by James C. Sherlock

Karl Marx

Socialism and communism are so 19th and 20th centuries.  

Under socialism, individuals would still own property. But industrial production, which was the chief means of generating wealth, was to be communally owned and managed by a democratically elected government.

Socialists sought change and reform, but sought to make those changes through democratic processes within the existing social and political structure, not to overthrow that structure.  Socialism was to be based on the consent of the governed. Communism sought the elimination of personal property and the violent overthrow of existing social and political structures.

So what has changed for today’s progressives who have taken over the Democratic party, especially in Virginia? 

A lot.

First, Industrial production is no longer the primary means of generating wealth. 

Second, the left no longer needs violence to overthrow the existing social and political structures.  

Third, that consent of the governed thing is out. Tell the voters what they want to hear to get elected and cover up everything they don’t. Then make massive changes to government and society that were never the subject of the political discussion during the run-up to the election. Then lose the mid-terms, but who cares?

It is a well worn playbook. Just a couple of years in power is all they have ever needed.

Once in control of the executive and legislative branches of government, radical progressives can overthrow basic governing structures through hyperactive executive orders, legislation, regulation, taxation, licensing, permitting and, in schools, control over student and teacher evaluations and thus their lives. All can be and are used as forms of control and of destruction of opposition to Leftist political dogma.

Virginia, which shifted in 2019 from decades of Republican control to Democratic control of the constitutional offices and the General Assembly, has turned into by far the most active laboratory to watch those changes in action.

Pack the Courts. The Virginia Court of Appeals set to get six new judges. All at once. All Democrats. “This bill is certainly not motivated by a desire to add judges,” said Del. Rip Sullivan, D-Fairfax, during a committee hearing last month. Good to know.  

Change election laws. The Democrats hold as their ultimate goal the old saying – one person, one vote, one time. Once in power, they change the voting rules and, as soon as possible, will at the national level change citizenship rules to flood polling places with “new” voters. Those whom they presume to be Democratic voters.  

Photo ID’s – racist. Certain races must not photograph well. Felons; illegal immigrants; out-of-state college kids in Virginia schools? Just seeking access for all.

Virginia Democrats in 2020 and again this year made extensive changes to Virginia’s Election Laws.  

  • Voter ID required, Yes. Valid photo id required? Not any longer, even though they were provided for free by the state. See 2020 HB 19 and SB 65 – Voter identification; repeal of photo identification requirements. Effective date: July 1, 2020. A voter can present a copy of a current utility bill containing the name and address of the voter as a sole and valid identification for voting.
  • Want to pack the Board of Elections? See 2020 HB 236 and SB 856 – Elections, State Board of; increasing membership and terms, role and eligibility, report.
  • Mail in voting for students. 2020 HB 232 – Mail voter registration application forms; distribution to certain public and private institutions. Effective date: July 1, 2020
  • A felon and want your voting rights restored? Gov. Northam restored voting rights to 69,000 former felons in a single action.

Deny permits to shut down energy supplies. 

Want to prevent increased use of natural gas? No need for a law. Drag out the pipeline permitting process as long as it takes to make the projects economically unfeasible.

Write motor vehicle regulations out of sight of the public. Want everyone to drive electric cars? Do it by regulation, not a law on which the General Assembly would have to vote. Allow the State Air Pollution Control Board to set emissions standards and allow them to take money from private interests who may have a economic dog in the fight. See HB 1965, which has been signed by Gov. Northam.   

And the “best” part, don’t let the public comment on the new regulations.  

“2. That the regulations required to be adopted by the State Air Pollution Control Board pursuant to §10.1-1307.04 of the Code of Virginia, as created by this act, shall be exempt from the requirements of the Administrative Process Act (§2.2-4000 et seq. of the Code of Virginia). Such regulations shall become effective upon filing with the Virginia Registrar of Regulations.”

Transform schools into leftist dogma indoctrination centers. 

Get them early. Want every kid to learn and regurgitate the tenets of Critical Race Theory? Check out Albemarle County. The county’s official statement on curriculum and instruction  reads:

“The Board and Division shall implement an anti-racist curriculum and provide educational resources for students at every grade level.”

With a vengeance.

Parents of children in Albemarle County Schools report that this year’s course work, homework and tests fully integrate Critical Race Theory and require its regurgitation by teachers and students. Not just history, but Spanish homework and tests, math homework and tests, the entire curriculum. 

