In Virginia – The Swamp Voted and The Swamp Won

On the heels of Tuesday’s election, Democrats and the MSM are awfully smug, all echoing the party line that the New Jersey and Virginia Democratic gubernatorial victories foreshadow a 2018 Democratic electoral tsunami.  Concurrently, the conservative never-trumpers are slyly gleeful. To them, this is proof that their endless prognostications that the impending burst of  Trump bubble has begun, with Virginia being Exhibit A.

At a macro level, both conversations seems somewhat on target. However, following the threads down the rabbit hole show facts that not only seem to disprove their thesis, but in actuality negate them.

The New Jersey election can be dismissed quite quickly. If this election weren’t following two terms of a high profile Republican, this would just be another dark blue Democratic state electing yet another Democratic governor. Not only is New Jersey overwhelmingly liberal, Gov. Christie gave the voters no reason to continue to vote Republican. He is brash loudmouth, tainted with a petty scandal involving creating traffic jams at a bridge. Additionally, Mr. Christie evidently thought it was good local politics to be a Dallas Cowboy football fan, and pictures of him lounging in the owner’s box undoubtably didn’t win him the love of Garden State citizens. The results of this race was a simple reversion to the norm. Nothing more, nothing less.

But it’s in Virginia where the facts are misunderstood and distorted. Yes, Democrats came out in larger than average numbers. Yes, Democrats proved to be highly engaged voters. And yes, in some area suburbs went against the norm, and voted Democratic, not Republican. Also, it doesn’t seem Republicans were either enthused or motivated to bring victory to Mr. Ed. Gillespie.

But Virginia isn’t a normal state, and these talking points are too simplistic and distort reality. First of all, Virginia is a blue state. Calling it purple just isn’t correct. It might not be deep blue, but it is at least a nice Carolina blue. While Mr. Trump won traditionally democratic states such as Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania; Virginia went for Hillary Clinton by 5 percent over Mr. Trump. Republican it’s not.

The outgoing governor, Terry McAuliffe is a life-long Democratic Party hack, being tied to the Clintons for decades. He was Co-Chairman of Bill Clinton’s 1996 Presidential reelection campaign, was the DNC Chairman for several years, and was Chairman of Hillary’s first presidential campaign.

But the real issue was northern Virginia demographics. Hillary won this region of the state by over 20 percentage points. Northern Virginia is basically a suburb bedroom community to our nation’s capital; therefore, it’s no small wonder the federal government is by far the largest employer.

There is perhaps no liberal Democratic group more highly aggrieved toward President Trump than public sector unions, which are essentially federal government employees. They are the swamp he is attempting to clean out, and they have resisted him since the beginning. Considering some of the deep state shenanigans, voting against Mr. Gillespie was perhaps the most ethical and legal method of resistance against the President they’ve attempted thus far.

Have no doubt, the deep state hates Mr. Trump. They cannot abide the thought of him in the White House. Whether it’s Mr. Tillerson either clearing out the State Department, or Mrs. DeVos shaking up the Education Department,  or Mr. Pruitt completely rearranging the EPA, or ICE rounding up illegal aliens, most federal employees in DC have been in an enraged snit since election night a year ago.

When you top all of this off with a bland, uninspiring, establishment Republican candidate with deep ties to the Bush family and the RNC, an 8% win for the Democrat is easy to understand and even predict.

These facts, a highly enthused single-issue Democrat base, a much higher percentage of suburbanites voting Democrat and an under motivated Republican base doesn’t mean the final results can be extrapolated to any other state. There are too many distinctives attached to the commonwealth, not the least of which is the bureaucratic deep-state’s hatred of our President.

Perhaps the best way to see these results is as an affirmation for the President Trump. He must be doing something right for these swamp things to have such an abiding animus against him. And it is this continuing rage which will rebound to his favor in fly-over country in 2018. You know,,,where the basket of bible clutching, gun clinging, beer drinking deplorables live?

There’s a Deep South saying: “If you wrestle a pig, don’t be surprised if you wind up filthy.”  Well, the swamp has voted, and the swamp MSM is now cheering the victory as some kind of long-term indicator of Trump ruination. But it’s really just swamp things doing what swamp things do. Nothing more. Nothing less.

 

Ryan and Santorum Disagree on Meaning of Democrats’ VA Election Sweep

Nearly every observer has an interpretation of yesterday’s electoral sweep of Virginia by the Democratic Party, the first significant, positive performance the party has displayed since the election of Donald Trump.

