, if you’re going to devolve more of the tax collection to the counties you have ti devolve the spending decisions too. Do you want to pay a 5% income tax to the state and a 1% income tax to your conservative county or a 9% income tax to the state and nothing to the county?

    The only hope for conservatives in Virginia is to break the back of Dillon’s Rule in Virginia and give more power to the localities. The Terry McAuliffes, Kathleen Murphys and Mark Herrings aren’t going away. By the time the next census is taken into account the Dems will hold both houses and the state-wide offices. It will be too late to escape the deep blue policies of Richmond.

    1. If we had the local income tax like MD we could probably evolve out of the car tax , which is basically our crazy way to do that. Some local car tax is probably OK.

    2. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      Or ultimately retire to North Carolina. The state under both Rs and Ds has a better business climate and winter climate too. The universities are located in metro areas where they should be. And, to boot, my daughter can keep an eye on me when I need it.

  16. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: Obamacare is “failing”. No more than Social Security is “failing” if the GOP and Trump would stop actively undermining it and I have yet to see any reasonable alternative put forth recently that doesn’t essentially blow up the entire health insurance industry. Health care was the number one issue in Virginia elections.

    re: Trump is “entertaining” – yes and also to our allies and our enemies. He WOULD be entertaining if he was not the POTUS.

    re: Virginia is going to be a “liberal blue” state

    So here’s the question. How come virtually every major urbanized area in the US is “liberal” and is it a coincidence that that is where jobs are?

    Giving NoVa Home Rule is not going to make them more “Conservative”, right? You’re going to go to Home Rule to keep NoVa from becoming more “liberal”.. Really? what the dooda are you smokin.. boy?

    Isn’t Home Rule an inherently “liberal” concept and Dillon is Top-Down autocratic “the state knows best” Conservatism..?

    If NoVa got home rule , TMT.. WOULD flee to NC!

    Re: the nirvana known as North Carolina… perhaps but most any place is going to be better than the transportation hellhole known as NoVa!

    1. djrippert Avatar

      “Giving NoVa Home Rule is not going to make them more “Conservative”, right? You’re going to go to Home Rule to keep NoVa from becoming more “liberal”

      NoVa will be more liberal because the majority of people who live there want it that way. Accomack County will be more conservative because the people who live there want it that way. Why shouldn’t people be able to live the way they want?

      Obamacare is “failing”. No more than Social Security is “failing”
      Stick to the point at hand. Is Obamacare, in its present form, sustainable? You keep saying that people should address issues before they become crises. Obamacare is on a path to becoming a crisis – sooner rather than later. What would you do?

      So here’s the question. How come virtually every major urbanized area in the US is “liberal” and is it a coincidence that that is where jobs are?

      I don’t know why they become liberal but they sure do become liberal. The denser the population the more liberal the area. That’s my point. There’s no “fixing” the trend toward liberalism overall in Virginia. There’s only dealing with that reality.

      Isn’t Home Rule an inherently “liberal” concept and Dillon is Top-Down autocratic “the state knows best” Conservatism..?

      Yep. Kind of ironic, no? The same RoVa dumbasses who call NoVa “fake Virginia” and tried to prevent the inevitable march of urbanism and liberalism in Virginia through Politburo-like state control are about to be hoist on their own petard by the very Dillon’s Rule philosophy they have demanded for decades. If they’re going to hit the ripcord on this insanity they better do it soon.

      If NoVa got home rule , TMT.. WOULD flee to NC!

      Me too. Or Florida or Texas. And guess what, snowflakes … all the taxes I pay are heading south with me. What was it Margaret Thatcher once said? “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” Hmmm …

      Re: the nirvana known as North Carolina… perhaps but most any place is going to be better than the transportation hellhole known as NoVa!

      Typically ignorant comment. NoVa has gotten a lot better – mixing bowl, expanded Metro, VRE, Woodrow Wilson Bridge, etc. The worm is turning and it’s turning in NoVa’s favor. Actually it’s turning in the Washington Metro’s favor. Bacon knows this. It’s what pisses him off so much as Richmond remains a backwater. Nice place, nice people but a backwater none the less. No imagination in Richmond. Typical bourbon and branch water conservatives – the invisible hand will invisibly fix things.