Freedom of expression and inquiry are gone. Hostages are taken: the futures of students, teachers and principals are put at direct risk if they do not kneel at this Marxist altar.  

In their zeal, the Albemarle County School Board in February of this year made two budget changes.  

  1. They banished police School Resource Officers and replaced them School Safety Specialists (called coaches); and 
  2. imaginatively retitled Critical Race Theory as Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) and made it a required certification credential for all teachers.  

The six “coaches” would not be armed nor have the authority to arrest people, but

“They’re going to establish themselves as part of our school culture by being an active and front-facing change agent through caring and problem-solving with the staff and the kids that they serve,” said Kevin Kirst, the division’s executive director of special education and student services.

High probability Kevin learned that in graduate education school. Gang-bangers beware.

Those two changes increased the budget by $650,000 a year. No problem. 

Hyperactivity and crisis leverage. The left, always hyper active, floods the zone with everything on their agenda all at once, knowing that calm consideration allowing time for reflection is not in their favor and people can’t follow it all, even if the press reported it.  

Every goal is turned into a crisis need. 

Anything that does not support their agenda, like child trafficking and drug smuggling at the border and public safety in Virginia streets, is not only not a crisis but also is not a proper subject for discussion — and racist to bring up.

Then there is the ultimate black swan, COVID. Democrats redefined COVID response in terms of their agenda and Democratic governors like Ralph Northam tried to take control of everybody, everywhere, 24 hours a day. They could not hide their delight in ruling by decree. Emmys were awarded. Book deals.

Return to normalcy was never what the Democrats wanted, especially before the election, and they played games with even the smallest restorations of Constitutional freedoms as if they were gifts that were theirs to give. The Virginia Supreme Court was complicit. That continues today.

What to do. The culture, academia, many large corporations, big tech and most media are marching ever leftward in lock step. The only way to stop it is at the ballot box.  

Virginia Democrats hope their massive intervention in the voting system will produce enough new, ignorant and grateful voters to strengthen their majorities while friends in the media cover for them.  

Virginia Republicans hope the people have seen and understood enough to revolt at the polls.  

Parents of school children of all races and ethnicities have seen what is happening in the public schools both with the in-person teaching bans and the introduction of CRT dogma. Those same parents saw their neighbors’ kids in Catholic schools since August without significant issues.  

Businesses small and large have been jerked around and severely damaged or destroyed by Northam’s combination of incompetence, narcissism and political goals. Unfortunately his combination of traits was not unique among Democratic governors.

The people watched Gov. Northam stumble through his embarrassing press conferences as the media played along and Virginians suffered beyond his imperial gaze. As for the competence of his administration, the less said the better.

Republicans believe that the media lies, refusal to ask hard questions, ignoring of stories that don’t support their narrative and their all around Democratic cheerleading will not mask that.

We’ll see.

Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


24 responses to “Virginia Democrats Govern in the Service of Dogma and Power”

  1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    Wow! There is so much wrong and misleading here that I am not sure where to start. Let’s look at some of these claims.

    1. Industrial production is no longer the means of generating wealth. I agree with that. It has been the case in this country for many years. The way to generate wealth is to manipulate the financial system–hedge funds, private equity companies, etc. But how is that the fault of Democrats? And, this is pure capitalism, not socialism or Communism. I don’t understand why this issue even got into this discussion.

    2. Left no longer needs violence to overthrow existing social order. Isn’t that a good thing–no violence?

    3. Consent of the governed is out. What? Who did away with elections?

    4. Massive changes to society that were never the subject of political discussion. Please provide some specifics to back up this charge. As I recall, Democrats were very clear during the election campaigns about what they wanted done.

    5. Pack the courts. A favorite straw man of the right. The expansion of the Court of Appeals is not a court-packing scheme. The judicial system asked for this expansion. It was argued that, because the GA had changed the law to provide an appeal of right to every litigant, the workload of the Court of Appeals would increase significantly and thus the membership needed to be expanded. See my earlier post here:
    6. Changing the election laws to allow more people the opportunity to vote. Using contradictory arguments here. First you argue that the consent of the governed has been destroyed and now you argue that too many people are being allowed to vote. One of the main hallmarks of the Byrd machine and conservative politicians in Virginia was limiting the size of the electorate. Yes, the new crop of Democrats is trying to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to legally vote. In other states, Republicans have been pretty frank about why they oppose such measures–the more people that vote makes it more likely that Republicans will lose.

