Tag Archives: Chris Saxman

Virginia is the Queen Mother of Bellwethers

Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn

by Chris Saxman

Honestly, where does one start in trying to explain Virginia politics?

Wednesday’s leadership change by House Democrats should not be considered shocking. Democrats had very close contests for caucus control after they won the majority, so losing that majority would naturally jeopardize their leaders.

Suffice it to say, Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn has never had a firm grip on her caucus having won close leadership elections and she barely lost the vote Wednesday.

Just one vote.

Was Wednesday about the younger, more aggressive progressives making a move? Like most things in politics, it’s complicated, but Democrats nationally are losing the enthusiasm of younger progressive voters.

See my 2024 Electoral College Preview on the Democrats problem with younger voters. (AH – yes – the possible move by Joe Biden to forgive student loan debt.)

There’s more to the leadership change than age demographics. This likely came down to the simple fact that Democrats lost control of the House in November and had no clear plan to win it back. In fact, they could possibly lose even more seats this year. Continue reading

Was Virginia’s 2021 Election a Parental Pulse or a Silver Surge?

Walmart greeter Mikki in South Dakota is 99 years old.

Yes, education was a big deal but how about inflation’s impact on fixed income retirees?

by Chris Saxman

Results of a newly released study by TargetSmart, “a Democratic political data and data services firm,” suggest that we should rethink the conventional wisdom and push back on the social media/cable news narratives about the 2021 election.

NOW before everyone hits the reply button that because this is a Democratic firm and they are just trying to improperly turn the 2021 narrative to benefit Democrats in the upcoming midterms — just stop.

The news here is WORSE for Democrats for the midterms, but kudos to TargetSmart for following the data. As the old saying goes — in order to solve a problem, you first have to admit you have a problem.

Today’s Richmond Times Dispatch ran a Bloomberg editorial which provides context: “Piecemeal reform won’t solve U.S. retirement crisis.”

Yet many Americans face the prospect of great financial strain and even poverty in old age, because they lack the resources to support themselves after they stop working.

Continue reading

How’d Virginia Do in “The Great Pandemic Migration?”

Glenn Youngkin was right. Yes, Virginia, we have a problem.

by Chris Saxman

Most mornings start with brewing a large pot of coffee, letting the dogs out into the fenced in backyard, and waiting for the papers to be delivered. Usually I can skim through the local old soldier, the Richmond Times Dispatch, before the coffee finishes brewing. But that first magical sip of morning hits with the opening the Wall Street Journal.

Ahh….the splendor of predawn America.

I read newspapers in reverse by taking the sections and rearranging them in order to read as many articles as possible before doing battle with the editorial section. The Sports section is always first. It’s like stretching before a work out — not legally required, but strongly encouraged.

SO. Wednesday’s lead editorial headline in the WSJ print edition really grabbed my attention:

The Great Pandemic Migration

Boom.

The online version reads like this:

The Great Pandemic Migration
Census data reveal huge shifts out of the most locked-down states.

As Sheriff Buford T. Justice would say, “That’s an attention getter.” Continue reading

SHOCK Fox Poll — Youngkin +8? Outlier or Actual?

by Chris Saxman

Oh yeah.

That Fox News poll release last night created some noise. No sooner had that hit the airwaves than the phone started blowing up from around the country and Commonwealth. Glenn Youngkin was +8 (53-45).

What do you think? Is this real?

Naturally, Republicans were thrilled and Democrats dismissive. It is Fox News. The reactions would have been reversed were it a poll from MSNBC.

Today, the Washington Post/GMU Schar School Poll released their poll (McAuliffe +1 49-48) and it will likely receive the same partisan response. Republicans will dismiss it and Democrats will hail it.

Republicans will say it’s the Post AND Dwight Schar, for whom the school is named, supports Terry McAuliffe. Given the Fox Poll showing Glenn Youngkin +8, anything closer to a tie will be a response ray of relief for Democrats and another “See I Told You So” (SITYS) moment for the Republicans.

Rinse and repeat. Binary politics at its best.

But it’s gotten so bad this year for Republicans in Virginia that Democrats are complaining to me about how partisan the coverage is.

To which I reply :

Continue reading

Virginia Polls Tightening, 25 Days to Election Day

Home stretch momentum shifting. Independents breaking to GOP.

by Chris Saxman

Trying to make sense out of all the polls you are seeing on the Virginia gubernatorial race?