      I am getting old enough to turn over the keys to my place in Great Falls to the next family that wants to raise their kids in a great area. I’m looking for lower population density, more conservative politics, better politicians and … more than anything else … some salt water. My retirement papers are in (again). This time I’m going to retire properly! The company I want to start (in my retirement (?) can just as easily be started in NC or FL as Virginia. I used to think I’d live my whole life in Virginia – maybe retire to the Eastern Shore or Tidewater. Not any more. Too crowded, too liberal. AMF.

  17. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    I went to a meeting tonight. A consultant to NVTA (the agency with the money) reported that because of Tysons, through traffic in McLean is going to get much worse and there isn’t much that can be done to address it. Yep, when I hang up my spurs I’m heading south.

    1. djrippert Avatar

      McLean can’t remain the low density place that it is. The plan was to make Tysons the “capital city” of Fairfax County. Tysons ought to incorporate as a city and ought to systematically annex parts of McLean as it grows. The days of houses on 1/2 acre to 1 acre lots in McLean are numbered. Tysons / McLean is going to look a lot more like Reston than it does today – and sooner rather than later. The good news? Whatever property you own is going to be worth more than it is today. The bad news – you’ll have to move to preserve the lifestyle to which you have become accustomed. Just like I’ve always said about rural Virginia – things change. If you don’t like you situation – stop waiting for somebody to bail you out and move somewhere where you like the situation. As for North Carolina – Topsail Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Wilmington, Sunset Beach – lots of good choices.

      1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

        Tysons will never be an independent city as Fairfax County will want the real estate, personal property, BPOL , transportation real estate and its share of sales taxes generated in Tysons. Even if there were one supervisor who had Tysons and Tysons only for a district, the rest of the supervisors would vote no. Ditto for senators and delegates, irrespective of their political party.

        McLean, like some other parts of the County, is being rebuilt by tear-downs. It’s easy to replace an $800 K house with one selling for between $1.5 and $3 M. It would be much more difficult to replace say four $800 K houses with 10 $1.2 M townhouses. But for tear-downs, very few developers/builders can make money without rezoning. And the anti-proffer bill has essentially stopped residential re-zonings except for multi-family and those only in zones that are already pretty dense.

        And Dranesville will never elect a supervisor who is strongly pro-development except in Tysons and the McLean CBD.

      2. LarrytheG Avatar

        Well I agree with this: ” things change. If you don’t like you situation – stop waiting for somebody to bail you out and move somewhere where you like ”

        but we currently have 300,000 people living 50 miles south of NoVa and a good chunk of them want to live here and work up there and in the process of living that life – we have a transportation hell up and down I-95 AND in NoVa when these folks bring their cars to their work in NoVa and locale.

        Annexation is no longer an option in Va. They put it on a moratorium a decade or two back and the issues that motivated the moratorium are still present and that is having one locality essentially cannibalize another against their will… I just don’t think it’s coming back or if it does – then you’ll end up with adjacent localities trying to annex each other… and that kind of thing or what Tidewater did which was to essentially convert entire counties to “cities” to inoculate them from annexation.

        How Nova and parts of NoVa become more dense though is , inevitable.. it’s only the “how” that is not yet figured out.

        And DJ is right – traditional large lot subdivisions in many areas of NoVa are doomed.. they are basically zombies surrounded by encroaching “density” … AND the traffic that comes with it despite all this blather about transit and “walkability”.

        NoVa is not unique in any of this. Every major metropolitan urbanized area in the country has similar dynamics going on.

  18. LarrytheG Avatar

    Obamacare if left alone will not fail. It had sustainable funding and a good array of companies offering insurance until the GOP and Trump purposely sabotaged it to deliver on their promise to “repeal and replace” it. That promise was made to idiots who themselves did not have it but wanted to kill it for others based on the idea that it was a undeserved subsidy when in fact it is an attempt to provide them with the equivalent of employer-provided insurance as a giant pool where they would could buy it with a subsidy similar to the tax-free subsidy given to employer-provided – community rating premiums (like employer-provided), pre-existing protections (like employer provided) and no annual/lifetime caps (like employer-provided).