    1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
      James Wyatt Whitehead

      What about education Mr. Dick? I am not convinced the policies from Mr. Northam or the GA are going to help our schools? Why can’t I use my electric bill receipt to board a plane? Why can’t I use my retired LCPS badge to buy a six pack? Why can’t I use my old VPI student card to rent a car from Hertz? Why can’t I use my Fauquier Library Card when I get pulled over by the state police? An Adult ID photo card from DMV accepts 14 forms of identity for legal presence, a social security number, and 2 forms of Virginia residency. It costs 2 dollars. Why is that such a barrier to voting?

      1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
        Dick Hall-Sizemore

        I have expressed my dismay at the low reading scores of the state’s fourth graders. But, the failure to take steps to improve the teaching of reading predates Northam and the Democratic majority in the GA. However, I do not see any actions by this administration or the GA to address this problem, either. As for all the other actions regarding education (CRT, evaluations, etc.) that have been complained about on these pages, you have pointed out that most principals use their common sense.

        As for ID for voting, one of the requirements for a DMV ID care is proof of identification and legal presence. Of the three acceptable documents in this category, a birth certificate is the most common. (The others are a passport or U.S. naturalization certificate.) To most of us, this would not pose a problem. However, as I understand it, in some communities, especially among older populations, people do not have their birth certificates and, for some, they may not exist. Some of these people may have been born in another state and getting a copy of a birth certificate from another state is not a simple task sometimes. We have gone many years without any ID requirement for registration or voting, without any major scandal.

        1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
          James Wyatt Whitehead

          “We have gone many years without any ID requirement for registration or voting, without any major scandal.”

          You are right about that Mr. Dick. The photo id requirement is a relatively new incarnation for Virginia. Virginia cannot go the way of 15 states such as California. All you have to do is show up and announce a name on the rolls in those places. No ID whatsoever.

          I thought this was interesting:

          The 2020 election saw more registered voters than ever before in Virginia. 73% actually voted, yet 1.5 million registered voters failed to vote. Why? It was so easy to do last time around. For governor elections the turnout is in the 40-50% range. Go back to the 1990s and earlier you find 80% plus turnouts for president and 60% plus turnout for governor. More registered voters now but a decline in turnout. I would like to know why so many Virginians who can vote do not vote. This has been going on for a quarter of century now.

          1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
            Dick Hall-Sizemore

            If your turnout percentages are related to the number of registered voters, the earlier high turnout rates were probably related to a smaller base (i.e. registered voters). Like you, I would like to know why that many people did not vote in an election that was so high profile.

      2. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        Why is it necessary? If any of the 14 will do, why is yet another necessary, $2 or free?

        “We have streamlined the processive of receiving a voter ID card. Simply present a valid voter ID card.”

    2. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      1. What? I’ll have the Captain know that Indonesian children are getting quite wealthy assembling my Nikes. Just do it! No really, kid. Shut up and just make my shoes. You can be a kid in the next life.

      2. Of course it’s a good thing. Look at 01/06. Beats 09/11. It was “us”, not “them”.

      3. All elections are rigged. Just ask Sydney Powell, she’ll tell you. This is why Legislatures must be able to vote on whether to accept the results ala 01/06 and the new GA Voter “Rights” laws. Of course, why would any majority party accept the election that makes them a minority? Result? One party. Works in, uh, um, Russia.

      The new Renaissance Man has spoken, Dick. Warrior. Physian. Educator.

  2. “The culture, academia, many large corporations, big tech and most media are marching ever leftward in lock step. “

    Given the lockstep alignment we’ve seen among corporations re: Georgia’s voting law, it’s fair to say both sides are aware that material power has shifted behind the political left.

    But both sides assure their voters this doesn’t matter — “it’s just a battle of ideas.” The political left can’t admit they function as an appendage of well-to-do professionals, and the right simply doesn’t want to believe that corporate power is abandoning them. These are the two most crucial self-deceptions in modern American politics. Both stem from the same foundational error — that kulturkampf is blind to material conditions. It isn’t.

    James, the leftists of Albemarle and Fairfax aren’t socialists — they’re a ruling clerical class operating in their own self-interest. And what would a gentry of letters want? More bureaucracy, more academic hopscotch, and above all the centering of political life on cultural tokens and lifeways materially inaccessible to anyone lacking a six-figure income.

    And under the same lens, digital-driven revolutionaries in the hinterlands and inner cities aren’t Maoist cadres waiting for the bugle’s blow — they’re social strivers aping the culture of their betters with the limited means at their disposal. In every land in every age, it’s cool to be an elite.

