A Few Pre-Electoral Thoughts

Autumn in Chesterfield County has finally taken on its dusky, orange and yellow beauty, just in time for tomorrow’s election which promises to be historic.

Early in the morning, I’ll go down to the rural Methodist Church, slide past the aggressive campaign workers, show my driver’s license and do my duty.

Here in largely white and Republican Chesterfield County, lawns are dotted with blue and white McCain-Palin signs. They far outnumber Obama-Biden ones but there are a few here and there.

There’s also a bit of tension in the air as the McCain supporters sense defeat. Virginia could very well go blue for the first time in decades. GOP conservativism here has morphed into a sense of entitlement in Chesterfield where rich neighbrohoods slip into the old, rural county. To have a nice house and an SUV seems to be a badge of membership in the GOP.

Yet, one can’t shake the nastiness. A few examples:

Not very far from me is the home of a retired African-American minister who is an Obama supporter. His large Obama sign in his yard was ripped down and a Confederate flag was placed in its spot. The police are investigating.

At the corner of a winding road that I travel to take my daughter to her school bus stop, a homeowner has placed a large McCain-Palin sign right on the edge of his property. It tends to block the view at the intersection where you stop at the stopsign. You have to pull your car out a bit to see past the sign. On at least one occasion, someone has taken a razor to the sign, but it keeps coming back.

Sunday afternoon I went to my gym. I was going to do the aerobics machines, then some weights and then a few laps in the pool. Some treadmills have little televisions over them — maybe seven in all. That day, there were two other middle aged men on machine. Fox News was on two monitors — ESPN was on the other.

I picked a treadmill near a screen with Fox. I dislike Fox News since I find its “fair and balanced” coverage anything but. I tried to switch it, but couldn’t. So I shut it off. After I did so, the other two middle aged guys started screaming at me, even though Fox was still beaming from another monitor.

I wondered: is it illegal to turn off Fox News in Chesterfield County? I understand from gym staffers that the TV conflict is especially bad in the early morning when runners one-up each other between Fox and MSNBC.

On Friday, I attended a luncheon at the World Affairs Council in downtown Richmond. The speaker weas the ambassador from France and at my table sat a woman who had recently arrived and was teaching international relations at Virginia Commonwealth Unuiversity. Her family had come from Spain but she had spent a good bit of time at Baton Rouge at Louisiana State University.

I asked her how she liked Richmond. Mixed, she said. When she arrived three years ago from Baton Rouge, she tried to register to vote. Each time ended with a frustrating failure. Finally she went to the main voting registration place. She was told that “We don’t want any illegal imnmigrants.” She told me: “I was outraged, I was born in the states.”

Odd. Here’s a woman, a U.S.-born citizen, with three graduate degrees. She’s obviously intelligent. And she has to endure racist discrimination for no reason. At least immigrant-bashing seems to have died down in the campaign.

But the season is still beautiful. And, tomorrow, I think there’s going to be a big change for the better.

Peter Galuszka

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20 responses to “A Few Pre-Electoral Thoughts”

  1. With respect to the hand-wringing about Virginia tending “blue” – especially so in the urbanized areas – I found this article a bit curious:

    “Diversity Blooms In Outer Suburbs
    Pr. William’s Growth Spurred by Minorities”

    Prince William County has become the most ethnically and racially diverse county in Northern Virginia as a profound demographic shift in the region is reversing half a century of white-flight suburbanization, according to a report by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission.
    In contrast, the inner suburbs of Arlington County and Alexandria, once considered gateway communities for immigrants, have lost minority residents since 2000, becoming more white and more affluent.


    this sort of runs counter to at least some of the conventional wisdom about the “bluing” of Virginia….especially so if the urbanized areas are morphing into affluent (white) mono-cultures band te suburbs becoming “diverse”.

    the other aspect of this is with respect to settlement patterns….

    ….”A seismic population shift has been sweeping across the entire southern rim of Northern Virginia where more affordable housing prices, like a powerful magnet, have been pulling households [to the outer suburbs] — predominantly immigrant and minority families which are either finding it too expensive to live closer in or are looking further out for a place they can afford to buy,”

    I note also.. that in Pennsylvania that the Republicans are crying that for some reason…the usually dependable suburbs of Philadelphia …are not as dependable this election… is this the same disease?

