Category Archives: Politics

Virginia Elections: Endanger Kids, Lose Your Seat

by Kerry Dougherty

I tried to warn you that kids would get hurt. I tried to warn the governor.

On February 2, 2020 we published “Insane Bill Will Endanger Kids” after Democrats in the General Assembly passed HB257, reversing a law that had compelled school principals to report cases of sexual battery, stalking, assault and battery and threats against school personnel and schools themselves.

What could possibly go wrong when the very people with an interest in making their schools look safe — principals — were allowed to sweep crimes under the school desks?

I begged the governor not to sign this pile of legislative fecal matter, but he did on March 12.

Of course he did. This is just one more part of the left’s soft-on-crime, perps-first agenda.

Now this: At least two girls were sexually attacked in Loudoun County public schools and the alleged rapist was transferred between schools. The public only found out when the outraged father of one girl went public. Continue reading

McAuliffe Tries to Change the Subject

by Kerry Dougherty

Lemme get this straight, a band of far-right fanatics held a rally in Glen Allen Wednesday night and the governor of Virginia held a press conference the next day to demand that GOP candidate for governor Glenn Youngkin denounce them?

News flash, Gov. Northam: Youngkin wasn’t there. It wasn’t his rally. He had nothing to do with it.

Nice try, though.

At this point Ralph Northam is nothing more than a lame duck political hack trying to breathe life into Terry McAuliffe’s lackluster campaign. Never mind that during the 2019 Blackface Scandal McAuliffe told Northam to resign.

That’s just shoe polish under the bridge now. Continue reading

Redistricting: Breakdown!

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

The redistricting process has broken down here on the eve of the deadline of the Virginia Redistricting Commission to report to the General Assembly.

The divisions and distrust are so deep that the members could not agree even on which maps to use as a starting point in session on Friday.

When the Commission last met last Saturday, it ended the day with Republican- and Democratic-drawn maps for both the House of Delegates and Senate. During the first part of this week, it conducted eight virtual public hearings. The goal for today was to adopt one map for each house to report to the General Assembly by the deadline on Monday. Continue reading

The Rise of the Political Class

Image credit: Facebook.com/ControversialFiles

by James A. Bacon

Yesterday I noted polling of the race for governor in which Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin showed remarkable strength among minorities — 25% support from Blacks and 55% from Hispanics — along with a shrinking majority of Whites. That poll might have been an outlier, so I don’t want to make too much of it. But, if it is a fair representation of popular sentiment, it lends credence to the idea that American politics is undergoing a seismic realignment, and we’re seeing that realignment here in Virginia.

For most of my life, Democrats were viewed as the party that stood for the interests of the “working man” and minorities, especially Blacks. Republicans were seen as representing the interests of the overwhelmingly white middle and moneyed classes. That’s rapidly changing. Increasingly, the Democratic coalition encompasses a highly educated White vanguard allied with the “marginalized” elements of society against the interests, represented by Republicans, of the broad working class and middle class regardless of race or ethnicity.

The key to understanding this transfiguration is what I have referred to often as the “political class” — most recently in a post headlined, “Parents and the Political Class.” In that post, I suggested that the aims of the political class were antithetical to the interests of the middle class.

In the comments, Bacon’s Rebellioncontributor Dick Hall-Sizemore asked me what I meant by “political class.” It’s a reasonable question. The meaning is not self evident, but understanding the nature of the political class is fundamental to comprehending the deep structure of society and politics underlying the daily headlines. Continue reading

The Party Realignment Accelerates

by James A. Bacon

Brandon Jarvis, author of the Virginia Political Newsletter, sums up the latest Emerson College/Nexstar Media poll of the Virginia gubernatorial election. Democrat Terry McAuliffe leads Republican Glenn Youngkin by one percentage point, with two percentage points undecided. Yes, it’s a tight race, but the demographic breakdown is what’s most interesting.

McAuliffe leads with women 51% to 45%, while Youngkin leads with men 50% to 46%. McAuliffe also leads among Black voters (72% to 25%), while Youngkin leads among White voters (53% to 45%) and Hispanic voters (55% to 45%).

