By M.D. Russ
On the day after, here are a few thoughts about Virginia’s election results.
First, the Democrats did not win the election; the Republicans lost it. As the Republican standard-bearer at the head of the ticket, Ed Gillespie committed three fatal errors.
- He invited Trump to campaign for him, the President with the lowest approval rating in modern history after only ten months in office. Trump’s low approval rating is not so much a result of his obnoxious personality, bullying, and lying, but because he has failed to deliver on any campaign promises, from building a southern border wall to repealing and replacing ObamaCare to returning manufacturing jobs to the U.S. from overseas. Ed bought into that failure when he invited Trump to appear with him at campaign rallies. By my observation, Gillespie started to decline in the polls after Trump came to Virginia to campaign for him.
- Gillespie tried the old fear tactic of blaming illegal immigrant gang violence like MS-13 on “sanctuary city” Democratic politics. The problem is that there are no sanctuary cities in Virginia. A sanctuary city is one that has passed local laws that counter-act Federal laws on illegal immigrants, such as refusing ICE requests to detain illegals arrested for crimes. A sanctuary city is not defined simply by the presence of immigrants, legal or illegal.
- Gillespie bought into the failed Republican promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Millions of Americans have entitlement benefits under the Affordable Health Care Act and, for all its faults, the Republicans have failed to propose an alternative entitlement. And once the government institutes an entitlement program, you cannot take it away without losing elections. Social Security is a case in point. It was launched in 1934 as a safety net for elderly poor. Today it is a Federal pension program for the middle class.
Second, the Republicans surrendered the voter-rich areas of Northern Virginia, Richmond, and the Tidewater without a fight. “God, guns, and guts” plays well in the rural southside and southwest, but economic growth, traffic relief, and good public education is what excites voters in the voter-rich areas. Cutting taxes for transportation improvements and diverting public school money to Christian academy school vouchers doesn’t get you votes there.
Third, the Republicans continue to send contradictory messages. Individual liberty and personal freedom are not enhanced by government restrictions on issues ranging from hunting on Sundays to having an abortion, the latter having been the law of the land for almost 50 years and continuing to be supported as such by the most conservative Supreme Court since the Great Depression.
Virginia is not so much turning blue as it is becoming anti-red. And that, along with Donald Trump in the White House, is why we had a record voter turn-out Tuesday despite awful weather conditions.