    Of course anyone who calls themselves a journalist can put together an article about something … doesn’t necessarily constitute a real trend; on the other hand, if this is an actual trend – it would seem to portend further problems for the packyderms in future Virginia and National elections.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Larry G.
    Good questions. We’ll see tomorrow.

  3. predictions?

    the election will be decided by:

    A. – early evening.. soon after dinner

    B. – late evening.. right before bedtime

    C. – into the A.M. hours

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    Well we all hope that that monument to incompetence,bluster and deception,Lawrence Haake, the Registrar of Chesterfield, doesn’t screw this up like he did in the primary.

    First order of business after this is why he hasn’t been fired.

  5. Ray Hyde Avatar

    This is a done deal. I just had occasion to see the mob trying to get to the Barack Obama rally in Manassas.

    It made the Nissan center mess look like a picnic.

    Traffic was backed up from Dulles to 66 on 28 and from basically the beltway to 28 on 66.

    I bailed out and went west on route 50 through Middleburg to get home.

    Left my office at 5:30 for an errand in Burke, then home.

    Total time in transit: 3 hours. Good thing I drive a Prius. I still averaged 47 mpg.

    If Warren Buffet favors Obama, that’s good enough for me.


  6. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    Early morning. Hampton Roads and other urban areas are slow at releasing their numbers.

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    Yes, tomorrow we will see who wins. If Obama wins then I can only HOPE that I’m wrong about him and his ideas … but I’m afraid I’m way too correct, which means this country is in for a nasty four years. Here’s to hoping that I’m wrong.

  8. Well, it’s 7am and I just now made it back home after my usual 6 a.m. voting habit.

    You might ask – “do you live a half an hour from the polling place?”

    and I would answer… “noooo, I live 5 minutes away”.

    In all of my years of voting, I have NEVER seen as many people waiting to vote as I did this morning.

    I stood in line for 45 minutes.

    I don’t know about other precincts… perhaps others can weigh in…but if my precinct is any indication…there is going to be a HUGE turnout today in Virginia.

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    To All . In swing states, We all have the right to vote I have read much today about some states are not prepared for the huge turnout, make them keep the polls open . Democrats ,You who voted early ,Or plan to vote early today return to your pooling placeAT LEAST A HALF HOUR BEFORE THEY CLOSE IMFROM PEOPLE DRIVI NG BUY THEY CAN VOTE TELL THEM THEY WILL GO TO THE FRONT . The pollls cannot close when there are voters waiting pass ahead of you the people who have yet to vote forward in line . They will have to stay open as long as there are voters waiting, Please lets not allow the G.O.P. STEAL another ELECTION. This is a very importent notice for voters in key swig states . Please let all votes be counted !!!!!!!!! We have the chance to fill one of Dr. Kings dreams and our idea of change. also if you have time cut and paste this on as many blogs web pages news papers tv as you can lets win lets unite the nation ! kiee1 minnesota.

  10. Anonymous Avatar

    Sorry this is a bit late but to answer your question

    Larry Arlington and Alexandria are turning more blue

    These are your young/rich/white/ northern (are some combination of the attributes) democrats

    Unlike the other main block of democrats (minorities) these democrats are liberal on social issues.

    There will be more and more tension on the social issues as this migration continues.

    Republicans need to tap into the social issues of many minorities i.e. african american and latino chirstians for example if they ever hope to win statewide again


  11. Anonymous Avatar

    Part 2 to Larry

    Read the second part of your comment

    Look at Loudoun, Prince William, and Henrico. There are all areas that used to be Republican and are switching to swing areas and in some cases going Democratic.

    These are also good counties to watch for how Virginia goes. I personally believe Obama will win Virginia and he will win all three of these counties


  12. Actually, the funny thing with affluent white people (Arlington and Alexandria yuppies) is that if you scream to them about paying more income taxes, they tend to respond.

    At this rate, in 20 years Arlington will be the heart of the Republican resistance in the Commonwealth.

    RE: turnout the only thing that is surprising is turnout is so high in a non-competitive election year, which probably reflects 1) how pissed off people are at bush and 2) everyone’s 401(k) has lost half its value in a month.

