In Virginia, Some Republicans Voted Against GOP to Teach a Lesson

The words were spoken forcefully: “I’m voting straight Democrat to teach the Republicans a lesson.”


Donald Trump.

I heard it over and over. These were lifelong Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents, mostly women but also some men, who had a goal on Election Day: Send a message to the GOP.

Some good Republicans were collateral damage. “But he’s one of the good guys, pragmatic and willing to work across the aisle,” I protested.

“Doesn’t matter. He’s an R,” was the response. The resolve in their voices was unmistakable.

When the pussyhat women’s marches were held on January 21, 2017 — the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration — millions of women marched in big cities like D.C., Austin, Los Angeles, and New York as well as smaller localities like Anchorage, Alaska, where thousands of women showed up in the cold and snow, and little outlying Alaskan villages where they gathered in solidarity with their sisters in small towns across America.

The catalyst was Donald Trump’s misogynistic and crude comments that began during his campaign despite a GOP “autopsy” in 2012 that, among other suggestions, encouraged reaching out to women as well as the ethnic communities. Trump shattered the autopsy and, in doing so, somehow won the presidency.

The march in January wasn’t just a march. It was the beginning of a movement that encompassed men as well as conservative and moderate Republicans to protest not only Donald Trump but also Corey Stewart, Charlottesville, white nationalists, and much more.

By encouraging women to run for public office and by looking for candidates to prevent Republican incumbents from running unchallenged, the energy from the women’s march was turned into more than 50 women candidates to challenge in Virginia’s 2017 primaries for the House of Delegates:

In Virginia, many women say they are responding to state-level trends. The male-dominated GOP General Assembly (women account for 17% of seats) passed a bill in February to defund Planned Parenthood, which Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed. That was weeks after passing a resolution declaring the anniversary of Roe v. Wade a “Day of Tears,” which the state Democratic Caucus called a “woman-shaming” resolution; and introducing a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks that the state’s Attorney General said is probably unconstitutional.

“Their policies mimic Trump. That’s why it was perhaps that final push where more women are stepping up,” said [Attorney General Mark] Herring.

Tuesday’s election in Virginia was undoubtedly a repudiation of Trump.

Not only did Republicans lose the top three statewide offices — governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general — but heads rolled in the General Assembly as 16 Republican delegates lost their seats (several will go to recount), with as many as ten of them going to women.

As Congressman Scott Taylor (R-Virginia Beach) noted, “I don’t know how you get around that this wasn’t a referendum on the administration, I just don’t. Some of the very divisive rhetoric really prompted and helped usher in a really high Democratic turnout in Virginia.”

Former Congressman Tom Davis concurred. “Ed couldn’t escape being a proxy for Trump, which killed him. It’s a huge drag on the ticket. It motivated the Democratic base. Democrats came out en masse in protest. This was their first chance to mobilize the base. The lesson here is that Republicans have to get their act together. Ed did as well as he could do with the hand he was dealt.”

Which brings us back to the Republicans and Independents who were part of this tsunami who said, with determination in their voices, “I’m voting straight Democrat to teach the Republicans a lesson.”

Will the GOP learn from the stunning losses of Tuesday?

  • You can’t teach these folks ‘lessons’

    These are the VERY SAME people that say one of the reasons Mr Trump won, is the ‘other side’ discounted and tried to marginalize them.. Then they follow it up with ‘and we won, you lost, get over it’.


  • Chuck Geer

    I’m pleased as punch that Danica Roem defeated Bob Marshall in Prince William County. While Marshall was fighting the “Culture War”, Roem was talking about issues that county residents actually cared about…

    • James Young

      Yeah. I knew mental illness was not disqualifying for the Democrat nomination, but I thought the general electorate was smarter than that. I guess not.

      • notjohnsmosby

        You seem to have a fixation on Danica. Why is that? Are you sexually attracted to her?

        • James Young

          No, notjohnmosby, I’m not sexually attracted to any man. Try to get your articles right. He is a “him,” not a her, and no amount of hormones and sex-organ-mutilation surgery will change that genetic and biological reality. It takes the far Left — ever arrogant in its power to alter nature, human nature, and reality — to attempt that sleight-of-hand.

          I truly hope he gets treatment for his disorder. From non-quacks.

          • Chris

            Meanwhile in 2017…

          • Rev Donald Spitz

            He’s a sexual deviant sodomite.

