Tiffany Polifko, Loudoun County School Board. Courtesy of her campaign.
by James C. Sherlock
The people of Loudoun County have spoken — just barely.
They elected Tiffany L. Polifko to the School Board.
Ms. Polifko is a conservative with 20 years experience as a public and private school special education teacher. She currently serves as a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst working with children on the autism spectrum.
She has two kids in Loudoun County Schools. She stood for election to ensure a quality education for her children and the rest of the children of Loudoun County.
She won by 98 votes with nearly 20.000 cast.
The second place finisher was, according to the Loudoun Times,
(Nicholas) Gothard, a 22-year-old program manager for a nonprofit civic engagement group.
I, like most readers, have seen those words in the dictionary but never before in the same sentence.
Nicholas, informed by his extensive life experience, is very woke and very engaged politically. He was endorsed by Blue Virginia as a:
(h)uman rights advocate and community organizer … (who) hopes to bring a fresh perspective and new focus to the Loudoun County School Board.
He would have brought a “fresh perspective.” To the Loudoun County School Board. Dazzling possibilities there.
And he just missed. Continue reading
by Jim McCarthy
Wokeness appears to have infiltrated or infected Republicans and conservatives following disappointment when the ballyhooed Red Wave failed to materialize in the midterms. Denial is the first stage of the grieving process toward acceptance of the passing of a loved one.
Trump Denial Simplex (TDS) is not a replacement for Trump Derangement Syndrome suffered, according to Trump apologists, by Democrats and progressives possessed by a virulent hatred or dislike for the President in Exile (PIE) and employed to stoke similar responses among their voters. Nor is the new TDS multi-faceted, as it consists at present of a single part, giving rise to the “simplex” designation. Anger is the second stage in the grieving process but evidence of that has not yet been identified.
During the term of the 45th POTUS and the interregnum of PIE, an unwritten first commandment operated: I am the Lord of the GOP and thou shall not have strange challengers or graven images before me. Now in the course of human emotions, grief encompasses a passing from this mortal coil but, unlike Caesar, the good is not always interred with the bones and those who once praised (or were silent) about the Lord of the GOP, seeking to bury him, may have leaned over their skis.
Bacon’s Rebellion published an article, “Trump’s Done, and It’s Patently Obvious” (11/10/2022), proclaiming PIE’s passing as a vital political being. Commenters chimed in with posts expressing a variety of opinions attesting to the doneness of PIE. A few paraphrased examples of the comments are redolent of the first stage of the TDS: Continue reading
Winsome Sears. Photo credit: Washington Times
by James A. Bacon
No question about it: the Democrats won the expectations game. Republicans convinced themselves that they would sweep to victory in a Red Wave Tuesday, but they fell drastically short. It appears that the Rs will gain control of the House of Representatives and they still have a shot at squeaking out a majority in the Senate, but Democrats are the ones spiking the football in the end zone.
Fair enough. The party that controls the White House traditionally suffers far bigger losses. The Dems dodged a bullet, and no one can blame them for exulting.
What I find interesting, though, is that Democrats are treating the election as a vindication of their policies and rhetoric. They weren’t repudiated; therefore, they were vindicated. Accordingly, I have seen no self-reflection, no sign that Democrats see a need to change course.
Republicans are the ones undergoing intense self-examination. And, as exemplified by remarks by Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears yesterday, they are concluding that it is time for former President Trump to retire from the political scene. Continue reading
by Kerry Dougherty
In the aftermath of the midterms there is gnashing of teeth among Republican voters who wanted a red wave.
But, hey, we did our part in southeastern Virginia. We flipped the 2nd District congressional seat and some of the woke Virginia Beach School Board.
Well done, neighbors!
On Tuesday I met Mike Callan in the parking lot of my polling place at Galilee Church. He was running for the District 6 seat on the Virginia Beach School Board.