President Trump quickly tossed gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie beneath a bus after his loss, which unexpectedly was by 9 points, despite the fact that Trump had tweeted and robo-called in support of Gillespie just before the election. He likes winners, you see, and those who “embrace” him.

 

But Gillespie was not a winner, despite not only Trump’s endorsement, but the Trumpian atmosphere of his campaign, which included strong criticism of his opponent Ralph Northam via ads on the issues of illegal immigration and sanctuary cities, as well as echoes of the president on Confederate monuments and kneeling NFL players.

He wasn’t the only Republican loser on Tuesday; it was a sweep.

Democrats also won at least 14 seats in the state’s House of Delegates and could gain control of the chamber for the first time since 2000, depending on the outcomes of four races that qualify for recount, The Washington Post reported.

Additionally, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio won reelection and Chris Christie, formerly among the most unpopular governors in the country, certainly contributed to his Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno’s loss in her bid to replace him — she was defeated Democrat

So what happened in Virginia? Is this a rejection of Trump, dissatisfaction with the performance of the Republican Congress, or both? (The New Yorker triumphantly finds Trumpism in decline. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Rick Santorum came down on opposite each other in their interpretations of the results.

Ryan spoke at a tax reform event held by The Washington Examiner. Responding to the election results in the context of the GOP’s new tax bill, he said the following:

“It doesn’t change my reading of the current moment. It just emphasizes my reading of the current moment which is we have a promise to keep…. We’ve got to get on with keeping our promise, and one of the chief promises we made when we ran for office … in 2016 was that we would do tax reform and tax cuts for families, for people, and so we’ve got to get on with that.”

He went on to say, that “If anything, this just puts more pressure on making sure we follow through…That’s what I take out of it. I adore Ed Gillespie. I feel bad that he lost, but I think it simply means we’ve got to deliver.”

The Republican party is even less popular than Trump himself, as is Congress as a whole. Despite majorities in both houses, the GOP has accomplished almost nothing of its legislative agenda. Most victories for Trump are the fleeting sort executive orders bring. That makes Ryan’s (and Trump’s) interpretation plausible.

Santorum had a different interpretation. Appearing on CNN on a panel analyzing the results, the former Pennsylvania senator blamed Trump’s “Twitter bombs” and “personal attacks”, arguing that “it is hurting him” and the Republican Party. (“Everyone is telling him that.”)  He went on to say that the voters who were turned off by Trump in Virginia, not because they were opposed to his agenda, but because they were opposed to the way he demeans others in public. That doesn’t include his treatment of the media, which Santorum believes goes over very well.

While Santorum acknowledged the lack of legislative accomplishment, he alluded to promises made by Trump in that regard, implying that a lack of leadership on the part of the president was at least in part responsible for Republicans having nothing to show for their nearly ten months of control of the federal government. In other words, the buck stops in the Oval Office.

Ironically, prior to Trump’s election, Santorum sought to appeal to the same working class voters Trump did, adopting unusually protectionist economic positions for a Republican. He validated Trump’s popularity in debates as well. By contrast, Ryan kept his distance from Trump for some time, and even easily fought off a supposedly Trump-like primary challenger, before ultimately embracing the inevitability of the Donald. Now the two appear to have flipped in where their locate the blame and aim their criticisms, and thus how they see Tuesday’s results.

Perhaps the answer simply is that all politics is local. That at least appears to have been the case in New York and New Jersey. Everyone wants to read the tea leaves in Virginia though, hoping to gain some insight into the future of the Trump presidency and Trumpism. Personally, I think it’s doubtful that this one case study can tell us much. What do you think?

Evan McMullin: From Never Trump to Never Gillespie

Evan McMullin must be looking to expand his brand.  Since his #NeverTrump shtick failed to impress Jeff Zucker enough for MSNBC to give him a show, it looks as if the erstwhile conscience of conservatism has moved on to attempted sabotage against other Republicans.  Or, as McMullin himself tells it:

Marketing 101, Evan—the sequel almost never does as well as the original, especially when nobody went to see the original in the first place.  Besides, #NeverGillespie just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Still, you have to give McMullin some credit—at least he’s not afraid to fall on his face, as his original campaign to play spoiler between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton shows.  But if that campaign went over like the New Coke of politics, this one seems more like Crystal Pepsi:  misbegotten from the start and incompetent in execution, yet so inconsequential in the scheme of things that it will scarcely be remembered.  If Northam wins, nobody will think that McMullin had anything to do with it.  And if Gillespie wins, McMullin will simply become the punchline in another joke.  It’s all downside, bruh.