  13. Anonymous Avatar

    It was pretty easy voting in Delaplane, being so small and all.

    leaving the polls I aske a couple of elderly black women in front of me if they thought it was about time.

    With an impishh grin one of them turned to me and and said “Yassa, sho’ ’nuff is, sho’ ’nuff it is.”

    She cracked me up.


  14. Groveton Avatar

    Demographics are running full tilt against the Republicans in Virginia. What amazes me is that they don’t seem to care. Even though I think the whole political environment in America is a sham, I understand that those really in charge try to motivate both parties by creating a bit of a competition between the two apparently different (but actually the same) parties. Virginia’s Republicans are losing that competition by leaps and bounds. Do they even see this?

    Pandering to rural voters while ignoring the growth and change in NoVA coupled with the forlorn hope that urban RoVA voters will not vote is killing the Republicans. They got their butts handed to them in the last race for governor. They got spanked in the 2007 state wide elections. And they just don’t seem to get it. Virginia is well on her way to be as Democratic as Hawaii, Mass or Ca.


    The Republicans are so proud that they know they will lose but can’t compromise their values in order to win? Pleeeeasee…..

    They are incompetent.

    And that really is too bad. Because this charade of two different parties “competing” really is entertaining to watch.

  15. Groveton Avatar

    The elephant on the table.

    In business there is a term for something that is known but never admitted or discussed – it’s called “the elephant on the table”. The picture that is painted is meant to be a shocking thing that everybody sees but nobody admits to seeing.

    The quality of the Republican candidates on the Pres / VP ticket is today’s “elephant on the table” (pun intended). Putting policies aside – is John McCain really an equal candidate to Barak Obama? Is he as eloquent? Is he as energetic? Is he too old?

    In the last election the Democrats put forth a poor candidate in Kerry. Bush wasn’t much better but he was a little better.

    How did the Republicans end up with John McCain? After today, do they understand how much infinitely better off they would have been with Romney instead of McCain?

    John McCain is a fine man, a patriot, a war hero and a competent senator. However, I find it inexplicable as to how he was the best candidate for president.

    How does this happen?

  16. Anonymous Avatar

    Groveton – I agree with your comments about the inability of the Republicans in Virginia to tune into suburban issues. (But Obama still scares the sh_t out of me.)

    If I were Bob McConnell, I would campaign on bringing an adequate public facilities law to Virginia on a county-by-county basis. Let voters in each county decide.

    Over-development is the issue in NoVA. Of course, after the Ds change priorities in Washington, the decrease in government contracting might jump up there as a biggie.

    I think a candidate who has the stones to stand up to the development industry would carry NoVA regardless of party.

    My friend Springfield Supervisor Pat Herrity likes to say when is father, Jack, was chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, developers paid more for roads in Fairfax County than the feds, the state or the county.

    But, just as the GOP overreached, so too will the Democrats.


  17. Anonymous Avatar

    I’m a Dem but you can’t really sanely believe that Fox has not moved to being very critical of McCain while CNN and the suite of NBC channels and the Viacom channels (including the Comedy Network and its fake news) have all went hard Obama and what passes as left.

    What we have seen is that Fox and deregulation (there’s that word) that got rid of equal time has created a monster of outright advocacy in journalism. Print journalism always had this tradition but now it has swept television which uses the public airwaves. Oh well, enough tut-tutting. I’ll take the outcome and hope someone reforms this system.

  18. Ray Hyde Avatar

    Yeah, it was pretty amusing watching the conservative news shows trying to come up with something positive to talk about, like some delegate in Minnesota retaining his seat.

    Obama is going to have to gevern from the center of his party, wherever that is. If the party turns hard left, it will be hard for him to be a centrist.

    Backpedalling already, he said that this make take more than a year. It may be the understaement of the century.


  19. Anonymous Avatar

    Obama might not be tested for a while.

    Remember many of these house seats were won by conservative democrats.

    Also, the democrats aren’t going to reach the magic 60 number in the senate

    The test will come at some point however and it will be interesting to see when Obama chooses to stand up to his party and veto legislation out of congress or if that ever occurs


  20. Anonymous Avatar

    In all fairness to Fox, I have to admit they were professional election night and got the electoral changes faster and more clearly than the other networks.

    Peter Galuszka

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