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The Virginia legislative results, an anomaly, or the beginning of a trend?

The Virginia legislative results, an anomaly, or the beginning of a trend?

What does it all mean?

I wasn’t very concerned about yesterday’s Virginia gubernatorial election results, because I figured that Northam (D) would win and it probably had more to do with Gillespie (R) being a poor candidate than anything else, plus I consider Virginia a purple state becoming ever more blue.

But the results in the state legislative races—and the fact that, as of this sitting, the Virginia House may be poised to be controlled by Democrats for the first time in many years—is particularly unsettling. The magnitude of that victory was unexpected and represents a big change; prior to this election the GOP held an approximately 2-1 majority there.

What does it all mean? I don’t have my finger on the pulse of Virginia politics, but from what I’ve read today in various blogs and newspapers, neither does anyone else, although there’s no dearth of theories.

Regarding the governorship, I’ve read that it’s about Gillespie’s RINOism and failure to support Trump; all RINOs must go! I’ve read the opposite—that it’s a rejection of Trump, and anyone who allies with him (as Gillespie ultimately did) will fail because the people hate Trump. Needless to say, those two things are diametrically opposed—although in my more pessimistic moments I suspect that both of them are correct, reflecting the potentially fatal split in the Republican Party.

It’s difficult to get an idea of whether the Virginia House really will end up flipping to the Democrats as a result of yesterday’s vote, but indications point in that direction. At least, it’s a strong possibility:

Virginia Democrats have picked up 10 House of Delegates seats and lead in seven more races, putting them within striking distance of taking the majority in the state legislature.

Democrats needed to flip 17 seats heading into Tuesday to retake the majority. And while the gubernatorial contest between Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie has dominated national attention, the 100 seats in the state’s House of Delegates could end up being the true bellwethers to gauge Democratic Party’s strength ahead of the 2018 midterms.

In the same article, the Virginia Democratic House leader calls it a “tsunami,” and points out that a Democratic victory of such magnitude hasn’t happened in the state since 1975. What’s going on here? My guess is that it mostly reflects two things. The first is the changing demographics of Virginia (particularly the DC-adjacent north of the state), increasingly favoring Democrats. The second is that the Democrats put out a highly organized drive to turn out the vote in yesterday’s election and may have caught the Republicans of Virginia unprepared and flat-footed. For example, there’s this sort of thing.

And then there’s the felon factor. It’s difficult to know how much difference former governor McAuliffe’s restoring the right to vote to 200,000 felons made, but it’s highly likely that the majority of those votes were for Democrats.

The Virginia elections are not an isolated phenomenon, either. If you look at special legislative elections held in other states during the last few months, you will see something that starts to look like a trend (the following was written in September of 2017):

Of 35 special elections for state legislature since President Donald Trump’s election, Democrats overperformed in 26, meaning they did a lot better than expected, given how Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton did in the same district last fall. In one Oklahoma seat in May, Republican Zach Taylor squeezed out a 50-48 win against his Democratic opponent, Steve Barnes – even though Trump won the district by 50 points last November, indicating Barnes should have lost by much more.

And upcoming races later this month and into November could put Democrats on the path of retaking state legislative bodies. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is optimistic about a Washington state Senate race in November that – if it flips from red to blue – will give Democrats control of the chamber. Democrats already have control of the state House and the governor’s office. The party sees important pickup opportunities as well in Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Minnesota and New York’s state Senate, a chamber now narrowly controlled by Republicans.

The races matter because state legislatures are making a great deal of policy where Congress has been unable to reach agreement. State legislatures will also be redrawing congressional districts after the 2020 U.S. Census. And the contests also provide a political window into how congressional candidates are positioned next year, experts say.

The article goes on to note the Democrats are far more enthusiastic this year than Republicans, and candidate recruitment is high in the Democratic party. Trump-hatred appears to be a powerful motivator for them, and they want payback for November of 2016, whereas Republicans are feeling angry at legislators of their own party, or at best tepid.