I am left to wonder about this whole “white nationalism” angle, though.  As shades of pale go, Evan McMullin ranks at the extreme upper end of the spectrum.  He’s like a stockbroker who does a karaoke version of “Bust a Move” at his office Christmas party and trips all over the lyrics before the end of the first verse.  His idea of gangsta is less Tupac Shakur and more Vanilla Ice.  For him to call anyone out for being too Caucasian is beyond me.  If I didn’t know better, I’d swear the Latino Victory Fund hired McMullin to come up with that pickup truck ad.  Of course, if Evan had done it, he probably would have added “Just-a Good Ole Boys” to the soundtrack to make sure that everybody got the point.

On the bright side, however, at least he makes everyone who reluctantly pulled the lever for Donald Trump feel better about their vote.

NEW: Top Charlottesville newspaper endorses Gillespie for Governor

Just days before Virginia’s much anticipated gubernatorial election is set to be held, Charlottesville’s most prominent newspaper has endorsed Ed Gillespie.

The Daily Progress notes the former RNC Chairman of Virginia earned their endorsement for his detailed economic policies that have “has the best chance of leading Virginia to a brighter economic future.”

“Mr. Gillespie’s overall philosophy is that a wise government should support the conditions in which businesses can thrive and in which Virginians can to keep more of their hard-earned money — a premise with which we agree.”

“Mr. Gillespie would promote regional approaches to development, such as GO Virginia; emphasize technology growth, including the tech and bio-tech business accelerator projects in and around Charlottesville; push for “workforce transformation” opportunities to help workers qualify for today’s jobs; collaborate with schools and universities to improve workforce readiness; enact policies to help Virginia businesses capture more venture capital; and advance efforts to create ready-to-build sites throughout Virginia, since many industry prospects are seeking such locations — and competitor states are providing them.”

Gillespie has been gaining grounds over his Democratic opponent and current Lieutenant Governor in recent weeks, leading many to believe the race will be much closer than anticipated.

The election will be held on Nov. 7.

Rubio breaks with GOP, slams House Tax Plan

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL.) said on Thursday that House Republicans are not working hard enough in their attempts to help working class families.

“House #TaxReform plan is only starting point.But $600 #ChildTaxCredit increase doesn’t achieve our & @potus goal of helping working families,” Rubio tweeted.

The former 2016 presidential candidate teamed up with First Daughter Ivanka Trump to boost tax credits to help middle class families.

The proposed GOP plan would increase the child tax credit from $1,000 per child to $1,600 per child.

In an op-ed for Breitbart in August, Rubio called the current $1,000 tax credit “inadequate and inaccessible to some working class families.”

“As the party of working families, Republicans must not let this opportunity go to waste. We must ensure comprehensive tax reform includes specific and meaningful tax relief for parents. After all, families are the fundamental building blocks of our communities, and the health of our society depends on families being able to provide safe and secure homes, raise active citizens, and love their children unconditionally in ways no other social institution can. Families are how values are passed on from generation to generation. We simply cannot have a strong nation without strong families.”

Rubio instead argues the credit should be increased to $2,500 per child, applying it to both income and payroll taxes. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has also sponsored this proposal.

Ralph Northam Deserves to Lose in Virginia Next Tuesday

Current Virginia Lieutenant Governor and Democrat nominee for Governor Ralph Northam is desperately fishing for votes, so his campaign is issuing one defamation attack after another to paint his opponent–Ed Gillespie–in the most egregious terms to win.

The latest attack, an ad issued by a pro-Northam SuperPAC called Latino Victory US, depicts a man in a truck adorned with a Confederate flag and Gillespie bumper sticker targeting kids of different ethnic backgrounds. You can find the ridiculous ad below:

https://twitter.com/latinovictoryus/status/924972736996364289

Here’s more on the ad:

“The ad, titled “American Nightmare,” shows a large pick-up truck with a Gillespie campaign sticker, a ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ front license plate, and a huge Confederate flag on the back, chasing down a group of minority children, including a Muslim girl wearing a hijab, an African-American boy, and two young Latinos.” 

But these acts of desperation aren’t working on voters despite what Northam’s campaign is saying. They have even turned off the editors of major influential publications here in Virginia. For reference: Gillespie recently won the endorsements of the Winchester StarInside NoVA, and yes, Richmond Times-Dispatch.

This comes at the heels of a flier painting Gillespie as a Neo- Nazi sympathizer in wake of Charlottesville.