          • James Young

            He may be that, too, but primarily, he’s a man who thinks he is (and can be) a woman. Obviously, he’s delusional, and should seek real treatment for his illness. He’s deserving of our pity.

            The one’s truly worthy of our contempt are those who are using this poor, sick individual to advance their nihilistic political agenda.

          • notjohnsmosby

            That’s weird. You think you’re a man, and you certainly aren’t. You’re just a big pussy blowhard.

            Does that make you delusional?

          • James Young

            Those are bold words for a coward who hides behind a pseudonym. Then again, irony is usually lost on the blowhard far Left.

          • kjn

            An intelligent person generally learns what they are talking about before they start making unfounded accusations about mental illness. When you are found to be ignorant on such a simple topic you not only force us to question your intelligence but also your integrity. Fact is, he did seek treatment for his birth defect (not illness) and the experts treated him appropriately. There is no other legitimate ‘treatment’ for transgenders and certainly no recognized mental health treatment that can reassign someone’s gender identity. Those who are willfully incapable of understanding science do deserve our pity which is why we offer you ours.

          • James Young

            Well, the DSM-5 disagrees with you. An intelligent person doesn’t confuse their addled ideology with facts. Like biological/genetic facts. It’s not a “birth defect.” It’s a mental condition. It’s delusion.

          • MD Russ

            Did Jesus tell you that, Rev? And does God love all of his creations or just a select few?

      • Chad Parker

        Yes, we shouldn’t forget that gender dysphoria is a mental illness. But so is depression, PTSD, and a host of other mental illnesses for which we don’t consider when choosing candidates.

        That said, I’ll say that I don’t follow the logic of a transgendered person. If gender identity and roles are all social constructs and you feel like you’re “in the wrong body” because of those social constructs, why is the solution to physically and chemically alter your body to give the illusion of conforming to the social construct?

        • kjn

          I don’t think this is the proper forum to attempt to learn about what transgender is and why the best treatment is to physically change one’s body to match their identity. I suggest a medical journal or a discussion with your doctor.

          • Chad Parker

            Translation: “I can’t argue knowledgeably on the issue, so I’m going to unilateral determine what ‘is the proper forum’ for discussion, impose that opinion on everyone else, and hide my ignorance by pointing out potential sources for further research.”

            Thanks, KJN.

  • David Eggleston

    My guess is we won’t.

  • James Young

    Nothing like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  • Craig Scott

    The Republican party of Virginia needs to do some (honest) soul searching and get away from the failed “Establishment” orthodoxy. Liberty and prosperity are popular, and are nascent in the party, example school choice. It must be expanded in other areas such as health care, make the case for ending cartelization in this and other fields of commerce. Another-words make an articulate case that freedom is the ideal value in all aspects for a higher quality of life.

  • Jay Hughes

    this was a referendum on Trump by hard core Bernie Democrats who already hate and despise Trump anyway. The reality is that Virginia is trending like Maryland. Unfortunately northern Virginia liberal Democrats will control the state wide offices just like the Baltimore area does in Maryland. Just like Maryland, it won’t be until job killing, growth killing liberal tax and spend policies become so unbearable that job creating Republicans will manage to get elected like Larry Hogan and Bob Erlich did. Also this election confirms that Virginia is no longer a bellweather barometer of the nation. Virginia is now a full fledged, sapphire blue Democratic state a la NY, MA, CA, etc. When you look at the state as a whole the vast majority of the state geographically voted R. It’s just that nova is so super populated that folks concentrated in a small urban area can overwhelm the vote. I’m expecting our congressional delegation to stay the same. Also with the defeat of Marshall but a transgendered person the era of Republicans using LGBT issues to win elections is now OVER. The party in general and social conservative in particular need to realize this and remove from the platform any and all anti-LGBT language. Furthermore we need to accept that we will not legislate abortion away. We will make it go away when enough people see aborftion as intolerable as we view slavery and jim crow today. Trump is still very popular in fly over states where his rallies are at overflow capacity. So I don’t read anything into this as a nationwide referendum on Trump. Bummed that we didn’t win last night, but not surprised. It’s time for you guys to regroup, drop your cherished narratives, evaluate honestly and bounce back. ignem purgatorium optimes. aptet certandum ac vincendum

  • John Harvie

    Another issue was the lack of a viable candidate at the top of the ticket. You can put all the Vogels and Adamses below the top spot but that won’t cut it.

    An ex lobbyist with no governmental experience does not make a viable top-of-ticket candidate. We bypassed the Wagners et al with connections and experience so what did you expect?