    It worked, not without some flaws that need to be addressed – just like Social Security and Medicaid flaws that need periodic adjustments. None of these things work flawlessly from the get go and all of them need periodic adjustments . It’s the nature of ANY legislation whether it’s immigration, tax law, banking, terrorism, etc. expecting flawless performance is just not reality – just as cities themselves are not flawless in their operation.. it’s a giant complex evolving thing..

    Right now – enrollments for Obamacare are running TWICE as much as last year even in it’s damaged state.

    The truth here is that the folks who say it is “dying” – themselves have no acceptable alternatives – it’s a prime example of folks who are driven by ideological concepts but cannot deal with reality in practical terms and they become disasters at trying to devise solutions for things that are big and complex… like health care, immigration, and now the tax code.

    These guys have no acceptable practical solutions and what they do instead is undermine and sabotage so they can then say it “failed”.

    It’s a failure to govern… not unlike the folks in Richmond with regard to things like MedicAid and Home Rule while they fritter away with things like trans vaginal probes and the like while places like NoVa pray that they do nothing to harm them!

    My point about cities and liberals relates to this failure of ideological Conservatives to govern – to effectively deal with complex problems that include how cities operate.

    It’s the simple reason why there are few if any far right types in charge of cities. Establishment conservatives can and do and have run cities but they are referred to as RINOs by other Conservatives to their right that now infest our politics. Bloomberg is a good example. A very successful “Conservative” businessman who knows what it takes to govern and run a city. You put a hard core Conservative in that role and disaster would ensue.

    The same people who cannot deal with complex and knotty issues like healthcare and immigration could not deal with running a city either because they cannot make the compromises that are necessary.

    Cities are a particular mixture of governance and free market. Free markets with a lot of rules.. not unlike Obamacare where people do get to choose from a wide array of policies (before it was sabotaged) but there are a lot of rules also.

    The GOP portrays itself as the party in touch with jobs and prosperity – but if those guys were in charge of cities – they’d harm them the same way they harm other things that they have demonstrated they are incapable of dealing with.

    Trump is neither Conservative nor Liberal – he basically is without any real philosophy or morals except what is best for him… it comes across loud and clear – over and over and over. He simply is not a leader and statesman – he’s just a guy who clawed his way to the top of the pile using whatever tactics he had to – and that’s how he got elected and now is how he is governing. Is that going to be good for the country? I sincerely doubt it.

    He has no clue how things really work ..and he really doesn’t care as long as he can influence things to be the way he wants them. Whether that is best for the country or not is totally irrelevant to him…it’s a power game and he likes “winners”.

    Does anyone seriously think that he would come up with something “better” than Obamacare or a reasonable approach to immigration or tax policy or climate change.. social security .. entitlements… the deficit and debt?

    be truthful? Do you really expect him to do any of that ..or just latch onto whatever claptrap is spouted on FOX or what lame efforts Congress manages to come up with?

    Congress has had a decade to come up with health care and tax reform and immigration and what have they done other than to continue to disagree as a party on how to go forward.

    Like I said – you put these guys in charge of a city – and they’d screw it up just like if you put Richmond in charge of NoVA!

    DJ – I know you need a little help getting all this straight in your mind so I’m hoping this helps.

    1. djrippert Avatar

      “Obamacare if left alone will not fail.”

      “It worked, not without some flaws that need to be addressed – just like Social Security and Medicaid flaws that need periodic adjustments.”

      Dear Lord, Larry – please tell me you can see the contradiction in your own statements.

  19. I am so glad that Prince William got rid of Marshall. The man did more damage to Republican/conservative causes than any five other guys. A complete disaster.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Marshall is saying that Gillespie lost because he was not Conservative enough … a “wishy-washy” RINO.. that the party needs to rid itself of – ala Bannon.

    2. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      CJD – agree. Marshall was totally out of touch with most of everything except for some financial issues.

  20. LarrytheG Avatar

    Marshall was/is a Trump/Bannon guy who says that the GOP would have taken Virginia is they swore their allegiance to Trump and embrace his …er “policies”.

    Who is right?

