by Bruce Majors
CPAC2023 was noticeably smaller than CPAC has been in previous years, with a half-empty ballroom at the Gaylord National Resort on the shores of the Potomac in Oxon Hill, Maryland. It’s CPACtrophy.
Although you could see the Masonic Temple in Old Town, Alexandria from the Gaylord, there were few Virginia politicians. Former Congressman Dave Bratt and Lt. Governor Winsome Sears made appearances. Like Florida Governor DeSantis, Governor Youngkin was not a speaker. (Lots of Virginians crossed the bridge to attend and vote in the CPAC straw poll however.) Richmond radio talk show host John Reid was spotted at an ancillary event on Capitol Hill where Trump’s Ambassador to Germany, Ric Grenell, spoke before appearing at CPAC on a panel with Democrat Jennifer Palmieri of Showtime’s The Circus.
In 2010, one of the last years CPAC was held in Washington, D.C., at the Woodley Park Marriott, 2,300 registrants voted in the CPAC presidential straw poll. CPAC’s registration kept growing, its stated reason for moving out to the Gaylord, where 3,000 registrants voted in the straw poll in 2015. After spending a few COVID lockdown years in Florida, CPAC is back at the Gaylord on the Potomac waterfront this year.
This year only 2,028 people took the straw poll. This is only a proxy for registration, as some people may not have voted. But it is only two-thirds the number who voted in 2015.
There are fewer workshops and panels outside the main hall, and the main Potomac Ballroom is noticeably half empty.
A reporter acquaintance asked me about the low attendance and whether I thought it was due to the “Schlapp scandal.” I did not see this, but according to a Washington Times article, CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp was chased through the halls Thursday morning by reporters asking him about a $9 million lawsuit against him for a sexual assault. Continue reading →
The Barns of Mattaponi Springs
by Bruce Majors
Meeting in rural Ruther Glen in Caroline County, Virginia, Saturday, December 3rd, at a rustic venue (The Barns of Mattaponi Springs) that usually hosts weddings and Christmas parties, 54 Libertarian Party (LP) convention delegates from Richmond, Charlottesville, Newport News, Virginia Beach, Annandale, Arlington and other parts of Virginia met to elect new officers and update their party’s Constitution and bylaws.
Some readers may remember that back on September 11 at a Zoom meeting of the party’s state central committee the former party chair, Holly Ward of Alexandria, led a small group of state central committee members — there were a number of vacancies, it has since become clear that were likely left deliberately unfilled — to vote that the Libertarian Party of Virginia would disband itself. Democrat publications, like the Virginia Mercury, covered this gleefully, which some thought odd, as there is a popular belief that Libertarian candidates are spoilers who “take” votes from Republicans and help Democrats. (The conservative website Breitbart, for example, argued that the 2013 Libertarian gubernatorial candidate, Robert Sarvis, had thrown the election to former Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe, although this was disputed at the Virginia conservative blog BearingDrift.)
Perhaps Virginia “progressives” were happy instead that Ms. Ward was calling for dissolution because a new group within the LP, the Mises Caucus, had taken control of much of the LP (including the Libertarian Party of Northern Virginia, as we exclusively reported in Bacon’s Rebellion). The Mises Caucus opponents portray it as radically “alt-right.” Among Ms. Ward’s list of grievances with the allegedly new “alt right” Libertarian Party (under the management of the Mises Caucus) is that it allegedly opposes suffrage for women. Continue reading →
Boarded up store in Washington, D.C.’s chi chi Georgetown district. Photo credit: Washingtonian
by Bruce Majors
Mayor Muriel Bowser — elected to a third term in a June 21 primary where only 27% of registered voters voted, and only 14% voted for her — is lamenting the bus loads of illegal immigrants that Texas politicians are shipping to D.C. Apparently DC homeless shelters are full.
Maybe she should be happy though?