    EG kept talking about his “plan” but never provided any significant details (not to mention his opponent didn’t either).

  • DJRippert

    Gillespie had a chance if he backed Trump. He could have put aside the overheated rhetoric of Trump and boiled down Trump’s policies into simple statements. 1. The president should enforce the immigration laws that Congress enacts. 2. The corporate tax rate should be lowered by increasing the taxes on America’s wealthiest individuals. 3. Regardless of how you feel about Climate Change the Paris Accords were a bad deal for America. Etc

    Gillespie had a chance if he repudiated Trump. He could have taken the “maverick” Republican stance favored by John McCain.

    The one thing Gillespie could not do was to pretend that Donald Trump doesn’t exist. Which is exactly what he did.

  • Guy Cabot

    Lynn sure doesn’t get it. Yeah, you can wring your hands and moan about Trump but he’s just a symptom.Trump is the manifestation of about 40 years of hard GOP work. This what you wanted.

    Am I being hyperbolic? You be the judge. Thus far, in the GOP-controlled Congress, nobody has done a thing (save for a very few lofty but empty speeches) to curb or rein in Trump. You continue to run folks like Palin, Carson, Cain, Moore and others you know are unfit and/or not all there. And you really believed running a racist 1950s-style campaign was going to succeed?

    The alt-right and white supremacists didn’t just happen under Trump; they’ve been in your party a long, long time. Trump just opened the gate.

  • notjohnsmosby

    The winning formula for Democrats in Virginia is now shockingly simple:
    Run up the score — bigly — in northern Virginia. Northam beat
    Gillespie by 212,000 votes in Arlington (+52,000), Fairfax (+137,000)
    and Loudoun (+23,000). His statewide margin? Two-hundred and thirty-two
    thousand votes.

    • Margaret Gallagher

      And, those old, white people who could barely ambulate their way into the polls declined the sample D ballot in favor of the R. The same party that is looking to reduce services they already paid for. It is astonishing that they would vote in such a manner. The bigger news? Women fought back and it showed in a big way. Dave Brat better have his s***ting pants on.

      • Rev Donald Spitz

        I see you’re quite the anti-white racist.

        • kjn

          Wow you republicans just cannot stop with your identity politics. As soon has you start losing an argument you drag out the race card. Maybe you should review the voter demographics.

  • Rev Donald Spitz

    Trump is the best thing that ever happened to the Republican Party. Whiny rhinos who support murdering unborn babies by abortion and all sorts of other evils deserve to lose their seats.

    • kjn

      Yes the conservative way is so much better, murder them after they are born. You guys are amazing. You do everything possible to increase the need for abortions. Then you refuse to allow those who need them most to have them. Then, once they are born you do everything you can to murder them either by refusing them access to health care. Encourageg the police to use every opportunity to shoot them. You do all you can to increase hate crimes and gun violence. Polluting the environment and putting poison in our water was a stroke of genius. Not only will you kill babies but the wealthy will profit from it. Shutting down medical studies and forcing scientists to move out of the country should kill a few thousand. There is no one as evil as a Trump supporting conservative.

  • Dcgorillafighter

    Reign in Trump? Trump ran on an agenda which is being stymied by the help of RINO swamp creatures which are prolific on this bs board bearing rino. why should we bend over backwards for the five percent who think like this and what kind of sicko wants to abort a baby after twenty weeks. This is coming from a Gay man who is a police officer and was a Trump DC Republican convention delegate. Two more reasons to love Trump.He is ending the eight year war on the Police and stands up to the greatest killer of gays worldwide, Islam. MAGA

    • kjn

      Wow, that was pure tin foil crap. When I read just insanity as this post I fear for the future of our country. It is amazing how deranged conservative media has made so many of its followers. Turn off the TV, take a walk outside, talk to people, learn how to fact check.

  • Christopher Walker

    Didn’t we see this same thing in 2009? Conservatives, mad as hell about a Marxist Barack Obama winning the 2008 election, took it out on poor Creigh Deeds in 2009?

    Liberals / Progressives, gobsmacked and dumbfounded by the election of Donald Trump, took it out on Ed Gillespie. They had all the intensity and passion, much like the great Va Red Wave of 2009. I don’t think there was anything Ed could have done.

    However, Ed was never going to win running a 2000 George W. Bush campaign. That ship sailed and shipwrecked. Had Ed crafted a message of Virginia First, much like Trump’s America First, and tailored it to each of Virginia region’s top concerns… he might have had a chance.