Moreover, former Hillary Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon mocked Gillespie and defamed his character by unsurprisingly conflating his campaign with the reprehensible Charlottesville protest.

However muddied the president’s statements on Charlottesville were, Gillespie provided a clear contrast by  immediately condemning the August gathering:

“Having a right to spew vile hate does not make it right. It is painful to see these ugly events in Charlottesville last night and today. These displays have no place in our Commonwealth, and the mentality on display is rejected by the decent, thoughtful and compassionate fellow Virginians I see every day. I know we all appreciate the law enforcement officials maintaining order and protecting public safety there.”

All eyes are on the Commonwealth of Virginia these next few days as voters in our state prepare to elect a new governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. As expected, this election cycle–Virginia boasts elections every year–was nasty. I cannot wait for the ads to disappear from local TV and radio markets here.

Given the pace of the election, polling, and key endorsements, Ralph Northam is likely to lose–and he should. He is an extension of the unaccountable McAuliffe administration gaslighting its constituency to think Republican policies kill people or make our state worse off. Northam wants voters to believe he’s far removed from what’s transpiring down in Richmond, but cannot divorce himself from it no matter how many TV or radio spots paint him as this rosy, compassionate doctor. This is the same administration in Richmond whose Attorney General illegally rescinded concealed carry reciprocity (but failed), has scaled back on abortion clinic heath regulations, has produced zero percent GDP growth in our state, has economic boondoggle after boondoggle resulting in millions of taxpayer dollars lost, and has allowed MS13 to metastasize in many Virginia suburbs, just to name a few prime examples.

Virginia is a conservative state when you exclude hubs like the immediate DC-area suburbs, Richmond, and portions of Hampton Roads. If you watch election returns for every statewide election, you know Northern Virginia–particularly Fairfax and Arlington counties–decide the fate of elections here. The map is overwhelmingly red up until the final returns. (Many Virginians believe more of the vote shares in NoVA will go to Gillespie this year.) The folks here are mild-mannered, self-reliant, God-fearing, and cling to their guns. This is a Southern state, no matter how many entrenched government workers or rabid Democrat consultants keen on turning the state blue are. Virginia has been mired with a storied past, but is doing its best to move into a better future. I’m proud to call this state my adopted home for the last five years and hope others in disaffected blue states come here to make a new home.

I have no qualms voting for Gillespie and the rest of the ticket next Tuesday. I hope you join me in doing so to getting Virginia moving in a positive direction again.

OPINION: Gillespie: Challenging Virginia’s Kids to Greatness

I had the opportunity this morning to attend the Superintendent’s Business Breakfast, sponsored by SPARK – “Supporting Partnerships and Resources for Kids” – which is the Prince William County School’s Education Foundation. As a member of the business community here in Prince William, as well as a mom of three girls, two of whom are currently attending Prince William County Public Schools (Kindergarten and First Grade), I am honored to serve on both the SPARK Board and to serve as Treasurer of the Smart Beginnings Greater Prince William Coalition. Smart Beginnings works to provide resources for kindergarten readiness and preschool education for children 0-5 years of age in Prince William, Virginia. The SPARK Board provides, among many things, innovative grants to PWCS schools for excellent programs like robotics and STEM/STEAM initiatives, using dollars received from partnerships with the business community, through advertising and other support.

As a mom, as a part of the business community in Virginia, and a member of these two education-focused boards, I appreciate Gillespie’s education plans for Virginia. His detail-specific proposals to improve the education system for all Virginians stand in stark contrast with Lt. Governor Ralph Northam’s assertion that children from different backgrounds should be held to different standards. I was appalled when I read that in The Washington Post. To limit a child’s potential because of their zip code or home life is unacceptable, and it does a disservice to the incredible children and educators in our community, including Hamish Brewer, an award-winning principal who is bringing national attention and recognition to our County for the way he has worked to transform both Occoquan Elementary and now Fred Lynn Middle School. Mr. Brewer tells his middle schoolers in a video featured on FreeThink (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKt9CslbVsg) that “we are not here to be average, we are here to be amazing.”
“Poverty is not a learning disability,” Brewer told the Washington Post in an article from July 2017. He believes (and so do I) that we have to move away from archaic notions in education and “show that any student can learn, regardless of circumstances.”