It may seem odd—in fact, to me it does seem odd—to take out one’s rage against a party’s US representatives by failing to turn out to vote for your local, state representatives of that party. But that may be the way it’s working, at least for now. The foot-dragging contentious GOP Congress needs to take note, and start acting in a more unified manner, or they may find themselves the minority party in Congress once more. Their window of opportunity is now down to one year.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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casualobserver | November 8, 2017 at 8:59 pm

Since Obama was first elected I’ve seen an ever increasing number of post and comments from people who identify as conservative that take the position that the best form of protest is to stay at home. It seemed really prevalent when Romney won the nomination,and it’s my observation it hasn’t slowed.

So, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that many GOP voters in VA stayed home because Gillespie was not good enough. The growing “purity test” for conservatism plays a roll, too. It’s not a critique of those people, rather a criticism of candidates who may not do enough to get those votes.

    It’s not a ‘purity’ test. Trump would fail that test.

    It’s a FIGHTER test. Gillespie was just another squishy Jeb! RINO that mouths what he thinks conservatives want to hear and has no intention of actually fighting for any of it.

    Romney was just like him. Sure he mouthed the correct lines but at the end of the day simply didn’t fight for his alleged principles.

      I concur with the fighting part. It is what I love most about Trump. But one’s strength can also be one’s weakness, he is easily baited by his opponents too.

      I want to see more baiting of Democrats.

    brightlights in reply to casualobserver. | November 8, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    When you have a congress that does nothing or worse, acts more like the democrats… When you have Trump nominating an open borders zealot for for the DHS seat… When all the time, effort, emotions into it and it seems like a total waste…

    Things like make it very easy to say “let all of it burn” and stay home. You can elect someone but nothing ever changes.

    yourmamatoo in reply to casualobserver. | November 9, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    So Conservatives stayed home because they were too cowardly to come out & vote for a rino.
    Better not hear any complaints from them. They obviously don’t mind their gangs & dem corruption.
    They made their bed…

Trump’s response in Charlottesville did not help. He should have denounced violence and then shut up. Save the battle for Confederate monuments for later, if at all.

I do not think Donald Trump or Bannon are racists. But it is dangerous ground to hamfistedly sound like you are defending neo-nazis and white supremacists.

It is more complicated that that alone. Gillespie did not motivate the base and the left was highly motivated. Plus adding 50,000 felons to the voter rolls and lots of new immigrants to VA favored the Democrats.

But the lesson here is Trump needs to get the GOP fired up with him to accomplish stuff and expand his tent.

    SDN in reply to EBL. | November 9, 2017 at 7:29 am

    Remind me again, which side followed the law by getting a permit…. and which didn’t? 100% of the blame for that incident rests on the governor and mayor, who wanted to trigger the violence exception to the First Amendment and deliberately refused to enforce the law or do their duty so they could.

      I agree. But which party won in Virginia, a few days ago?

      Did Trump’s comments help in any races in Virginia? It doesn’t appear so.

      I am not saying Virginia is a bell weather for the rest of the country, but it is a bell weather for blueish states. It is also an example of what damage Democrats can do by manipulating a state like they did in VA.

      I do not think it is all gloom and doom, but we should be taking this very seriously. Ultimately if the GOPe can’t work with Trump over the next year, we could lose the House.

It means, “calm down, and stay the course.” Virginia is a democrat stronghold. Even clinton won it in 2016.

Our enemy is not the fascist democrats – it is their silent partner, the GOPe.

Destroy the GOPe, and support Trump like your freedom depends on it.

First of all there was thousands of illegal voting which made a huge effect on the results.
Where the heck is the voter fraud commission?
Second, Trump did absolutely nothing wrong on his comment s about Charlottesville, which was a set up by the Governor, mayor and BLM to effect the violence they ended up with.
The Left will never stop the lies, the fake news , never…

We have to fight for every inch and yes, Republican voters are stupid

We must continue to fight back hard each and every day.

Gillespie should have asked for Trump to come on in and campaign with him. He should have embraced Trumps polices from the get go, he didn’t…

I hope this doesn’t bite us in the a$$, because they can’t wait to try to impeach Trump for having won in 2016…

o, here’s the math: Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate for governor of Virginia, won nine out of ten votes among Virginians who approve of President Donald Trump. He lost nine out of ten votes among those who disapprove. He lost by nine points.

That’s pretty mordant, and it may be inaccurate on close scrutiny.