Walking along M Street NW from the Ritz Carlton Hotel in West End, past the Four Seasons in Georgetown, to the Francis Scott Key bridge that takes one to Arlington, Virginia, was usually a pleasant stroll through one of DC’s most upscale shopping districts.
But if you take this walk today, one thing you will notice is that every fourth or fifth storefront is closed, for lease, papered over, or boarded up.
When the city was still mask-mandated and locked down – and other towns and cities were on fire, marred by rioting, or occupied by “autonomous zones” – this might have seemed normal. D.C. isn’t locked down anymore. Yet Georgetown and other areas remain surprisingly vacated.
D.C. is shrinking. Continue reading →
Ken Cuccinelli. Photo credit: USA Today
by Bruce Majors
Ken Cuccinelli, the Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2013, spoke to a breakfast of conservative activists Wednesday, and expressed glee about Terry McAuliffe’s election loss.
“Terry beat me by two and a half percent in 2013, and Glenn Youngkin beat him by two and a half percent this year,” Cuccinelli said. “When I ran against McAuliffe he had no record, having never held office, and he hid, making the minimal amount of campaign appearances. He was the fresh face. This time his opponent Glenn Youngkin was the fresh face, and McAuliffe spent the campaign whining that he was releasing hundreds of pages of White Papers, but no one paid any attention. Except journalists, who are Democrats, but even they fact checked McAuliffe and said he was lying about his record.”
Cuccinelli’s most interesting remarks were in reply to a question from an Arlington first responder, who wanted to know what Governor Youngkin or the Virginia GOP would be doing about county vaccine mandates for government employees. Continue reading →
Ludwig von Mises
by Bruce Majors
Virginia had elections this week that garnered no media coverage: internal elections for offices in the Libertarian Party of Northern Virginia.
Voters and the media pay little attention to Libertarian and other smaller party candidates except when they poll well enough to look like spoilers. That happened in the 2013 gubernatorial election when Robert Sarvis won 5% of the vote, tilting the election, many Republicans believed, from their candidate Ken Cuccinelli to Democrat Terry McAuliffe, and in the 2016 presidential presidential campaign when Gary Johnson at one point polled in the double digits.
Libertarians played no such spoiler role in 2021, yet in off-year elections some 150 of them were elected to local offices across the country, mainly in smaller rural and suburban jurisdictions — doubling the number of elected Libertarians. (None were in Virginia.) Perhaps more significantly, Libertarians have been redefining themselves. In the past, the party had a left-leaning streak that stressed such ideas as legalizing all drugs, opening the borders to immigration, and eliminating taxes. Over the past year, though, the Libertarian Party has experienced an internal revolution led by a group called the Mises Caucus. Continue reading →
Teacher too white
by Bruce Majors
In the waning days of the election, as Terry McAuliffe slipped behind in the polls, his campaign message was: Virginia public school students are now 50% non-white while Virginia public school teachers are 80% white. Only electing Terry McAuliffe will fix this.
There are a number of funny things about this desperate last-minute messaging.
One wonders if Terry McAuliffe knows who these non-white Virginia students are. If you visit Virginia schools you will discover many schools with nary an African-American student. I’ve taught as a substitute in about two dozen public schools throughout Falls Church and Arlington County (adjacent to Fairfax and Loudoun Counties which are so much in the news today). At Hoffman-Boston Elementary, a school near the Pentagon that was historically an African- American school before desegregation, I had a 3rd-grade class with one student each from Chechnya, Saudi Arabia, the Dominican Republic, and China, and four from Mongolia. (There is a Mongolian immigrant community in south Arlington.) At Arlington Science Focus, a magnet school near the upscale Cherrydale neighborhood, the student body is majority non-white, with many Asian, North African, and Middle Eastern students, often immigrants. In Falls Church schools I would sometimes look out over a recess playground and realize that the second biggest demographic group, after white kids, were Sikhs.
What race of teacher would best “represent” in those classes? Continue reading →