BEELZEBUB!

By Peter Galuszka

The Lord of the Flies is upon us! We have been plunged into the darkness by a tsunami of moderate to progressive Democrats who have taken both the House of Delegates and the state Senate for the first time since 1993.

This means that Democrats now control everything from the offices of the Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General. All three had been tainted by scandal but it turned out that Virginia voters thought that President Donald Trump was a much dirtier, ruder and offensive customer, hence their sweep.

A view big wins: Ghazala Hashmi, a Democrat, a retired school administrator and the first elected Muslim ever in the state legislature, beat Republican pretty boy Glen Sturtevant. In Suffolk, Democrat Clinton Jenkins took down powerful GOPer Chris Jones. House Speaker and Republican Kirk Cox kept his seat but will have to leave the coveted House Majority Speaker slot to most likely Eileen Filler Corn, now Democrat House Minority Leader. Some old standbys like Tommy Norment and the ever-amusing Amanda Chase stay in power.

What’s likely? A short list:

  • A more progressive assembly will be more smitten with improving healthcare through some kind of Medicaid funding and expansion and some new form of limited cost prescription drugs. These were big polling issues and show just how out of touch old GOP Mossbacks like Bill Howell were with their skinflint attitudes about what voters want most.
  • There will finally be a breakthrough on gun control, especially after the mass shooting in Virginia Beach last spring. Once again, polls show that Virginians want something done about guns despite gobs of National Rifle Association money and the phony patriotism of gun nuts. All gun control efforts got shot down in committee. Not any more.
  • There will likely be more give on abortion and other women’s issues.
  • There’s a better chance, but not a certain one, that Virginia could ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. That would mean that the ERA dating way back to the 1970s, would finally become the law of the land.
  • Dominion, now rebranding itself as the “green” utility that you never heard of, will find itself hemmed in when it tries to steamroll issues that it wants such as regulation on its terms and handing on the ratepayer’s profits. Expect more renewable power and more challenges to two controversial natural gas pipelines.
  • Like the Kochs and McGlothlins and Altrias of yesteryear, expect from Dem money to come from new, rich sources from inside or outside of the state.  Some contributors on this blog will whine about this, but hey, what’s sauce for the goose . . .
  • While a new $15/hour state minimum wage might not win, some form of wage reform will be addressed. The old ideas of keeping them pregnant and barefoot and not daring to question the Big Boss are coming to and end, especially if Virginia wants to progress in the21st Century in the Knowledge Economy that once was all the rage on this blog. Right to Work might not happen, but some kind of organizing relief may be in the mill. Once again, it’s not 1920 anymore despite what you hear from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and former Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, who accepted gifts and trips and loans that ordinary Virginians aren’t about to get.

As for me, I’ll probably become more of a Social Justice Warrior and more strident in my liberalism. This day has been a-waiting for many years. It is a sign that Virginia voters are becoming more diverse, better educated, younger and far more worldly. Going but not gone is a world dominated by white good old boys. In 1982, I left the state, sickened by the constant, nauseating conservatism of the place, only made worse by working for the Richmond Times Dispatch. Now I think I’ll stick around.

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34 responses to “BEELZEBUB!

  1. following….. 😉

    • How did he get that photo of me after my 16 hours inside the precinct yesterday? This is like jet lag this morning….

      • I don’t know what the right answer is but 16 hours is too long for many folks… I cannot imagine after 10-12 hours that mistakes are not made.

        The other issue is the different districts overlapping each other in some precincts. It means different ballots have to be used at the same precinct depending on the persons address… and inevitably, there are errors every year in those “split” precincts.

        Finally – the State Board of Elections website went belly-up early on and then it was saying 100% of precincts reporting even as some precincts had zero votes reported! They finally got it fixed but stuff like that should not happen – they’re not ready for prime time and you can bet your boogers that in some close races – there’s going to be suspicion and agnst.

        • This is Virginia. Stuff like that happens all the time. About the only real talent this state’s workforce has is keeping chairs in government offices warm.

          • Well, it’s the local registrar that is supposed to keep things straight and I basically quit doing it because the training was not good and poll-opening was helter-skelter… no organized approach just everyone do “something”… etc… lord o’mighty – this is one of the most sacred parts of our governance and it’s a joke.

          • Dick Hall-Sizemore

            I spent more than 40 years working in and around state government. Its ranks are replete with smart, talented, hard-working, and dedicated employees. Many could make more money in the private sector, but enjoy the challenges and satisfaction of public service.

        • One answer is we need more people willing to do it, so at least some breaks (physical and mental) during the day are possible. That’s a LONG day, 16 hours from leaving the house to return. Maybe we need to draft poll workers like we do jurors! (But unlike jurors there is needed training….)

          • It’s too long a day and training is insufficient – IMHO. Apparently, it’s required by law – not sure if it is State law or National law or just convention. I did it for several years but lost my ardor for it.

  2. The world needs more Social Justice Warriors who understand that the changing colors of the landscape aren’t all related to the color of the falling leaves. Going but not gone works for me… let’s paint a rainbow, or weave a quilt, or just open our doors to our neighbors and serve them a cup of coffee and some fresh baked cookies. I’m still naive (and idealistic) enough to believe that we can do this!

  3. Well I would say from NoVA perspective the prior rural-centric, Virginia repub regime was not too great. At the same time I am not too confident the blue side will move Virginia closer its true economic potential.

    • Well if the Dems do for rural Va what they have done for urban Virginia – that would be far far better than the GOP doing for urban Va what they’ve done for rural Va! 😉

      • Why can’t we be more like Tennessee which is showing the kind of economic boom I would like Virginia to have? Virginia must have policies that favor Tennessee as the development state of choice.