Start at the top. How’s Joe Biden doing? Hint: he’s never been that popular nationally except when the choice was Biden v Trump.

Terry McAuliffe said as much in this clip put out by the RNC:

Continue reading

Gubernatorial Debate Review with Winners and Losers

by Chris Saxman

Last night’s debate between Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin was more or less like the first one on substance – pretty much the same answers but perhaps a deeper, more clarifying look at those.

I don’t see a lot of votes changing from those who actually watched the debate but there were some notable moments which could be turned into ads that THEN might move the electorate.

This is what campaign consultants fear and desire about debates – there is so much on the line that they are just hoping and praying their candidate makes it out clean but also that the opponent creates an opening to exploit.

I predicted a tie, and on points it was just that. Therefore, given his strong first debate performance, Glenn Youngkin held serve by not losing. Terry McAuliffe was much better this time — less agitated and more at ease.

Princess Blanding, the Liberation Party candidate who has qualified for the ballot, disrupted the debate about ten minutes after kick off. Moderator Chuck Todd seemed unprepared for this and eventually went to commercial breaks. Continue reading

Wilder’s Take on the McAuliffe-Youngkin Race

L. Douglas Wilder. Photo credit: Wikipedia

by Chris Saxman

Yesterday I spoke with former Governor Doug Wilder regarding the recently released poll by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Wilder School on the 2021 governor race.

That conversation is one that I will remember for a very long time in that here’s a former governor who, at the age of 90, is still actively engaged in Virginia politics because he honestly just gives a damn about the future of the Commonwealth.

Good on him.

When he picked up the phone for our interview, I naturally asked him:
Governor, how are you today?

Without missing a beat came the upbeat and wise reply:

I woke up! It’s a good day!

My favorite quote from the interview was this:

Truth is not partisan. Continue reading

A Deeper Dive into CNBC’s Rankings

by Chris Saxman

In doing a deeper dive on the CNBC Top States for Business rankings, two quotes keep running through my unsettled mind.

Why unsettled? Well, last year I posed this question to Virginia FREE’s Board of Directors:

If Virginia was a stock, would you Buy, Sell, or Hold?

Not one said Buy. They all said Hold. Thankfully, no one said Sell.

So, the first quote comes from New York Yankee Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra who is now more famous for his Yogiisms than his playing. This one was an answer to a question about a famous New York City restaurant — was it still as good as it used to be?

To which Berra replied:

No one goes there anymore, it’s too crowded. Continue reading

Mamma Mia! CNBC Says Virginia #1 for Business, but Chief Executive Mag says #13.

by Chris Saxman

Beauty, the Greeks started saying back in 3rd century BC, is in the eyes of the beholder.

CNBC announced today that Virginia is the Top State for Business in 2021. That’s great news!

They rank their top 10 states: Virginia – North Carolina – Utah – Texas – Tennessee – Georgia – Minnesota – Colorado – Washington – Ohio.

Chief Executive Magazine in April ranked their top 10 states thusly: Texas – Florida – Tennessee – North Carolina – Indiana – South Carolina – Ohio – Nevada – Georgia – Arizona. Virginia comes in at #13 for them.

Wait…what?

13?

Forbes in 2019 had Virginia at #4 and US News had the Commonwealth at #7 back in March of this year.

If you take the four rankings and then rank those? (No, you don’t add and divide by 4 which would get Virginia to 6.25.) Continue reading

Reporting the Truth in the Post-Trump Era

by Chris Saxman

When I was a teacher of U.S. History and Government, I had only one rule for my students and it was that they think. I told them flat out:

I don’t care what you think – I care that you think. Time will take care of the rest.

Their thinking was dependent upon being able to access facts and alternative lines of thought so that they would be challenged to actually think deeply versus reacting emotionally.

Today, kids call that “adulting.”

In order for me to make 17th and 18th century U.S. History interesting for late 20th century high school students, I had to make it relevant to their lives. So, we would talk a great deal about current events and apply them back to whatever time we were discussing in our curriculum. In that way, our history would come alive for them and they would then dive deeper into their studies. Continue reading

The Primary Results — Explaining the Obvious

Tuesday’s big winner: Terry McAuliffe. Photo credit: The Washington Post

by Chris Saxman

There is no sense doing a deep dive on Tuesday’s elections results because there is not a lot of depth to explore.

Somethings are just obvious.