We chatted about the importance of school board elections and agreed that the city was in desperate need of new board members. Representatives who would be responsive to parents and who would raise the academic bar instead of lowering it.
“I think school board elections are more important than Congress,” I said.
“More important than president, in some ways,” Callan said.
After all, he added, school board decisions directly impact our precious children. Continue reading
Tiffany Polifko, parental-rights advocate and apparent winner of a Loudoun County school board seat.
by James A. Bacon
It has been the conventional wisdom for some time now that Governor Glenn Youngkin’s winning gambit in his race against Terry McAuliffe was tapping into the parental rights movement. Parents furious about the injection of wokism into public schools were emerging as a new political dynamic, and Youngkin was the first gubernatorial candidate nationally to tap into it.
Youngkin wasn’t on the ballot this November, but many school board candidates were. So, how did the parental rights movement fare?
The Virginia Public Access project (VPAP) identified 17 school board races across Virginia where at least one candidate made the parental-rights agenda championed by Younkin the centerpiece of the campaign. Eleven won, six lost.
Parental-rights advocates won in red-leaning counties such as Augusta, Bedford, Isle of Wight, and King George but lost in two small cities: Staunton and Harrisonburg. In Loudoun County, which was ground zero for Virginia’s K-12 culture wars, Tiffany L. Polifko is reported to cling to a narrow plurality, but in the Leesburg district the parental-rights candidate fell short.
The movement gained the most traction in Hampton Roads: specifically in Virginia Beach and Suffolk. Parental-rights candidates won the two Suffolk seats up for grabs, while in Virginia Beach, they snagged four of six seats. Not mentioned by VPAP, Chesapeake elected six new Republican-endorsed candidates to the school board. Continue reading
by Shaun Kenney
The first wall to fall was pushed over in 1980 in the Polish shipyards. Later, other symbolic walls came down, and the Germans, of course, tore down the literal wall in Berlin. The fall of the Berlin Wall makes for nice pictures. But it all started in the Gdansk shipyards.
— Lech Walesa on the Fall of the Berlin Wall (2009)
First and foremost, today is the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I remember watching this on live television as reporters were at first incredulous that it was even happening followed up with reports that Berliners — East and West — were swarming the wall and using hammers to pry it apart.
The impossible now seemed possible. Just two years later, the Soviet Union was mere weeks from moving from memory to history — and on Christmas Day in 1991 of all days.
So much for predictions of a red wave, eh?
The RCP projections for a R+2.5 generic ballot did not produce the three point “shy Tory” bounce many were expecting. Instead, the generic ballot may have been a few points shy of the RCP projections themselves (the pollsters working for Politico had the numbers as high as D+5 — which would have been not just historic but unparalleled). Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
So much for the red wave, much less the red tsunami, or the red once-every-60-million-years-asteroid-extinction that would obliterate the Democratic Party that a few delusional conservative bloggers imagined. The mid-term elections resulted in a red ripple. As of this writing, it looks like Republicans will win a narrow majority in the House of Representatives, while Republican control of the Senate, while not yet determined, remains very much in doubt.
Here in Virginia, Republicans gained one House seat — Jennifer Kiggans displaced Elaine Luria in Hampton Roads — but the Dems survived two hotly contested races, returning Abigail Spanberger and Jennifer Wexton to Congress. The outcome was better for Team Red than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick… but still disappointing compared to its high expectations.
Votes by congressional district. (Independents not included.)
If there was ever any question, Virginia remains a blue state — perhaps we could more generously say a blue state with a purplish tinge. With 99% to 100% of all precincts reporting this morning, the Virginia Department of Elections reports Democratic congressional candidates winning 1,515,000 votes to Republicans’ 1,439,000 votes.