Wait, what? Youngkin garners 25% support from Blacks? He gets 55%, an outright majority, among Hispanics? But his lead among White voters has shriveled. When was the last time a Republican candidate got such numbers?

It looks like a major political realignment is going on. Despite Democrats’ fervent efforts to portray Republicans as the party of racists, it is apparent that a lot of minorities are not buying the message.

What is the new fault line in Virginia politics? I’ll have more to say about that tomorrow.

— JAB

Virginia Beach: Will Cronyism Make a Comeback?

by Kerry Dougherty

Do you ever find yourself longing for the days of rampant, in-your-face, shameless cronyism in Virginia Beach?

Ever wish the Three Amigos were still on city council fetching water for their favorite developers?

Ever miss the days when the city’s business was conducted in secret with public votes just for show?

You may be in luck. Virginia Beach City Council is picking a replacement tonight for long-time Councilman Jim Wood who suddenly quit last month because of business demands.

Among the candidates is Linwood Branch, one of the Three Amigos, a trio of council members who were exceptionally developer-friendly. In fact, my former column-writing colleague, Dave Addis, once referred to Branch as a “goat boy” for the developers. Continue reading

Redistricting: Incumbents, Open Seats, and Partisanship

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

Most General Assembly incumbents are resting easier. The Democrat and Republican map drawers took their guidance from the Virginia Redistricting Commission seriously and drew district lines putting most incumbents in districts with no other incumbents.

As discussed in an earlier post, the Commission members interpreted Virginia Code language as requiring it to protect incumbents as much as possible. That language prohibits the production of plans that, on the whole, “unduly favor or disfavor” a political party.

The extent to which the lines were drawn to protect incumbents is not obvious on the maps that have been made public. However, the map drawers, while presenting their recommendations on Saturday to the Commission, were able to turn on an overlay in their software that showed the precise location of each incumbent’s residence. A large number of those little dots were very close to district lines or nestled in an area that suddenly bulged from one district into an adjacent district. Continue reading

Redistricting: Impasse?

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

The Virginia Redistricting Commission started its meeting on Saturday with the goal of reaching a preliminary agreement on one draft map for the House of Delegates and one draft map for the Senate in anticipation of public hearings scheduled to begin on Monday. Six hours later, the meeting was adjourned with the members at a near impasse.  There was no “integrated” map for either house and the members had trouble agreeing on how to proceed to the public hearings.

Continuing the approach they had been using in the past, there was a House map developed by the Republican map drawer and one by the Democratic map drawer, each incorporating changes suggested by the Commission members in earlier meetings. During their review, they made some progress, even tweaking some lines in the Lynchburg area and some involving Pittsylvania, Henry, Patrick, and Floyd counties.  The problems arose when they began considering Hampton Roads and the Richmond area. Continue reading

Youngkin V. McAuliffe

Photo credit: Fauquier Now

by Kerry Dougherty

No one who knows my political leanings would expect me to watch a debate between Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe and declare the Democrat the winner.

And I’m not going to do that.

But I was worried before the cameras rolled. I’ve met McAuliffe. I’ve seen him work a room. The guy Larry Sabato once dismissively called “a bag man for the Clintons” can be rather charming.

That Terry McAuliffe was not on stage last night.

In his place was a man who was positively Nixonian: angry, dour and rude. He engaged in name-calling – repeatedly calling Youngkin “clueless” – and yapped incessantly about Trump. Continue reading

The Public Schools’ Crisis of Legitimacy

by James A. Bacon

Virginia public schools are facing a crisis in legitimacy. Never in recent history have parents been so up in arms. This morning I published three columns submitted by readers, all on the subject of the dismaying disconnect between educators and parents in K-12 schools. I did not solicit them. Readers sent them in. The educational melt-down is not just on my mind, it’s on their minds.

The column by Arthur Purves below sums it up well. It’s one thing to soak taxpayers to support public schools. It’s another thing to tax them for inadequate student achievement. It’s another thing yet again to increase taxes on middle- class families to indoctrinate their children with antithetical values.