  3. WayneS Avatar

    “Virginia Republicans hope the people have seen and understood enough to revolt at the polls. ”

    And that’s about all they do – hope that people are fed up with democrats.

    But they should remember what my old dad used to say (still does, actually):

    “Hope in one hand and sh!t in the other; see which one gets full first.”

    Until the republican party of Virginia offers voters something more than “the democrats are totalitarian socialists and we are not”, they will most likely not win back control of anything in Virginia.

    “Hoping” isn’t going to cut it.

  4. Posted on behalf of Steve Emmert:

    I’ve just read this piece on the Democrats’ agenda. I saw this paragraph, in which he wades into my swimmin’ hole, the appellate courts:

    Pack the Courts. The Virginia Court of Appeals [is] set to get six new judges. All at once. All Democrats. “This bill is certainly not motivated by a desire to add judges,” said Del. Rip Sullivan, D-Fairfax, during a committee hearing last month. Good to know.

    I may be wrong about this, but I interpret his last sentence as being sarcastic; he perceives that it truly is about adding judges. This proposal comes from three nonpartisan bodies (including the Boyd Graves Conference, of which I’m a member and a past conference chair). The need to bring Virginia into line with the rest of America isn’t partisan; it’s a basic access-to-justice issue.

    The Republicans who have criticized this bill – which the Governor signed last Wednesday, so it’s happening – realize fully that their complaints are meritless. Here’s a passage from a recent story from Virginia Lawyers Weekly, the newspaper of the legal profession here in Virginia. The reporter is quoting Sen Bill Stanley (R) of Moneta, near Smith Mountain Lake:

    Stanley acknowledged that a “court-packing” accusation from fellow Republican Kirk Cox, the former House speaker now running for governor, was essentially a “political ploy” to “mess with the Democrats.”

    “Ultimately, I think it’s going to be good for Virginia,” Stanley said of the court expansion plan.

    The senator’s remarks came in a legislative presentation at the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association’s annual convention ten days ago. The point is that the Republicans know that the expansion plan is overdue, and they certainly know that the Democrats don’t owe Republicans any more deference in judicial selection than the Republicans afforded Democrats before 2020. It’s deliberate misdirection designed to persuade those who are ignorant of the situation. And the Court of Appeals is already packed: Republicans have put ten carefully selected Republicans on it, and now they object to the Democrats’ power to put seven presumptive Democrats on it.

    1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
      James Wyatt Whitehead

      “Republicans have put ten carefully selected Republicans on it, and now they object to the Democrats’ power to put seven presumptive Democrats on it.”

      Yes indeed. That is the way it works. I think they call it a clap back now. What else can Republicans do when they are out of power and on the sidelines?

      1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
        James C. Sherlock

        Apples and oranges. Republicans replaced judges who left the bench. Democrats are expanding the bench in one big move.

    2. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Who was the Chinese warlord who suggested accusing your enemies of your own tactics?

      Read Justice Lewis Powell on packing the courts and using business donations to takeover the universities and colleges.

      1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
        James C. Sherlock

        Now idiots on Twitter have taken over the businesses from their mothers’ basements. See Major League All Star game.

      2. James C. Sherlock Avatar
        James C. Sherlock

        Now idiots on Twitter have taken over the businesses from their mothers’ basements. See Major League All Star game.

    3. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      Sorry, counselor, but spare us.

      I note that your practice focuses exclusively on appellate advocacy in Virginia’s appellate courts. You are talking your book.

      First, let’s dispose of the “Republicans did it too” argument. Republicans replaced judges when they needed to be replaced, usually upon retirement. Democrats want to expand the number of judges. All in one fell swoop. Nice try, but apples and oranges.

      Second, I have never met a lawyer who didn’t think there should be more judges, and I never met an appellate lawyer that didn’t think there should be more appellate judges. I suspect partners, especially in large firms, bill a lot more hours on appeal to the Appeals Court (or to Circuit Court) than they do for circuit court cases, don’t you counselor?

      You quote Bill Stanley to show the bi-partisan bona fides of your position. Bill Stanley is, wait for it, an attorney.

      Kirk Cox is a school teacher, and his personal income does not depend upon more judicial appeals.

      The way I understand the law, broadly stated, the attorney in a circuit court trial must allege a reversible error in a defendant’s case, usually in court, and file a timely appeal.