But it’s also something the GOP better consider.

Mark Levin noted tonight that T-rump LOST Virginia in both primary and general. So there was just no T-rumpian mojo that could have availed.

    healthguyfsu in reply to Ragspierre. | November 9, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Rags, your evidence does nothing to show a repudiation of Trump as this has everything to do with the shifting demographics of the state to yet more flooding of the polls with NoVA voters.

    Trump lost VA by a fairly large margin. He never carried it…this is not a repudiation of Washington as much as a continuation of painting this once great state blue thanks to DMV swamp creature spillover.

    There’s plenty to be pissed off about in Washington, and there’s certainly “space to repudiate” (to play on a Baltimore politician tagline), but the causative factor at the forefront is much sadder because it can’t be easily countered.

      Ragspierre in reply to healthguyfsu. | November 9, 2017 at 11:24 am

      Dude! Did I say “repudiation”?

      No. On the OTHER end of the scale, I pointed out that there was no T-rump magic evident in VA.

      Sometimes your bias against anything I post trips you up.

The Dems won in a Democrat State with a Democrat incumbent and now because they have set the bar so low Democrats are tripping themselves up as they stumble over.

If the GOPe was actually awake the take away from this all would be not to run a sampling.

As we know the GOPe isn’t concerned with the people but with its own survival and would far prefer a failed Trump Presidency over a successful one so will do the bare minimum to help.

RINO’s need to be removed next year so Republicans can actually deliver on what they promised.

Paul In Sweden | November 9, 2017 at 4:00 am

Virginia is a trend that is strikingly apparent. The big government globalist beltway corporate cronyism of the GOPestablishment rings as hollow now as it did since the start of the presidential primaries. Ed Gillespie embodied the Globalist K Street Bush Dynasty GOPestablishment practices which in a Blue State like Virginia was doomed to failure. Voters reject the GOPe and want instead to Make America Great Again. GOPe dopes get off the tracks, get out of the way there is no seating for you on the MAGA Train.

The only surprise about Virginia is that Mueller didn’t pull of some kind of Six Degrees of Separation investigation of Gillespie and indict him on some procedural error regarding his vast lobbyist history before the polls closed on election day.

Bitterlyclinging | November 9, 2017 at 6:00 am

Individual states, primaries, elections, caucuses are red meat for the Bob Creamers and Scott Fovals of the Democratic party.

Comrade Sheikh Buraq Hussein Obama bused in out of state voters to pull off his surprise Iowa Caucus win, similar to what the Chicago thugs tried, but failed to do in the Scott Walker recall election in Wisconsin.
And so it went in 2008, and it likely happened again in Virginia.

I live in Northern VA.

1) Democrats, nationally, both their Party apparatus and most of it’s supporting groups organized and spent far more here than I’ve ever seen. R’s outside of VA have sat out every race here for about a decade. We get maybe one or two appearances from a big name and that’s it. Oh, and the establishment RINO’s at the national level back the Ds here in VA. Reason varies each cycle, but they are always worse than useless.
In my district, an R to D flip in assembly, the D’s spent >$800k. For a stinking assembly seat. Outspent the incumbent by at least 20:1.

2) Demographics in NOVA is killing us in Statewide elections – massive influx of federal bureaucrats under Obama along with shocking numbers of Hispanic migrants, both legal and illegal. BUT, that doesn’t account for the Assembly seats we just lost – scattered across the state.

3). Illegal voting by foreign nationals (both legal and illegal aliens). Thanks Motor Voter law!! This has long been in the neighborhood of 250,000 votes cast per election. Nothing new this year on this front.

4). Felons voting. State law prohibits. Current Gov “pardoned” every felon in the state last year, 160,000+, so they could vote for Hillary. State Supreme Court ruled that action illegal – pardons are supposed to consider individual cases one by one. Nonetheless, the “pardons” were repeated and no one stopped them. Some 62,000 actually voted in the POTUS election. No word yet how many voted this year. No one imagines more than a handful vote anything but D (what does that say about their Party?).

5) Gillespie inspires no one. And, worse, keeps losing. We nearly beat him in the primary, had a solid Conservative against him that people would have turned out to vote FOR.

