Leahy: Virginia Voters Can Be Thankful This Season

Virginia rightfully claims to have celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1619 a few miles downstream from what would one day become Richmond. The meal wasn’t great, and the settlement itself was destroyed a couple of years later — both very on-brand events for Virginia.

But thanks were given, long before the Pilgrims ever set foot on a rock in Massachusetts Bay. With that history established, let’s give some contemporary thanks for some of what’s happened in Virginia this year and a prayer that a few things never repeat themselves again.

On the thankful side: a peaceful transition of power. Such thanks should not be necessary. But given the extraordinary words and deeds of the Trumpish diehards at the beginning of the year, it seemed the nation’s long streak of peaceful transitions between presidential administrations would come crashing down.

Matters were made even worse when all three Republican members of Virginia’s House delegation — Reps. Ben Cline, H. Morgan Griffith and Rob Wittman — added their names to a ludicrous Supreme Court brief challenging the legitimacy of other state’s electoral votes.

All of this makes Virginia’s recent election so refreshing — and worthy of thanks. Virginia voters unceremoniously stripped Democrats of trifecta control of state government. Democrats’ response? A lot of hand-wringing, doubt, and searching for answers. The usual, normal things political parties go through when they lose.

There were no protests, no unhinged conspiracy theories, no cries about rigged elections. Oh, there were claims of foul electoral play. But those utterly baseless accusations arose from the fever swamps on the right. And of course, no angry, armed mob will attempt to storm Mr. Jefferson’s capitol.

Instead, there will be a peaceful handoff from Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin (R). It will be the same for the offices of lieutenant governor and attorney general. No drama. No bizarre lawsuits from a deep-blue state attorney general claiming fraud. Just morning coats and a few parties, and then everybody getting back to work.

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