After four years in a leadership position in our Commonwealth, Mr. Northam still has no plan. He had no answers when asked about the broken Standards of Learning (SOL) system. It is, indeed, as the Post stated, the “soft bigotry of low expectations.” When we expect more of our kids, when we challenge them to excel above their circumstances and achieve their potential, they see themselves in a different way, and they grow. We see that change reflected in the work that Hamish Brewer has done in Prince William, and in the way he expects the best from “his kids.” We, in turn, should expect more from our elected leaders.

Ed Gillespie’s plans to cut the achievement gap in half in ten years and advance school readiness for at-risk children will ensure that all Virginian children will be held to the same standard, because he knows they must be prepared for the same standard. Every child, including my three young daughters, will be better prepared for the demands of the 21st century under an Ed Gillespie governorship.

After Poor Primary Performance, Ed Gillespie May Need A Trump Strategy

Former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie gave Republican insiders a scare when he barely survived the GOP gubernatorial primary contest in Virginia last month.

Despite polls indicating a strong first-place finish, Gillespie scraped by with a 1.2 percent win over Corey Stewart, a former state chairman to the Trump campaign. Now Washington GOP insiders are worried about Gillespie’s chances in the general election against Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam. Many of them are reportedly pushing Gillespie to take on veterans of the Trump campaign team to win over the rural voters who went for Stewart.

Gillespie entered the race to become Virginia’s next governor as the clear front-runner in the GOP primary. He comes with a serious resume: former Republican National Committee chairman, former counselor to President George W. Bush, a juggernaut fundraising operation, etc. Gillespie has already proven he can do well in Old Dominion. In the 2014 mid-term elections, no poll or pundit had his Senate bid on their radar. On Election Day, however, Gillespie surprised the political world by finishing less than one percentage point behind Sen. Mark Warner, a popular incumbent and former governor of the state.

So this Republican primary was supposed to be a cake walk for Gillespie, right?

This is no doubt a populist phase in the American electorate. The success of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders has proven that. Corey Stewart – the current at-large chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Prince William County – was able to capitalize off populist sentiment and nearly snatched Gillespie’s presumed coronation.

Taking note from the man who successfully won the White House, Stewart earned himself free media attention with strong statements and seemingly strange behavior. He even nicknamed his opponent “Establishment Ed.” Stewart strongly supported the preservation of Confederate monuments in Virginia and he spoke of the ills of illegal immigration – two things Gillespie was timid to cover while on the campaign trail. The result: Stewart finished barely a point behind Gillespie. The mini-Trumper’s performance in the rural center of Virginia nearly rocketed him to victory.

Gillespie shocked the country in 2014 with his near win. This year, he shocked the country yet again – it was just a more disappointing-type of surprise. GOP leaders, now scared that Gillespie’s operation doesn’t have what it takes to defeat Democrat Lt. Gov. Northam, are pushing him to adopt a Trump-like strategy and win over the voters who went for Stewart.

The Washington Post released an in-depth story on the push to go Trump. The day after Gillespie’s poor primary showing, a group of Republicans asked Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign manager, if he was willing to advise the gubernatorial candidate. Lewandowski was reportedly down to help. However, Gillespie, wanting nothing of it, flatly rejected the offer.

Still, insiders want the Republican gubernatorial nominee to adopt new tactics to win over the Trump-Stewart voters. Other suggestions have been to tap other Trump operatives – some who helped the president win the Rust Belt states that catapulted him to the White House. Likewise, advisers are whispering to Gillespie to get more bombastic on the campaign trail. Gillespie ran a noticeably safe primary campaign. He avoided the subject of Confederate statues; avoided the topic of Donald Trump; and deflected on harsh rhetoric regarding illegal immigration by repeatedly saying he wanted to be a governor of “all Virginians.”

GOP leaders want Gillespie to get tougher on the campaign trail and make a better outreach to the Virginia voters that went to the polls for the president.

The strategy does come with hiccups. Gillespie is not exactly Trump’s biggest fan. Easily placed into the “establishment” column of politicians, Gillespie did not publicly get behind Trump’s candidacy until after he clearly secured the Republican presidential nomination. Gillespie still avoids talking about Trump during his stump speeches.

Also, Virginia is a bona fide swing state (that looks to be turning bluer by the year). No Republican has won statewide office in Old Dominion since 2009. It was the only Southern state to go Hillary’s way in 2016. Trump’s approval rating here sits at a dismal 36 percent. This isn’t exactly the best state to emulate the bombastic Republican president. The strategy can work wonders during a GOP primary, but a general election is a whole other animal.

Gillespie undoubtedly will have to walk a fine line if he wants to be Virginia’s next governor.