From Blue Virginia at the end. Without dispute, he is best Democratic turnout generator in history.
By Steve Haner
You know Virginia has changed when being labeled a socialist by your opponent is less damaging than being labeled a Republican.
That’s the opening line for my short essay on what happened November 5, which as far as I can tell has already been analyzed 345 other times in various publications, including several times here on Bacon’s Rebellion. Most of the authors have never written or executed a campaign plan. But I said I’d share my thoughts.
The bottom line is Democrats had a message about what their election would mean for Virginia. Republicans then ran against that message, amplifying it substantially, and thereby assured a huge turnout of the most liberal Democrats. At the same time, Republicans offered no message to turn out their own less-motivated supporters or excite their potential donors, state or national. They certainly offered no vision to woo swing voters. Continue reading
By Steve Haner
“Do you actively support efforts to reduce corruption in government?”
Of course, any candidate presented with that question will reply yes. What do you expect? “No, I’m quite passive about corruption in government. Live and let live.”
That was one of the softball questions on the Clean Virginia candidate survey form, which will be taking on added significance given the number of Clean Virginia-funded and endorsed candidates who were successful Tuesday. You can read the full questionnaire here, and potential 2021 candidates are advised to print it out and start a file on coming roll call votes. Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
Virginia is a blue state now. Not only do Democrats occupy all statewide elected positions — two U.S. senators, governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general — with yesterday’s election, they control both houses of the General Assembly.
Republicans got their booties kicked. And the butt-stomping is not likely to subside. The Dems will control the next redistricting, which will cement their dominance of the legislature. Auguring well for the blue team in the future, the fastest-growing region of the state, Northern Virginia, now is pure blue with bits of purple on the exurban fringe. By contrast, Republican strongholds in rural Virginia have shrinking or stagnant populations. Also favoring Democrats in the long run is the increasing percentage of racial/ethnic minorities in the state and the declining percentage of whites.
Republicans need to re-define who they are and what they stand for, or they will become a permanent minority. News reports say that dislike of Donald Trump drove Democratic voter turnout, but the Blue Tide is much broader and deeper than voter animus of one man. Take Trump out of the equation after the 2020 election, and Virginia Republicans still have a huge problem.
Can the Republicans re-calibrate? I certainly hope so, because I’m terrified of the Democratic Party agenda of $15 minimum wage, spiking the right-to-work law, a damn-the-torpedoes-full-speed-ahead rush to a 100% renewable electric grid, spending and taxing, taxing and spending, and injecting its grievance-and-victimhood agenda into the consideration of every issue. But Republican priorities on culture war issues — guns, abortion, transgenders — are not winning issues statewide. As long as Republicans remain captive to its rural/small-town base, I don’t see how it can reinvent itself.
What does a rejuvenated Republican Party look like? (Or, if the GOP is incapable of reinventing itself, what does a successor party look like?) Continue reading
By Don Rippert
Massacre. The Republicans in Virginia have once again been shellacked at the voting booth. Republicans went from controlling both the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates to controlling neither. It appears that Democrats will be the majority in the senate by a 21 to 19 count and will control the house with a 55 to 45 margin. There is still some uncertainty with a few races but nobody thinks the Republicans will emerge from that uncertainty with control of either chamber. The Democrats will control all aspects of the state government – Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, state Senate and House of Delegates. The fact that this rout occurred while the Democrats’ top leaders were mired in blackface scandals and forcible rape allegations only adds to the enormity of the Republican failure.
Blame game. The blame game has already begun. It was Trump’s fault. Or the Yankees in Northern Virginia. Or George Soros. Or the so-called RINOs who have infected the party. In short, blame is being placed on everybody and everything except where it belongs … on the leadership and policies of the Republican Party in Virginia.
Trump. Republicans have been losing ground across the state for far longer than Donald Trump has been president. In one state wide election after another the Republicans have lost. The last Republican to be elected governor won the election 10 years ago Virginia has only had one Republican governor in the last 20 years. Given that governors can’t stand for immediate reelection that record is truly dismal. Continue reading
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: Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
I was saddened to hear that former Governor Jerry Baliles, a moderate, pro-business Democrat, passed earlier this week. Man, oh, man, I miss him.