If that’s the best the GOP can muster in an off-year election, which typically goes against the party that holds the White House, with 8% to 9% inflation, broken borders, raging culture wars, runaway budget deficits, declining stock market, crime in the streets, and all the rest, Republicans have a lot of work to do. It appears that the Democratic strategy of running on abortion and against Donald Trump worked. Continue reading
The percentage of campaign donations from University of Virginia employees fell from 95% in 2020 to only 91% this electoral season, according to data compiled from Federal Election Commission records by Walter Smith, a member of The Jefferson Council.
Polls show that Hispanics, Blacks and suburban White women are deserting the Democratic Party in droves this year. Of course, there aren’t many of those constituencies at UVa. The university population represents in its purist form the Whites-with-advanced-college-degrees demographic. When you lose 4% of those people, you know the Dems are in trouble!
What else do these numbers tell us? We already knew in 2020 that, among the university faculty, staff and other employees who made contributions, only 5% swam against the anti-Trump tide of that year. This year we discover that UVa has a swing vote amounting to 4% of employees employee donors. Continue reading
Polling stations, Robious Elementary School, Chesterfield County. Photo credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch
by Dick Hall-Sizemore
For most Virginians, this election season has been fairly quiet. In only three of the 11 Congressional districts has there been anything close to a contested election. Some local offices are on the ballot. Here and there is a bond referendum.
There have been two major election issues in the news that have statewide implications. One was the formation of an Elections Integrity Unit in his office by Attorney General Jason Miyares. In September, Miyares issued a news release boldly announcing the “creation” of what he termed “a new unit” that would help “restore confidence in our democratic process in the Commonwealth.” In the face of criticism, he later backed off the concept of it being something new. In an op-ed piece in The Washington Post he explained, “The Election Integrity Unit is simply a restructuring of lawyers, paralegals, and investigators already employed by my office and working on election matters.” In other words, it was just an office reorganization, similar to what all incoming AGs do. If that is all that it was, one wonders why the move merited a full-blown news release. Continue reading
Morgan Griffith, Southwest Virginia’s representative to the U.S. House — described by the Times as a 2022 election “objector”
by James A. Bacon
I love it when The New York Times tries to explain to its liberal and progressive readers what makes Republicans tick. Viewing the world through their woke lens of intersectional oppression, an article published yesterday concludes that the depravity of White Republican political views reflects their ignorance and racism. The Times never used the “R” word outright, but that’s the unavoidable implication of its argument.
The article purports to explain the votes of Republican congressmen who voted last year to reject President Trump’s electoral defeat. An article published yesterday sums up the thesis thusly:
A shrinking white share of the population is a hallmark of the congressional districts held by the House Republicans who voted to challenge Mr. Trump’s defeat, a New York Times analysis found — a pattern political scientists say shows how white fear of losing status shaped the movement to keep him in power.
The Times allows Ashley Jardina, a George Mason University political scientist, to elaborate: “Because they are more vulnerable, disadvantaged or less educated white voters can feel especially endangered by the trend toward a minority majority. A lot of white Americans who are really threatened are willing to reject democratic norms because they see it as a way to protect their status.”
Let me make the syllogism crystal clear: White Republicans fear the demographic rise of minorities, and they fear their resulting loss of status. Rejecting democratic norms in a bid to preserve that status, they refused to concede Trump’s election loss, and their representatives voted to keep Trump in power.
This is what you get when you try to impose a progressive world view upon an recalcitrant reality. Continue reading
by Kerry Dougherty
Polling is an inexact “science.” In fact, it shouldn’t be called a science at all. I say this as someone who graduated with a BA in political science and who always found the “s” word amusing when applied to my area of undergraduate studies.
We’ve seen polls that once the votes were tallied proved to be surprisingly accurate. And many more polls that were wildly wrong.
Here’s an example: in October of 2016 a poll conducted by the polling organization at Christopher Newport University purported to show an “even split” between supporters and opponents of extending light rail into Virginia Beach.
That proposed rail project was a boondoggle, pushed almost entirely by developers and their political cronies. It would have cost taxpayers an estimated $100 million a mile and studies showed the extended line would not alleviate traffic congestion in Hampton Roads. At all.