    He could have talked drugs / MS-13 in Lynchburg, Bedford, Roanoke region and wrung every vote available out of that area of VA. Economic development in Southern Virginia, Coal ..Jobs..& healthcare in Appalachia, Military Spending in NOVA and VA Beach, and Education / Transportation in Richmond.

    Finally, Trump proved immigration is a winning issue in today’s America. Ed should have embraced Trump’s message to greatly reduce Virginia’s illegal immigration problem, demand common sense refugee and visa programs, and stronger enforcement by ICE / Border Patrol coupled with a strong stand to not allow illegals a safe harbor in the state and that would have been icing on the cake.

    He did none of it… and he got smoked. RIP Ed W. Gillespie

    • kjn

      He actually did do that. However most voters in Virginia know that most of that was crap Trump sold to those upset about a black President that turned out to be everything they had hoped the previous white guy had been.

  • mezurak

    It was NoVa’s fault. It was the Pussy Hat Republicans fault. It was Trump’s fault. The establishment, the nativists. It was the phase of the moon with Venus rising. Keep looking, I’m sure you will find a scapegoat in there somewhere. But please, don’t start with some DNA spliced Dempublican whiny excuses. It’s bad for the corporate image.

  • Lawrence Wood

    Here are the actual real vote summaries by county with nothing individually cherry picked to grind a political Trump axe or blow smoke regarding the nature of the race outcome itself. Looking at 2013 pre Trump administration numbers to self justify anything is of questionable use but you can be your own judge of that. If you normalize the turnout variations by simple percentage calculations (given 2016 was a presidential election race) and not cherry pick individual county vote variations (which are going to occur as a common political reality) and just look at the gross vote percentages what is immediately striking is how similarly the two races (2016 and 2017) really unfolded.

    By segmenting the counties by the “Major 12” (heavily representing NoVa and other urban areas), from the 50 2nd tier counties and placing the remaining 71 counties in Tier 3 (they account for less than 500K votes total so I didn’t include their summaries here but have them if anyone is interested) you see a trend that looks amazingly similar to the Clinton Virginia blue state presidential win. The one thing that does pop out is that Trump was able to recover some ground in the Tier 3 county vote population far more effectively than Gillespie accomplished. These are almost totally rural counties so perhaps not a big surprise they played a larger role for him than they did for Gillespie.

    Gillespie ran in what is effectively a blue state since Clinton’s convincing 2016 win and he had no answers to energize the top Tier and secondary Tier voting base. If blaming Trump gives you some emotional catharsis go right ahead it’s harmless but useless to solving any real political issues. In fact it appears Trump did slightly better among these county segments than Gillespie a year plus later. Thinking your way out of a situation can be difficult (for some especially) when just blaming something is so much easier and less stressful.

    2016 Contest
    Clinton’s vote count for Tier 1 counties was 1,220,898 (63.8%), Clinton’s Tier 2 counties count was 572,080 (43.8%). Trump’s vote count for Tier 1 counties 692,625 (36.2%), Trump’s Tier 2 counties 735,471 (56.2%). Total vote count for Tier 1 was 1,913,523 votes and for Tier 2 was 1,307,551 votes. Subtotals had Hillary PLUS 528,273 votes for Tier 1 and Trump PLUS 163,291 votes for Tier 2. Trump was down a TOTAL of 364,882 votes or 11.3% minus any tabulated Tier 3 vote count results.

    2017 Contest
    Northam’s vote count for the Tier 1 counties was 866,967 (64.4%), Northam’s Tier 2 counties vote count was 400,770 (44.3%). Gillespie’s vote count for Tier 1 counties was 479,298 (35.6%), Gillespie’s Tier 2 counties count was 504,484 (55.7%). Total vote count for Tier 1 was 1,346,265 votes and for Tier 2 was 905,254 votes. Subtotals had Northam PLUS 387,669 votes for Tier 1 and Gillespie PLUS 103,714 votes for Tier 2. Gillespie was down a TOTAL of 283,955 votes or 7.9% minus any tabulated Tier 3 vote count.

    So perhaps not perfect bookends but very close unfolding trendlines. I would maintain that this is the future Virginia state political campaign roadmap, it won’t be the last time it unfolds if source causality factors aren’t attacked and Trump is not one of those unless you are looking for the easy way out until the next failed state election

  • fedup

    Garbage column. Clueless.

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