Virginia Democrats have begun fantasizing about the left-wing agenda they will pursue if, as they expect, they take control of both houses of the General Assembly. Guns, abortion, and the Equal Rights Amendment are high on the list of priorities, reports the Virginia Mercury.
I’ll let others fight the culture-war battles. What most worries me are the economic issues — $15-per-hour minimum wage and a repeal of the Right-to-Work law. If enacted, those two proposals would eviscerate the economy of rural Virginia. You could package them as the Rural Virginia Job Destruction Initiative.
What a long road the Democratic Party of Virginia has traveled in the three decades or so since Baliles was governor. A Richmond attorney who was born and raised in Patrick County, he had a foot in both urban and rural Virginia. As a Democrat, he was comfortable using the power of the state to pursue his agenda, but it was a pro-growth, pro-business agenda. He raised taxes to bolster transportation spending. He championed K-12 education and, recognizing Virginia’s role in a globalizing economy, emphasized global studies in the schools. He also led numerous overseas missions — more than any other governor before him, if I recall correctly — in the quest to bring foreign investment to Virginia. Continue reading
by Jay Timmons
Residents in the Richmond area are represented by three Republicans in the state Senate with very different views of Life and Family. All three will be on the ballot Tuesday.
When it counted, Siobhan Dunnavant stood strong for children and the unborn. But sadly, Glen Sturtevant and Amanda Chase chose discrimination and bigotry over Life. Sturtevant and Chase acted as charlatans who sent a very clear message with their votes that our son did not even have the right to exist.
The bill, HB1979, which Dunnavant supported and Sturtevant and Chase callously voted against, is also known as “Jacob’s Law,” and was inspired by my son and the horrific four-year legal battle that my husband Rick and I endured in an out-of-state court. The bill was simple – eliminate discrimination in Virginia’s parental rights laws for children born through surrogacy so that all intended parents are treated equally. The bill brought laws on surrogacy in line with those that existed for adoption in Virginia. Most importantly, the bill – which is now law thanks to bipartisan support – means more frozen embryos can be rescued and saved from potential destruction. Continue reading
Money (And Hypocrisy) In Politics
By Steve Haner
The following is one of my “revise and extend” follow-up posts, this one adding detail to an exploration of the raging attacks on Republican efforts to offer alternative health insurance plans. You can read the original post on the Jefferson Policy Journal.
Not many months ago, it was a safe bet that by late October the campaign attack ads would focus on utility contributions. There is still time for that to appear. Dominion Energy clearly expected that, as evidenced by a full page, very defensive advertisement in Wednesday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch. Then there is its most cloying television ad yet.
You’ve seen it, of course – the lovely young lady whose Daddy is a deployed Dominion employee. Instead of wearing a U.S. Army or Blue Star cap, she sleeps and poses for school pictures in his Dominion Energy hat. Now, how could a company engendering that kind of love and loyalty be misbehaving?
With elections two week away, a Virginia Commonwealth University poll released today finds that Virginians are evenly split in their preference for Democrats and Republicans to control the General Assembly. Forty-seven percent of the 800 adults queried said they wanted to see Democratic Party control while 47% favored Republicans.
Self-described Democrats and Republicans gave near-unanimous support for their own parties. Independents were nearly even split, giving a narrow edge to Democrats. What should encourage Republicans is the fact that VCU polled 800 adults, not registered voters or likely voters. Likely voters tend to skew more heavily Republican, especially in off-year elections, than the general populace. But Democrats have a big fund-raising advantage, and they most likely will dominate advertising in the closing two weeks of the campaign.