In the end:

  • Money talks and bullshit walks.
  • Challengers don’t win – incumbents lose.
  • The leadership of the Democratic Party of Virginia is firmly in control.
  • There was ZERO ideological shift in either party.
  • Base voters want fighters who can win. They are angry and want that anger represented. (Reminder – anger is fear based) Many vote Against rather than For.
  • Legacy media continues to lose influence on voter behavior as they become more partisan.
  • #1 data point from Tuesday? The similarity in Ralph Northam and Terry McAuliffe primary vote totals. 2017: Northam 303,531. 2021: McAuliffe 303,410. That’s the base of the Democratic Party of Virginia.
  • Destiny might be more geography than demography.

And here we go… Continue reading

John Warner’s Verse of Manner and Deed

by Chris Saxman

It’s not so much what you do, but the manner in which you do it.

John Warner has shown us, once again, that we really are better than we let on. The praise of Warner’s tenure as our United States Senator has been universal and consistent – John Warner was a great politician.

A statesman.

Virginia’s gentle man.

There have been many wonderful remembrances of him. Read them all.

After the news broke yesterday, I recounted my own with fondness, many smiles, and several laughs. That was a great trip down Memory Lane, but it wasn’t sad.

Then I remembered that I was having lunch with Frank Atkinson in just a few hours and that we would be nerding out on the life and times of John Warner. I mean Atkinson literally wrote the books about modern Virginia politics. Continue reading

Ranked Choice Republican Recap

Image credit: The UP Lab

by Chris Saxman

Well, the Republican Party of Virginia actually pulled it off. Their Ranked Choice Voting Unassembled Convention Through the Legs off the Backboard with Twist (which lasted lemme see…one… two…three…no, FOUR days) finally ended and ended well.

Not only did RPV manage to pull it off, but their statewide ticket of Glenn Youngkin, Winsome Sears, and Jason Miyares is the most diverse in the history of the Commonwealth. National Republicans are thrilled, but more importantly for the GOP, Virginia Republicans are united, well-funded, and energized for the 2021 campaign season. They also have a month head start on their Democratic opponents.

Since I attended the Phillies/Nationals game in DC yesterday, you’re probably going to read more than a couple baseball references. But since politics and baseball are so similar the references usually work, I offer no apology.

Like the movie Mr. Baseball starring Tom Selleck pointed out – every batter has a “hole in their swing.” That’s the place in the strike zone a pitcher looks to throw the ball because, for some reason or another, the batter just can’t hit a ball thrown there. Swing mechanics, stance, hands, hips, shoulders …. all create holes. The problem Selleck’s character had was not just a hole in his swing, but more importantly he had a hole in his attitude. His Japanese manager and the Japanese culture, filled those holes. It’s a fun movie with a nice storyline.
Anyway… Continue reading

Glenn Youngkin’s Good Vibes

by Chris Saxman

Over the last week and a half, I attended three Glenn Youngkin campaign events with three different women — my wife Michele and our two daughters, Mary Kathryn and Nora. It wasn’t intentional that I went to separate events with each of them, it just worked out that way. All three are college-educated suburban women.

While you might think that in our house we talk politics a lot and always vote the same way, I can assure you — we do not. Never have. I have always told our kids to vote for the person you think is best for the job. We compare notes afterwards. Michele and I have been the same way since our first political conversations thirty years ago. “Who did you vote for?” “Oh, okay.” “How about you?” “Oh, okay.”

The first event was at a local restaurant the Henrico GOP uses for its meetings in Innsbrook called Atlas 42. Good size. Clean. Plenty of room without being cavernous. Mary Kathryn and I went to check out the campaign of Glenn Youngkin. Continue reading

CNU Polls — Post-Trump Shift Happening in Virginia

by Chris Saxman

Folks, we have a ball game in Virginia.

Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center released another poll today and VPM’s headline captured the catnip as their headline writer wrote, “New Virginia Poll Shows Support for Progressive Ideas, but Not Labels.” It should have read “Virginians are centrists but like free stuff.”

In that VPM report (VPM is PBS/NPR’s new label – irony noted) is this quote from CNU’s Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo:

“Americans as a whole tend to lean conservative in their ideology,” Bromley-Trujillo said. “And this usually is kind of based on broad values, like liberty or small government. But when you get into specific policy proposals, then you see more support for Democratic policies.”

This is not new. This is also why we put the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on our kids’ credit cards. This is also why we fight incessantly over health care — everyone wants Mayo Clinic level care on their street corner, but no one wants to pay for it. Continue reading