Even with this years Blue Wave which saw the Democrats retake the House of Representatives in Congress, and approximately 300 of the thousand plus state level seats they lost during the Obama era, it should be clear that based on how most of the country voted, many would still vote for a dead man as long as there was an R next to their name.
Meanwhile, the biggest story of this election, widespread voter suppression continues to be under reported. Republicans are prepared to use any means necessary to keep people from voting, as this report from Florida makes clear. Even after the elections are over, they will continue to use tactics little removed from the 2000 Brooks Brothers riot to keep the votes from being counted.
If they were counting on gerrymandering, where after the 2010 census they packed many vote rich suburbs into “safe” Republican districts to save their bacon, those plans backfired spectacularly. Thanks in no small measure to the widespread unpopularity of Orange Julius, and his heavy handed crassness. With college-educated women denouncing him in droves, voting heavily for Democrats, a degree of self-inflicted damage so severe its hard to see how Republican hope to win them back anytime soon.
All that being said; based on the results in many rural counties in the Central Virginia region that logic doesn’t seem to apply to thoroughly despicable candidates like Cory Stewart, who got 60 % or more of the vote. The biggest reason for that is because of hypocritical evangelists, who as a group consistently and overwhelmingly vote for the most extreme candidates, largely because of their fear of people of other creeds, colors, and languages.
And it’s why they will continue to support radical candidates at the state and local level in the 2019 and 2020 elections far more than they ever supported Bush, McCain, or Romney. Their enthusiasm for hard core rhetoric has never been about terrorism or enforcing laws, its always been about fear. And according to one report, “White evangelicals overwhelmingly back hardline positions on immigration…”
A hypocrisy which has become a wholesale surrendering of their own values and moral judgment, and abdication of any sense of social responsibility, something which we will see play out in Tuesdays special Senate election in Mississippi, where the people of that state will likely elect an openly racist Senator. And we will see that same dynamic in next year’s state and local elections, as well as the 2020 presidential election.
Until last year when the Democrats unexpectedly took 15 seats in the House of Delegates, most of the Central Virginia's regions state Delegate and Senate races typically went 65/35 or more in favor of Republican candidates, who rarely faced any opposition. During this year’s Congressional elections that previously insurmountable margin appears to have dropped even further, in many cases all the way down 55/45 splits, making many formerly uncompetitive and often uncontested districts competitive for the first time in living memory.
Louisa County followed this trend with overall support for Republicans candidates dropping by 6% from the 2016 election cycle, and seats which have long been controlled by Republicans like the House of Delegates 56th district were no longer automatic victories.
This trend is important, because which ever Party controls the House of Delegates and the Senate after the 2019 elections will be in charge of the 2020 redistricting which sets the boundaries for all state and federal districts for the next decade. So consider how during the 2010 redistricting, House and Senate Republicans abused that power to gerrymander themselves into a permanent majority.
A one sided relationship which made them immune to any pressure from their constituents, allowing them to effectively pick their voters rather than the voters electing their representatives.
Actions which delivered immediate results for them in the 2011 statewide election for Delegates and Senators, giving Republicans a supermajority in the House of Delegates, and a 20-20 tie in the Senate. Along with the 2015 statewide election where only one out of 140 seats changed Party’s, a statistical improbability which far exceeds national historical norms of 97 % elected officials being re-elected.
A toxic majority which allowed them to implement what ever policies their donors wanted, particularly during the Sponge Bob McDonnell era. Even after losing control of Governors mansion in 2013, Republicans in the General Assembly maintained enough clout to force two consecutive Democratic administrations into doing Dominions bidding.
Faced with the prospect of loosing their slim majorities in the House and Senate, it should be clear that Virginia’s Republican Party will do whatever is necessary to maintain control. And we should expect to see many Republican Delegates and Senators being heavily funded by State Party PAC’s, like speaker Cox’s Colonial Leadership Trust PAC accompanied by national Party money and rivers of untraceable outside dark money from the likes of AFP and other Koch Brothers controlled groups.
Given what’s at stake; and that winning 15 seats last year in the House of Delegates took up a lions share of the State Party’s funds, it remains to be seen if the state Democratic and national party is prepared to pony up the money needed to retake the General assembly in 2019.
And in this neck of the woods, if unaffiliated and “non partisan” groups like Indivisible Louisa who were indispensable in local canvassing and GOTV efforts for Abigail Spanberger will continue to put forth similar efforts on behalf of Democrats and independents in 2019 and 2020.
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