  4. “phony patriotism of gun nuts”

    I’ve enjoyed reading the policy discussions on BR but if this is the way things are trending around here I guess it’s time for me to move on.

    • Oh, please don’t leave us. Peter is being his hyperbolic self, inspired by the election results. After all, some of the conservative/libertarian commentators have been known to engage in such hyperbole from time to time. It is one of the strengths of this blog that both perspectives are aired, with a minimum of name calling.

  5. Peter, you say, “Dominion, now rebranding itself as the “green” utility that you never heard of, will find itself hemmed in when it tries to steamroll issues that it wants such as regulation on its terms and handing on the ratepayer’s profits.” We should hope so — but there is a blindness on the left when it comes to those who speak “Green” but propose highly profitable means to achieve a token move in that direction. The message has got to be, let the State Corporation Commission do its job: oversight, public hearings, cost-benefit evaluation, a determination of what’s really in the public interest.

  6. A) ” . . the phony patriotism of gun nuts. ” . . . and people wonder why we distrust the voice of “sensible gun control.”

    B) “There will likely be more give on abortion and other women’s issues.”. . . if we have much more give we will be aborting kindergartners – might I suggest a statue to Baal?

    C)”There’s a better chance, but not a certain one, that Virginia could ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. That would mean that the ERA dating way back to the 1970s, would finally become the law of the land.”
    . . . uh, nope, it is rather more complicated than that

  7. “In 1982, I left the state, sickened by the constant, nauseating conservatism of the place, . . . by all means then, you are certainly the voice of reason we have been looking for . .

    PS And how WAS Cuba?

  8. Warren. I actually spent six years in moscow watching the fall of communism and four years in new york editing stories about it

  9. Now the challenge for the Democrats will be governing. In the House, I think only Ken Plum and Vivian Watts have ever been in the majority. Governing is different from being in the minority (granted, being in the majority is more fun). In the Senate, there are more veterans who have been in the majority and have chaired committees and done the other things that go into making the legislature run smoothly.

    Insiders tell me that the House Democrats have their internal divisions. If so, they may come to light more this weekend when they have their caucus (according to Jeff Shapiro, this is when it is scheduled) to organize and perhaps choose the new Speaker. According to those same insiders, Filler-Corn is not a shoo-in as Speaker, although she served as Minority Leader for a session (or was it two?). Whoever is chosen, that person will need to be someone who can pull the factions together, while dampening the most extreme enthusiasms of the newbies.

  10. Dick. Good points. I remember how just about every Dem wanted Northam’s head after the blackface thing. And, as you say, there will be a back and forth with how far left to go. Still, i hope Dems can do something real on health care and gun control and the like

    • You and others have mentioned the Democrats doing more on health care. I am not trying to be snide, but what more can they do that would be significant beyond the expansion of Medicaid? And, if there is something, shouldn’t we wait until Medicaid expansion has “settled in”?

      • Dick – they could allow Medicare AND MedicAid to negotiate prescription drug prices as a start. And they could preserve and protect truly portable health insurance like ObamaCare so that people are not “job locked” and are free to pursue the best job for them and to be able to leave that job if it no longer is wage competitive.

        Workers are trapped by the way we do health insurance right now.

        • I was talking about Democrats in the General Assembly. I may be mistaken, but I don’t think states have the authority to do what you are suggesting. (I agree with your points, however.)

          • State-based ObamaCare exchanges have advantages over the Federal exchanges.. more plans, re-insurance, etc.

            “Twenty-four states have passed 37 bills this year to curb rising prescription drug costs,”

            and…

            ” A bill passed unanimously this year by the Connecticut General Assembly illustrates a popular tactic: States are shining a spotlight on drug price increases as a first step toward controlling costs.

            Under the Connecticut law, drug companies must justify price increases for certain drugs if the price rises by at least 20 percent in one year or 50 percent over three years. Insurers must identify their 25 highest-cost drugs and the 25 with the greatest cost increases when they file their annual rate requests with the state Insurance Department.

            In addition, the middlemen, known as pharmacy benefit managers, must disclose the amount of rebates and other price concessions they receive from drug companies.”

            All this stuff the GOP in Va has said could be done – they did not do it when they could have…

            It’ll be interesting to hear the GOP respond to actual and real efforts to rein in drug prices…. All along they were playing voters for fools on the issue. That’s what they call “socialism”.

  11. Dick. Good question. I’ll get back to you. Am still absorbing election results

  12. Acbar, you raise a good point — industrial policy vs protecting ratepayers. Example. I wrote a book about coal seven years ago. Research i did showed that there was technology to burn coal for electricity and dramatically reduce pollution, including carbon. But it was extremely expensive and regulators in the states would not approve since they had to protect ratepayers. So? Do you keep protecting ratepayers or do you go with some form of industrial policy that us bound to involve huge government subsidies, ie nukes?

  13. “I actually spent six years in moscow watching the fall of communism and four years in new york editing stories about it”
    The you REALLY have NO excuse

  14. Warren Books. No excuse for what? I gave been a professional journalist for 45 years. That took me to Russia because i had a degree in international relations and had studied the language. As a US correspondent, i was considered an enemy. My phone and apartment were tapped. My Russian contacts were harrased . I had to get permission to travel more than 25 miles out if the city. My job was to gather information and that I did under considerable stress. So who the hell are you to question my journalistic ethics and patriotism?

  15. Steve. No shit Dick Tracey

  16. Steve. No shit Dick Tracey

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