By John Fredericks
In a classic ideological paradox, the Supreme Court’s historic 5-4 decision today striking down key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) will likely determine the outcome of the Commonwealth’s 2013 gubernatorial race.
But it’s not what you think.
If the highest court in the land had upheld DOMA — a socially philosophical position in alignment with Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli — the Republican gubernatorial standard bearer’s race for Virginia’s chief executive would undoubtedly have taken a turn for the worse.
DOMA is a lightening rod of extraordinarily high emotional and economic value for the U.S. Gay community which unequivocally supports same-sex marriage. And DOMA is its policy crest.
If the very law the Gay community so passionately loathes was left to stand, it would have rallied the powerful LGBT lobby into a frenzy of crazed outrage and heightened indignation. And where would that high-pitch frustration get channeled in the short-term? In Virginia, against Cuccinelli. It’s the only 2013 game in town.
Gays and others that vehemently oppose the DOMA law nationally would focus their ire on the socially conservative lawmaker, and attempt to turn him into their anti-gay poster child. They’d likely mobilize their volunteers and activists coast to coast, raise countless millions of dollars, and gamble it all to defeat the one office seeker they deem as their public political enemy number one: Cuccinelli of Virginia.
If this decision had been rendered in 2014, some 435 congressional races across the country would compete for their attention.
But in 2013, there are only two significant electoral contests: New Jersey and Virginia. Garden State Governor Chris Christie is not relevant to this conversation.
That leaves Virginia, and Cuccinelli. There would have been hell to pay. One race, one issue, one objective: defeat Cuccinelli and put the fear of God in other Republicans leading up to 2014.
But DOMA was struck down today, so the issue comes off the table, and Cuccinelli can focus on what Virginians care most about: economic growth, jobs, and roads, and taxes. These are the bread and butter issues that he is very well positioned on. These are issues that will get him elected governor.
So in a rare twist of quixotic fate, Cuccinelli wins by losing. It’s the ultimate political paradox of ideological grand irony.
DOMA went down today. Say hello to “Governor” Cuccinelli. He wins in November.