6). Northam. The Ds top of the ticket is a non-entity. Just not the kind of D that inspires the loathing needed to get R’s to turn out to vote Against.

Of the above, #1 outweighs the rest by a huge margin. Ds are back in the State legislative race game with a vengeance. Rs better step up.

“Draining the swamp” plays poorly in Virginia, since most swamp denizens vote there, so that part is predictable. What’s hard to predict is how the President’s talent for Don Rickles rhetoric will play down ballot next year. Normal politicians can’t pull that off the way he does, Mr. Gillespie was wise not to try.

No mention of the flat out racism, political ads featuring minority children running for their lives from confederate flag pickup truck bubba?

Virginia is what happens when you let unchecked immigration import tribalist voters.

All of the articles about a Dem wave and trouble for 2018 Repubs were written months ago. They just changed the names and locations. The Trump hating media (on the Left and Right) were just waiting for the Dems to finally win after four straight wins for the Right. Democrats won a few coastal elections that they should have won. Oregon, New Jersey and Virginia are not bellwethers for the other 95% of the United States, no matter what the Leftist pundits say.

In the other four special elections earlier this year, the media was quick to give out participation trophies in return for the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on losing efforts. This time, winning elections that never should have been lost is the new bar for Democrats.

Local guy may have nailed it.

Dems fooling themselves over election results

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Valerie. | November 9, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Thanks Valerie.

    Some great reading there.

    “…the Republican establishment ran one of their favorites, an unfortunately lackluster lobbyist who was so uninspiring he couldn’t manage a simple majority in the party primary, pulling in only 43% percent of that vote…..

    “Consider the folly of running a Washington lobbyist who’s spent his entire life in politics as a fence-sitting, moderate Republican against a formidable candidate possessing a quite admirable curriculum vitae. You probably couldn’t find a better example of Elite Republican Establishment stupidity than in that particular example of candidate selection. Unfortunately it not only cost the party a governorship, the down-ballot effects were significant as well, likely giving the Dems control of the Virginia legislature. This is a not unexpected political shift, it’s been coming for some time as the burgeoning wealthy Virginia suburbs abutting the nation’s capital expand their influence over the state’s governance….”

The hypothetical progression of Trump to anyone else with an “R” after his name doesn’t establish much of a trend. The President really isn’t like any of the official Republicans. One could perhaps argue that Trump is what the Republicans should be, if they weren’t all so happy simply swilling at the Dem trough. But until the R’s can come up with candidates worth voting for, they can expect losses, and it will serve them right. If they can’t use the votes they have to do anything worthwhile (Obamacare? The foreign invasion? Tax reduction?), then it won’t matter if they have a few less votes; they’ll be useless no matter how many they have.

None of which will keep the Dems from proclaiming some great victory. They need a few; whether or not they’re real victories hardly matters.

Virginia is a microcosm of the political make-up of the United States. It is divided into a large area of voters who vote Republican and a minute are of voters who vote Democrat. Northham took just 18 counties out of 95 counties in Virginia. These just happen to be the most populous counties and house the largest cities and towns. In other words, the vote in Virginia split largely along the same lines as the 2016 Presidential election. And, Hillary won the state in 2016. Then there is the matter of 32,000 felons who were registered to vote and the redistricting which ent into effect in 2016.

New Jersey is the same. It is a heavily blue state. Christie managed to get reelected, as a RINO, but he had become very unpopular in the last few years. Not only was Gaudagno not widely liked by voters, but Murphy outspent her 3×1.

The make-up of state assemblies, houses and senates are of importance only to the residents of those states. They should not be used to gauge national political opinion. What they show, clearly, is that liberal politics are heavily dependent upon the residents of large population centers, especially coastal population centers. And, that is about it.

This was not a BIG win for Democrats. All the results were expected, given the prevailing factors in each state. But, that will not stop the Dems and the anti-Trumpers from attempting to use these results as an indication that the anti-Establishment feeling in this country has abated.

You want Virginia back? Downsize the government and send some of the big departments out to middle America. There is no good reason for all of the government agencies to be in DC. Like others here I also think you need some candidates with strong convictions and policy they can stand for. Wishy washy weaklings do not get my vote.