by Joe Fitzgerald
Deep in the hills of Southwest Virginia is a state Senate district where nobody works because the coal industry is increasingly mechanized. The district has all or part of eight counties. In Northern Virginia is a county where nobody works because they’re all employed by the federal government. The county includes all or part of eight state Senate districts.
Every four years, national political writers combine this into a cohesive entity called Virginia and use it as a bellwether for the presidential election that follows the state Senate election by one year, every single time. The state’s economics and politics are shaped by, among other things, the coal industry and the federal government (see above). The state’s boundaries are shaped by rivers, a bay, a mountain range, and a southern line that’s straight except for a zig-zag south of Abingdon caused by a drunken surveyor.
Most of the national political writers don’t know that our districts were drawn by the courts, our counties and cities are separate entities, and our precincts are drawn by processes that vary by district, county, and city. And every four years, regular as clockwork, they write about how the General Assembly races will impact the ambitions of George Allen, Jim Gilmore, Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Bob McDonnell, Terry McAuliffe, or Glenn Youngkin for president, vice president, or U.S. senator. Continue reading