The poll was commissioned by 13 News, The Virginian-Pilot and Christopher Newport University. Results showed that 48% of likely voters supported light rail and 48% opposed.
Luckily, Election Day told a different story. The referendum to extend the rail project into Virginia Beach lost in a landslide: 57.09% to 42.91. Continue reading
Susan Beals, Commissioner of Elections Photo credit: Virginia Mercury
by Dick Hall-Sizemore
The Youngkin Department of Elections just recently began processing more than 107,000 voter registration applications dating back to last spring. This is after early voting had begun.
These applications involved residents who had registered through the Department of Motor Vehicles. The snafu is blamed on a computer “glitch” that caused “intermittent network issues within the Department of Elections” that resulted in the Department of Elections not picking up on the applications. No one in that office seemed to notice the sudden drop-off in “motor voter” registrations that began in May.
The result is that local registrars had bunches of new registration applications dumped on them during their busiest part of the year. The Chesterfield registrar suddenly had about 5,000 applications to process, for example; Henrico had about 4,500; and Hanover, 1,100. Continue reading
2018 Disability Voter registration at the Virginia Beach Director of Elections Office
by James C. Sherlock
Sometimes, government offices are better than you can imagine.
My wife and I cast early ballots on Thursday. We went to the Virginia Beach Director of Elections office at the Municipal Center. Everything about the experience was great, and better than it needed to be.
Now, an interruption in a communication link between the Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Elections computer systems was discovered by the Department of Elections.
First, good for the Virginia Department of Elections. A failure to discover this issue until closer to election day would have been a nightmare. Whining at that office was notable by its absence.
The Virginian-Pilot reports that more than 100,000 registrations and registration updates such as address changes were transferred to the Department of Elections system this week. No data was lost, but local registrars will have to process the new data quickly.
Virginia Beach Director of Elections Christine Lewis’ office is handling our 7,500 of the total. From the Pilot story:
“It won’t impact the operations of the voters,” Lewis said. “It’s just going to cause additional overtime that we weren’t planning for. But we’ll get it done.”
Another no whining zone. Continue reading
Governor Youngkin and incoming officers of Virginia Sheriffs Association Photo Credit: Virginia Sheriffs Association
by Dick Hall-Sizemore
This article is a follow-up to Jim McCarthy’s article on sheriffs. My main purpose is to provide some details and more context to the discussion of the position of sheriff in Virginia.
The sheriff is a “constitutional officer.” Article VII, Section 4 of the state constitution directs that in each county and city there shall be elected, among other positions, a sheriff. The provision goes on to say, “The duties and compensation of such officers shall be prescribed by general law or special act.”
The general powers of a sheriff include law enforcement, jail operation, court security, and service of process. However, state law authorizes cities and towns to establish any departments set out in their charters. As a result, all cities and most towns have charter provisions allowing them to establish a police department. Therefore, sheriffs in cities are limited to administering the jail, providing security in the courts, and serving process papers. Continue reading
by Craig DiSesa and Nancy Smith
“I’m just gonna have to step in. You need to stop saying, as a Board member, we are giving pornography to minors. … It does not happen!”
That was the reaction of Virginia Beach City Public Schools Superintendent Aaron Spence to School Board member Vicky Manning’s assertion that there are pornographic books in the Virginia Beach City school libraries. She was referring to books such as Gender Queer and Lawn Boy, which have illustrations that depict sexual acts between two individuals.
Superintendent Spence was quibbling over the definitions of pornography and sexually explicit material. The difference between the two phrases is such a fine line that it doesn’t matter what you call it. If you have seen any of these books, you will see they contain illustrations that are inappropriate for developing minds and will create tremendous confusion among adolescents and pre-adolescents.
Even more disturbing is that introducing this type of material to children is often a technique used by people who want to groom children. Essentially, schools are giving predators a gateway to sexually and physically abusing our children. Continue reading