Tag Archives: Chris Saxman

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.



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

Did Joe Biden Just Cost Virginia Democrats 47,000 Votes?

by Chris Saxman

Full disclosure on this one: I hate cigarettes. I have never smoked one — ever. When I waited tables and tended bar, the worst part of the job was cleaning ash trays. And that includes the time I had to break up a bar fight after which the teeth swallowing loser had a tracheotomy performed on him.

Today’s front page of the Wall Street Journal had this article : Biden Administration to Seek Ban on Menthol Cigarettes Tobacco industry indicates court fight is possible over move, which would take years to implement. Going through the courts gets around the legislative process — again.

In the article one finds this nugget that should get the attention of any observer of Virginia politics:

In the U.S., 84% of Black smokers and 47% of Hispanic smokers use menthols, compared with 30% of white smokers, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health data. Continue reading

Will Virginia Republicans Rebound This Fall?

by Chris Saxman

Virginia is just 38 short days away from its first statewide nomination as the Republicans are finally set to pick their candidates for the Big Three — Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General on May 8th in an “unassembled convention.”

Sticking with the date of May 8th is the smartest decision the Virginia GOP has made this year, as it gives them a 31 day head start on likely Democratic nominee, former Governor Terry McAuliffe.

And they need it.

As Ward Bond’s Father Lonegan says to open one of my favorite movies, “The Quiet Man”:

“Well, then. I’ll begin at the beginning.”

It has been 512 days since the Democrats won the majority back from twenty years of Republican control of the House of Delegates. In just 223 days, Virginia’s citizens will decide if they merit a return to power. Continue reading

Yuck. Virginia Politics Need a Car Wash.

Spray ‘er down, buddy.

by Chris Saxman

Spring in Virginia politics is like the daily pollen car wash. It’s that morning muck that cakes up the windshield worldview.

This is when political campaigns send out unmitigated crap attack ads that make no sense but try to instill just the tiniest element of angst and fear in order to generate a negative response towards an otherwise decent person.

The Virginia GOP dominant majority in General Assembly actually managed the Commonwealth well over the last twenty years as it had to work with a Democratic governor 75% of the time. But eventually, the engine of innovation wears down. They could use some of the Ideas Retreats of the past vs. conventions which boil down to who is more pro-gun, anti-gay, or anti-abortion. As if there are no other issues that matter to Republican convention goers.

On the other hand, we have many Democratic candidates who seem content on coming up with Elizabeth Warren-level of detail in their policy proposals. Continue reading

Last Week in Virginia Politics

by Chris Saxman

Just another big week in Virginia politics.

Or as my wife often says, “Jiminy Hootie!”

On Tuesday, I sent out some early observations of our Candidate and Issue Surveys of the Republican and Democratic fields for the top three statewide offices in Virginia’s government.

In those top line observations, I saw that the race for the Democratic nomination for Attorney General could be an upset in the making in that rising star Delegate Jay Jones was performing well against incumbent Mark Herring. Recent polling showed that the name ID of Jay Jones is very low but Herring was only in the low 40s on the ballot question.

That was a red flag since Jones had a name ID in the low single digits. 50% undecided for a two term incumbent Attorney General? Not good, Maverick…this is not good.

Our survey — yes, not a poll — shows Jones performing very well. Hence, the Upset Alert. Naturally, I immediately got some texts saying “No way. Not going to happen.” etc.

Continue reading

Paid Leave and Paid Sick Days

by Chris Saxman

In a recent column called Hitting the Cutoff Man, I explained the need to work with the business community if you want to solve problems in our economy. I used the famous “There’s no crying in baseball!” scene from A League of Their Own.

The lesson was, if you have a goal in mind, the business community can be a strong ally in getting done in policy and politics what you are trying to achieve. We are here, like the cutoff man in baseball, to relay the throw home.

The Richmond Times Dispatch recently published two editorials that deal with issues relating to employment policies in Virginia — paid sick days and paid leave — that are being considered in legislation currently before the Virginia General Assembly. While certainly well intended, both op-eds fail to make their point. In doing so, they will likely unite business leaders and various trade associations to oppose their objectives.

It doesn’t have to be this way if they would just hit the cutoff. Successful politicians learn that politics is not about what you want, but rather what you are willing to give up to get what you want. Continue reading