    Marshall got elected in Prince William – right? So his Trump credentials are valid with voters in Prince William?

    There’s a bit of a dichotomy here. Several commenters here lave lamented the state being taken over by “liberals”. Does that mean they would prefer folks like Marshall or other GOP that do subscribe to Trump? The Polls show consistently that 80% of the GOP support Trump – right?

    One would think that applies not only to Marshall but a large majority of the other GOP in Va – both Congressional and General Assembly – right?

    90% of the Virginia geography voted for Trump so it’s not such a stretch to believe the Congressional and GA representatives of that Geography probably are Trump supporters just like Marshall is but not as open about it.

    How about the GOP that got voted out? what jurisdictions did they represent? Probably not the Red rural Va, I suspect but instead the urban and suburban areas.

    Here’s my theory. 40% of Virginia voters said health care was their biggest issue. What did GOP representatives do about health care in Congress and health care in Virginia?

    But you have to go further than that – because people who already have employer-provided probably are not as hot on the issue as those who don’t have it.

    So perhaps the 40% is both sides- i.e. those that want more/better govt support of health care – and those who oppose more govt efforts so the GOP got whacked from both sides – the ones who want Obamacare and the expansion as well as those who expected the GOP to repeal?

    Do we really know or are most of us speculating or am I full of doogie doo?

  21. LarrytheG Avatar

    ” Dave Brat: Gillespie Lost Because He Didn’t ‘Run on the Populist Message’

    Virginia congressman said the gubernatorial race was ‘a disaster’ for the GOP because it didn’t ‘nationalize the election’

    Virginia Rep. Dave Brat said Wednesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that Ed Gillespie’s run for governor in Virginia was a “disaster” because Gillespie refused to embrace fully the populist message President Donald Trump campaigned on in 2016.”

    this idea is “out there”… and the folks that think that way are not shy and not small in numbers!!!

    surely among the conservative commenters here – there is some concurrence with this view, no?

    1. djrippert Avatar

      “surely among the conservative commenters here – there is some concurrence with this view, no?”

      I don’t consider myself all that conservative but I do agree. So long as Gillespie had a big “R” next to his name on the ballot he was going to get painted with the Trump brush. That meant he had 2 choices – 1) aggressively repudiate Trump or 2) try to translate Trump’s rhetoric down to his actions. The first option is challenging since many would say, “why should I vote for a Republican who doesn’t want to be a Republican?” The second option is better but still challenging – Trump’s sound bites would have certainly been thrown back at Gillespie in ad after ad. Instead of either of these approaches Gillespie took the worst possible option – he pretended Trump doesn’t exist. This let the Ds get out the vote as a message to Trump while the Rs were far less motivated by a candidate that didn’t seem to stand for much of anything. When Gillespie did go populist in a faintly Trumpian way with the sanctuary city point Northam panicked and flip-flopped over to the populist side.

      Monday morning quarterbacking is easy … so I’ll do it! I think the RPV would have been a lot better off trying to talk Cuccinelli into running again. After four years of nothing from McAuliffe a lot of people have begun to wonder whether they made a mistake voting for Terry. Cooch has moderated his far right position (in public anyway). He wasn’t wrapped up in the national party like Gillespie was and he could articulate the issues facing Virginia far better than Northam or Gillespie.

      This wasn’t an election about convincing moderate Democrats to vote Republican. That wasn’t going to happen. This was an election about getting out the Republican and right-leaning independent vote like it had never been gotten out before. Playing the populism card without being sounding like a Trump sycophant was the only hope. Even with that it probably wouldn’t have been enough to win the state-wide offices but it would have staunched the bleeding at the delegate level.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        My understanding is that Gillespie got the most votes ever for a GOP candidate in Virginia, no?

  22. musingsfromjanus Avatar

    As someone who has voted on both sides of the aisle in Virginia I don’t think the campaign of either candidate gave a thoughtful voter very many reasons of policy or prospective actions to vote for them.

    If I am correct on that, people voted on emotion or feelings which I think tends to result in voting a party ticket.

    I don’t even know what people mean by Trunmp’s “populist” vision.

