Sunday, November 05, 2017

What Lessons Will Be Learned If Northam Loses In Virginia Tuesday?


I recall a progressive political action committee withdrawing support-- loudly and publicly-- from a candidate they had endorsed over some kind of bullshit and inconsequential disagreement and thinking how I'd probably never trust that PAC again. But that isn't what happened when Blue America withdrew our support-- in 2006-- from our favorite Senate candidate. Then-Congressman Sherrod Brown was running for the U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Mike DeWine. And then he voted for Bush's torture bill. He was the only progressive in the House to back it. He was still a better candidate that Mike DeWine-- and in some important ways a really great candidate-- but torture seemed too important an issue to urge our members to contribute money to him. So we threw him off the Blue America endorsed candidates ActBlue page. Fortunately, he won anyway-- and he's been an excellent senator (mostly) and admitted and apologized that he's made an error in voting for the torture bill, a stupid political calculation.

Thursday, DFA announced that it would cease its support of an ultra conservative Democratic candidate, Ralph Northam, who it was backing in the Virginia gubernatorial race. Why were they backing him in the first place? Northam is absolutely horrible. Obviously, his Republican opponent is much, much, much worse... but he's terrible anyway. So Northam is the lesser of two evils... evil but not as evil. Why would a trusted group like DFA debase themselves by endorsing him and lending their good name to his foul name? Because the Virginia race is just too important? I guess that's what they-- and lots of other groups-- were thinking. The Blue America perspective was to just ignore the gubernatorial race and urge our members to support progressives running for the state legislature.

By endorsing a crap candidate like Northam, DFA was put in the awkward-- and dangerous-- position of having to withdraw their endorsement after Northam said he would sign a bill banning sanctuary cities in the state if one of Virginia's cities tries to become one. DFA issued this statement: "Ralph Northam's gutless, politically senseless, and morally debased decision yesterday to openly backtrack on his commitment to standing up for immigrant families is a picture-perfect example of why Democracy for America never endorsed him in the primary and focused the entirety of our efforts in Virginia on down-ticket races, like Justin Fairfax's campaign for Lieutenant Governor. It's also why, today, we're announcing that we will no longer do any work to directly aid Northam's gubernatorial efforts."

Politico's Kevin Robillard tweeted that Gillespie's campaign started running a digital ad highlighting DFA's criticism of Northam, seeking to hold down Democratic turnout (which, of course, could hurt Justin Fairfax, Mark Henning and all the really good House of Delegates candidates DFA is backing.

Digby was the first to sound the alarm at Blue America. She pointed out that immigrant rights people on the ground are terrified that if Gillespie wins they'll be using his ads all over the country and ginning up more hatred for Latinos. They don't have the luxury of boycotting Northam. And a few hours later, Chris Hayes was tweeting that "A Gillespie win in VA would send the signal to every GOP pol that the way to win is Trumpian white identity politics, full stop."

Meanwhile over the last week, Northam's big lead from mid-October has cratered into a November dead heat-- 45-45 according to Republican polling firm Rasmussen and 47-47 according to non-partisan Roanoke College. (A New York Times/Siena poll out this morning has Northam up a feeble 43-40%.) Their analysis bodes badly for Tuesday:
More than half of those polled (53%) disapprove of the way President Donald Trump his handling his job, and just over one-third (36%) approve. At the same time, a majority (55%) of respondents have an unfavorable view of him, while 34 percent have a favorable impression of Trump.

Almost half (43%) approve of the job Terry McAuliffe is doing as governor, while 36 percent disapprove. McAuliffe is viewed favorably by 38% of respondents.

The Republican Party is viewed unfavorably by 43 percent of likely voters (39% favorable), while the Democratic Party is also viewed unfavorably by 43 percent and favorably by 42 percent.

"Gillespie has improved his position among self-identified Independents," said Harry Wilson, director of the Roanoke College Poll. "More of those respondents say they lean toward the Republicans than we saw in our most recent poll and they moved the results favorably toward Gillespie and Republicans, but not President Trump. As we noted in the last poll, Republicans closed well in the 2013 and 2014 elections. This one may be following the same script."

...Which candidate would do a better job on the issues?

Ed Gillespie

Economy: 47%
Healthcare: 37%
Jobs: 44%
Immigration: 44%
Education: 40%
Taxes: 47%
Guns: 45%

Ralph Northam

Economy: 39%
Health Care: 49%
Jobs: 40%
Immigration: 39%
Education: 46%
Taxes: 37%
Guns: 39%
So-- never mind the Republicans learning to use xenophobia and racism as election tools (they've been doing it for decades, no?)-- what lesson will the Democrats learn if Northam loses? Not to back crappy conservative candidates who will drive down enthusiasm and hope down Democratic participation? Of course not; they never learn anything. With polling numbers like the ones Fox reported last week, why would the Democratic Party run conservative, Republican-lite candidates?

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At 6:19 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

What lesson will the Democrats learn if Northam loses? Simple nothing that's how the establishment runs things in races like this they love the corrupt system in place now wait'll they see the backlash hitting them hard in the corporate press on Wednesday when their candidate blows it.

At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds like your problem is with the Democratic Party, but the Northam One a contested primary fair and square – – lots of people who supported Sanders as well as lots of people who supported Hillary were against Northam in the primary. Isn’t the real problem here with people who vote in the Democratic primary?

At 7:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:04 is correct. We'll learn nothing more than VA is full of idiots and both parties are full of shit.

But we already know both truths. So we'll learn nothing.


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