Not all school districts are equally contemptuous of middle-class values. Schools in Northern Virginia and Virginia’s other major metros are the worst. But they are cheered on by a state educational apparatus in Richmond that seems intent upon using schools to implement a social revolution that portrays “whiteness” as a form of oppression and promotes offensive sexual values. Continue reading

Redistricting: Incumbents, Race, and Prisoners

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

The most recent meeting of the Virginia Redistricting Commission was marked by tension over the two most sensitive issues—incumbency and race. The meeting was supposed to be dedicated to viewing efforts of the two sets of partisan map drawers to come up with a single map for the Senate districts upon which they could agree. Instead, it was spent largely going over ground that had not been resolved regarding the development of majority-minority districts.

Mackenzie Babichenko, the co-chair whose turn it was to preside, started off the meeting by announcing that, in compliance with the statutory requirement of “political fairness,” incumbent addresses had been released to the map drawers. She went on to say that the map drawers had been advised that they could consider the data in drawing districts, but political fairness should have the lowest priority of the various criteria they had been given to consider. Continue reading

Redistricting: the First Stab at Statewide Maps

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

The Virginia Redistricting Commission started out by dividing the state into eight regions. Its original plan was to proceed with drawing House and Senate districts, region by region, starting with Northern Virginia. That quickly proved to be inefficient, slow, and impractical.  Last week the map drawers  were instructed to produce statewide House and Senate maps. As part of their guidance, they were told to “respect” political subdivisions as much as possible, while adhering to the compactness and equal population requirements.

Today, they produced those maps for the Commission members, and the public, to view and comment on. I will use one county with which I am familiar, Halifax, to illustrate two aspects of the redistricting process: how different, legitimate approaches can produce different results and the partisanship dilemmas. Continue reading

Rules Are for the Little People: Terry McAuliffe Edition

Terry McAuliffe violated federal mask-wearing regulations while traveling on an Amtrak train this summer, as seen in photos obtained by Fox News. The Democratic Party candidate for governor, who has urged others to wear masks, spoke maskless on a cell phone while walking through Union Station and boarding a train, according to the passenger who snapped the photos. Continue reading

Forced Unionism Is Back on the Menu

by Shaun Kenney

First things first. Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin’s internal polling has him showing a slight lead against Democratic former governor Terry McAuliffe 48-46.

What Afghanistan giveth Texas shall taketh away…

Yet with the 2022 Generic Ballot showing the environment at D+0.3 at present? Those numbers can only improve Republican hopes moving forward, as new polls indicate that both Winsome Sears and Jason Miyares are building on their existing leads.

Even National Review is getting in on the game as Virginia Democrats are debating whether or not to double-down on defunding the police:

Vulnerable Democrats in the House of Delegates seem to share Youngkin’s intuition about crime and the political consequences of their party’s record on the issue, and are feverishly working to reverse themselves as a result. Continue reading

Redistricting: Let the Lawsuits Begin!

Sen. Travis Hackworth (R-Tazewell) Photo crecit: Steve Helber/AP

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

The first draft maps had not been drawn when the first lawsuit challenging Virginia’s redistricting process was filed.

Sen. Travis Hackworth. R-Tazewell, along with several other plaintiffs, is challenging 2020 Virginia legislation that required, for redistricting purposes, prison and jail inmates to be allocated to the population counts of the locality of their last known address, rather than to the localities in which the prisons and jails in which they were incarcerated, as had been the practice in past years. (That legislation was the subject of an earlier BR post.)

Because most prisons are located in rural areas, by shifting their populations to other areas of the state for purposes of the population totals used in redistricting, the lawsuit claims that the change will politically weaken rural areas.

The basis for the suit is unusual. The defendant is the newly constituted Virginia Redistricting Commission. The Commission was established through voter approval of a constitutional amendment approved in a 2020 referendum. The court petition claims that, because the legislation dealing with how the Commission should treat prison populations during its redistricting efforts was passed by the legislature and not approved by voters in the referendum, the legislation is invalid. Continue reading