My Side of the Fence

The danger isn't going too far. It's that we don't go far enough.

The results are in….

First things first: congratulations to the winners.  To the losers: thank you for being involved, it matters.  To the incumbents (win or lose): thanks for your service.  Our democracy doesn't work if people don't come forward to stand for election and challenge incumbents.  Keeping politicians honest and holding them accountable is crucial.

No doubt you'll hear alot about how Trump is responsible for the Republicans problems and, to a large degree that is true.  If this had happened in Iowa I might simply shrug my shoulders and agree – I don't know a lot about politics in Iowa but I do about Virginia.  This is a devastating turn of events for Republicans in Virginia.  

For the state-wide races, Governor, Lt. Governor and AG, I believe Trump was the determining factor.  Trump drove turnout against Gillespie.  In addition, Gillespie ran on a Trump platform but never really embraced Trump himself.  That half-measure didn't help nail down his base because they didn't believe his new-found Trump-ism……although I expect that if he had done a full-on Trump campaign the results would have been even worse.

But at the local level I think it's a different story.  Trump isn't entirely responsible for the Republicans loss at this level and, indeed, this wipeout was some years in coming.  The first time I ran for office, our area was already trending blue.  I ran as a moderate republican who was mainly interested in taxes, economic growth and immigration (which was a budget and crime issue at the time).  The first time I ran I was the top vote-getter.  The second time I was unopposed.  The further right candidates had trouble, cycle after cycle, getting higher than third place.  The same was becoming true of the House of Delegates and Senate elections.  Despite the gerrymandered nature of their districts, it was getting harder and harder for right-wing Republicans to hold on to power – even when they mounted vicious oppo-driven campaigns.

Why?  Well, I believe that Republicans failed to modulate their policy and messaging to reflect a changing electorate.  Bob Marshall is about as far right as one can get and he was crushed by the first transgender candidate in VA.  Bob, and many other republicans, insisted on calling Danica "it" or "he" and that dog whistle crap didn't work.  Danica stuck mostly to illustrating a lack of results on Mr. Marshall's part and it was the right tactic.  Mr. Lingamfelter, who barely won reelection last time, really didn't try anything different and the result was predictable.  Mr. Miller, well, he got thumped by a guy who I didn't think fits the district but the margin was decisive. 

Now, no doubt some of these marginal candidates who won election will get rolled in the next cycle – that happens with some regularity.  However, I would urge my friends in the Republican party to do some soul-searching and come up with new policy initiatives, messaging and candidates that reflect the reality of the electorate present in their districts.  This electoral result will generate more credible candidates on the democrat side and republicans are going to have to work hard to win.  A new approach to policy would be good – or even having a policy approach that candidates are able to articulate would be a good start……I'm always here to help.


  1. It will be interesting to see what happens when Centerist Manassas and Right-of-Center Bristow realize they didn't elect a traditional Democrat. Lee Carter is a proud socialist, and according to this insidenova article, plans to boldly push for socialist principles. Will Carter pull the entire district to the left, or will the district pull him toward the center? If his statements are any indication, I believe he will try as hard as he can to push a socialist agenda. For this very reason, I think the 50th will be a swing-district. I may be wrong, but I don't think Manassas quite ready to become Cuba.

    Is our delegate determined to be the Left's Bob Marshall, who will frequently clash with his own caucus to push an ultra-left agenda?

    If I can give Mr. Carter one compliment, it is that he appears to be quite honest and genuine in his belief that Socialism is what we want, even if we don't know it yet. Upon learning that Mr. Carter had served honorably in the Marines (Happy Birthday, Marine), a very surprised friend asked me for my opinion, as I too am a Marine veteran, having served as both an enlisted Marine, and a commissioned officer. My friend asked me, "how can a Marine be a socialist?" I reminded her that Lee Harvey Oswald had served in the Marines, and was a communist (what we used to call socialists).

    For better or worse, we will get the government we deserve. At the very least, it will be interesting.

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