    Getting immigration under control so that those who come here do so legally based on some national strategy about the kind of population which will serve the nation best?

    Trade agreements which give America as much as they give?

    Schools which competently teach pupils subjects that will help them get jobs and succeed or at least keep more than 60% through to graduation with degrees which reflect k12 learning as opposed to k5-7?

    Environmental policies which strike a rational balance between the economic and environmental and sustainability interests of the majority of the population?

    Tax law which is comprehensible and has the best chance of funding needed services without doing unintended and unwanted harm to its sources?

    Federal regulations which don’t require the average business to dedicate a confiscatory sum to accountants and lawyers to run their business?

    Safety net services which truly enable those who need them to live comfortably if work is not an option or to return to productive citizenship for those it is without locking an increasingly large population is poverty, crime and despair?

    Health care which is affordable and does not increase at 8 to 10 times the rate of inflation every year while steadily diminishing the accessibility of doctors and nurses and the quality of the care they are providing?

    If my social interactions are any indicator, a whole lot of people voted to punish mean, hateful Republicans most of whom are closet white supremacists and Conservatives who are only interested in their wallets and want to hurt the poor, punish people of color and Muslims, hurt LGBTQXYZ people, et al.

    A whole lot of people voted to squelch fascist liberals who in the zeal for moral superiority have embraced violence, race-baiting, class warfare, ideological rigidity, the elimination of white men from any legitimate place in our society, and the complete destruction of the culture which created a nation which still has no peers and with all its faults is a lot better place to live for minorities, Muslims, and the poorest of our population than any other place on earth.

    Trump probably fits in there somewhere.

    1. djrippert Avatar

      I see it your way. Whether you agree with Trump’s policies or not – his policies are not all that extreme. It’s Trump that’s extreme. He reminds me of a “heel” manager in professional wrestling. He goes out of his way to make people hate him. Flamboyantly nutty. Of course, professional wrestling is “choreographed” as even the WWE will admit. It’s entertainment. What is Trump’s purpose with the nutty Tweets and comments? Is Mike “Superfly” Pence about to put Handsome Harry Reid in a suplex?

  23. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    You and I pretty much agree on the issues you raise above and how you characterize those issues, and on how you come down on those issues.

  24. LarrytheG Avatar

    @musingsfromjanus – you cite the major issues quite well but the GOP’s response to these issues is not to reform them as much as it is to abandon them in my view.

    A lot of people are pretty concerned about health care… and the GOP positions are not reassuring to people especially those who do not have employer-provided which is increasingly the case in the 21st century economy.

    When you look at the GOP “ideas” – they are all over the map… and in the end a desperate push that appealed to the hard right… abandoned people who were having trouble getting insurance – and keeping it.

    Ditto with immigration – the GOP does not have a unified view about it and they show a proclivity of desperately seeking something that will please both wings of the party – and it is just not to be. The right wing of the GOP considers the establishment GOP to be de- facto Dems….

    Barely 1/3 of voters actually support the hard-right GOP “solutions”.

    But the big thing here is the turnout . What was the turnout in Va for both Dems and GOP? My understanding is that it was large on both sides and the GOP did get everyone in their corner out to vote and uncharacteristically the Dems got a good turnout including blacks.

    ” Turnout, however, was the highest in 20 years for a gubernatorial race, five percentage points and 10 percentage points higher than the last two. And voters in the urban and rural regions of the state broke more heavily along party lines than they had in the prior elections.

    Looking at the state in six regions shows every one of them split by party more forcefully than four years ago, when Democrat Terry McAuliffe defeated Republican Ken Cuccinelli by 2.5 percentage points. The three relatively urban regions — Northern Virginia, Central Virginia around Richmond and the Hampton Roads — each gave Governor-elect Ralph Northam bigger vote margins than McAuliffe earned over Cuccinelli. On the flip side, Republican Ed Gillespie scored bigger wins in the three more-rural regions, Shenandoah Valley, Southside and Southwest Virginia.”

    so what does it mean when BOTH SIDES get a significant turnout and the GOP loses worse than it did with McAuliffe and Cucinelli?

    It tells me that if the Dems can actually get their supporter out, they win, even if the GOP gets their base out.


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