I had written off the Republicans. They seem adrift, offering no cogent alternative to Democrats. Meanwhile, the Dems are raising more money. Further, I’ve seen no sign that suburban women — the decisive swing vote in the last election — have relented in their detestation of Donald Trump, suggesting that the Democratic surge of 2017 would continue into 2019, even though this is a local election, not a national election. But what I don’t know about politics could fill a Loudoun data center, so my prognosis doesn’t count for much. If the election is going to be as close as the VCU poll suggests, the election will come down to individual personalities and individual races. I might even stay up election night and watch the results come in.
By Steve Haner
What Was Lost Is Found Again. Couldn’t they wait at least another few weeks? Anybody foolish enough to believe that Dominion Energy Virginia and the Virginia Democratic Party establishment have really parted ways (as Jim Bacon seemed to think a while back), take note of this from today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch: Governor Ralph Northam’s new communications director, Grant Neely, is totally plugged into the Dominion Energy/Richmond’s Navy Hill/Mark Warner and Bob Blue nexus. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but certain Democrats just about any time you want.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
The P in PJM Now Joining RGGI. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has signed an executive order that his state should be the next to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. According to this from The Philadelphia Inquirer, the executive order route comes after being rebuffed by the legislature. It is a strong first step but not a done deal, with litigation one possible route for opponents. Virginia’s on-hold membership will likely be determined by the General Assembly elected next month.
“You Only Pay For What You Need”
By Steve Haner
As the state campaign debate rages about health insurance plan which are short term or less comprehensive than the Affordable Care Act, two on-going national ad campaigns may cross-pollinate the debate. They are bolstering the Republican position nicely.
The first are the spots with people saying they are worried about the various Medicare for All proposals. They express concerns about a more expensive one-size-fits-all approach. Well, isn’t that exactly what Democrats like Senate candidate Debra Rodman and other others are demanding in Virginia? One size fits all? In several districts they are attacking Republicans who voted to allow lower cost alternatives that didn’t offer all ACA features. Continue reading
The silly season is in full swing. Stop believing (in fact, maybe stop reading) the political trash coming into your mailbox, inbox or showing up online. Television you already know not to trust, right? Someone told me that political ads have invaded streaming services now, which is depressing.
It was Democratic senate candidate Debra Rodman’s television ad attacking Henrico County Senator Siobhan Dunnavant that sparking this post. I was really put off by the opening, where Rodman expresses her respect for Dunnavant’s medical skills, and then claims the obstetrician has “forgotten” what it is like to be a patient. “Wow, that’s pretty nasty,” was my first thought. It gets worse. Continue reading
by Don Rippert
Your General Assembly in Action (or inaction). The Coalition for Integrity (C4I) has rated the political ethics enforcement approaches of the 50 states. Virginia’s ethics enforcement is so weak that it is one of seven states that cannot be rated. This should not be surprising to anybody who regularly reads this blog. The other un-ratable states are Arizona, Idaho, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming. The Coalition for Integrity acknowledges that Virginia has two ethics boards (Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council and the Virginia House Advisory Panel) but finds that both have “Limited or No Power”. As the Center for Integrity states in its general recommendations, “A toothless ethics agency serves no purpose. Agencies need wide powers to investigate and sanction all government personnel. Currently, seven agencies have limited or no investigative or sanctioning power.” Of course Virginia is one of the seven. Continue reading
The RGGI states, with New Jersey, which rejoined in June.
by Steve Haner
With an eye on November 5, Virginia’s Republican legislators are expressing their concern for Virginia’s electricity customers and warning that their Democratic competitors will support a new energy carbon tax if they gain the majority. The carbon tax is a key element of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
In media releases and, of course, Tweets, the simple message is “Higher Taxes on Energy. Democrats Say Yes. Republicans Say No.” The key evidence provided is State Corporation Commission staff testimony (here), first made generally available on Bacon’s Rebellion, and a recent summary on the issue I wrote for the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy (here). We took a stand against joining RGGI.
That RGGI white paper has been in process all summer, and it was pure coincidence that it surfaced just as many Democrats were showing their concern for consumers by opposing a higher profit margin for Dominion Energy Virginia. Continue reading