      In order to overturn a verdict, he or she will have to prove that the client’s rights were violated or the case was mishandled.

      – Instructions were not given to the jury correctly or the judge made some other reversible error.
      – Evidence was not submitted properly.
      – There is evidence of juror misconduct.
      – The client’s lawyer was incompetent or ineffective.

      The last example is particularly intriguing.

      So I presume that the appellate bar thinks justice is going to hell in a hand basket in Virginia Circuit Courts, requiring more appeals to the Court of Appeals.

      Or perhaps more likely it wants more appeals currently denied because the brief was nonsense to be instead heard in the Court of Appeals. Billable hours.

      Or perhaps the Virginia appellate bar finds the trial bar suddenly awash with incompetent attorneys?

      Or am I missing something?

  5. DJRippert Avatar

    For what it’s worth, I’ve been calling this flip to blue for some time on Bacon’s Rebellion. I’ve watched in dismay as the Republicans in Virginia have been either too incompetent to see the coming reality or too deeply rooted in their “plantation elite” philosophy to be willing to do anything about it.

    Back in 2018 I wrote a column saying that the Republicans had a chance to make the one move that would have helped – dramatically water down Dillon’s Rule in Virginia. This would not have returned Virginia to Republican control. It would have allowed the many conservative areas of Virginia to have more autonomy and greater freedom to live as they choose.

    For years Republicans in control were just fine with Virginia’s ridiculous state constitution and large inventory of bad laws that over concentrated power in the General Assembly while making it very hard to replace incumbents in that General Assembly. Yet even the self-proclaimed Gods and Goddesses of the General Assembly retire, die and are forced out through redistricting. The scales have been tipping for a long time. Republicans told themselves (and anybody else who would listen) that “carpetbaggers” from “Yankee states” moving to Northern Virginia were the problem. When long-time conservative Henrico County flipped they failed to adjust their absurd thesis.

    Now they wonder if Amanda Chase might be the solution.

    You can’t fix stupid.

    However, they could have fixed the structure of our government to enough of an extent to allow conservative areas in Virginia some self-autonomy.

    To their ever-lasting shame they failed to do that.

    1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
      James Wyatt Whitehead

      Mr. DJ did you see this graphic from VPAP concerning the RPV convention. Very interesting. Rural Virginia is putting both thumbs and their big toes on the scale. Mighty Franklin County has more votes in the convention than Richmond. It is the strangest concocted way to pick a candidate.

  6. William O'Keefe Avatar
    William O’Keefe

    Virginia’s drift to the left has one reason. Democrats have had better candidates. The Republican Party has been in a state of disarray for several years. This year’s clown show of how it was going to select candidates is the latest example. It tries to engineer conventions so that its chosen candidates prevail. Support better candidates, encourage competition, and hold primaries and the result maybe a General Assembly that actually reflects the real values of Virginians.

    1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      I agree 100%

    2. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
      James Wyatt Whitehead

      In 2017 there was a Republican primary. The result was a near split between Stewart and Gillespie with Ed winning by a narrow margin. It seems the RPV did not like the outcome of the primary process. That wasn’t a problem in 2013 with Ken C. being the only declared candidate still standing, no primary needed. The same is true with Bob M. back in 2009. In 2005 Jerry Kilgore faced little competition against George Fitch and Russ Potts. I miss George and Russ. Kilgore easily won that primary. In 2001 no Republican primary, Mark Early loses to Warner. No primary for Gilmore 1997 and Allen in 1993. You have to time travel back to 1989 to find a primary that featured a close one between Coleman, Trible, and Parris. The nominee, Coleman lost to Wilder. It seems the the RPV doesn’t like the outcomes of primary’s and prefers picking candidates in a controlled and insular manner. The inside process has produced winners such as Allen, Gilmore, and McDonnell. But it has also produced losers such as Early, Kilgore, and Gillespie. That strategy may not work in the 21st century. Back to the drawing board if there is failure in 2021.

      1. William O'Keefe Avatar
        William O’Keefe

        There is no evidence that what worked in the past will work in the present or near future. The history that you lay out is not encouraging. The state party doesn’t seem able to get itself well organized with a well thought out strategic plan. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is insanity.

        1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
          James Wyatt Whitehead

          I am with you Mr. O’Keefe. Guys like you and I are going to have to push the RPV in a direction that will fit this century not the last one. Not sure if they really want to hear from us though. That club just wants our vote.

Leave a Reply