The Virginia Election Test

Tuesday’s state elections in Virginia: A glimpse into 2020 voter trends.

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Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam gives his second State of the Commonwealth Speech before 140 members of the 2019 General Assembly, on Jan. 9. (PHOTO: Livestream)

For Whom the Bell Tolls

These are certainly strange days in Washington, D.C.

That there have no doubt been stranger- the Civil War springs to mind- is hardly a comfort to those who live, work, and socialize in the long shadow of Capitol Hill.

The Hill has always cast a long shadow in Washington; politics are an everyday feature of conversations in D.C. and always have been. Political polarization has existed in the past, too.

These days in Washington, however, the shadow, the specter, the resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue seems to stretch as far as the eye can see.

For some politicos, journalists and pundits covering the Washington beat, the Washington story is all about impeachment, Ukraine, quid pro quo, the whistleblower and counting down the days until Christmas.

“Christmas” in this case refers to that elusive item on every liberal list to Santa Claus for the last three years; the impeachment and forcible removable of one Donald Trump from the White House. For a happy new year, liberals would prefer Santa’s gift include handcuffs and a lengthy prison sentence.

No one in Washington seems much convinced that any of this will happen, of course. Least of which is Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who seems so confident in impeachment that she is franticly instructing Democrats running for President to stop pandering so far left.

This, Pelosi openly assures a nation of Democrats, will not play well in the election against Donald Trump.

And thus Pelosi tips her hand: She expects Donald Trump will still be in office on election day 2020 and she believes Democrats are in trouble.

She might be right. But luckily for the journalistic class in America, impeachment isn’t the only iron in the fire. Journalists gotta eat, too.

Those not overly concerned with impeachment, or at least those unwilling to entertain such fantasies publicly after the disastrous disappointment of the Mueller Report, have plenty of other hot-button topics to turn into clickbait.

Some journalists, Democrats and Republicans are far more concerned about free speech; as in Twitter’s recent decision to ban political ads from its platforms. Conservatives worry that their speech will be inhibited by silicone valley executives who are, admittedly, leftist,

They may have very good reason Whether Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, will bow to pressure to follow suit is anyone’s guess. Time will tell.

Perhaps it is the upcoming state election in Virginia to which journalists and pundits should be turning their attention. A great deal may be decided by this one tiny election, including the way forward for many 2020 campaigns.

Smart 2020 campaigns are watching Virginia very closely.

Many Virginia Democrats are rightly concerned about how decades-old yearbook photos of Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam, in blackface might play during the election.

This scandal, and Governor Northam’s subsequent failure to resign his office when the damning photos surfaced, will undoubtably dog Democrats into Tuesday’s elections.

But it is worth noting that it is allegations against Northam’s lieutenant governor that are receiving the star treatment in Republican campaign ads.

Republicans would very much like Virginians to remember that Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax has been credibly accused of rape by two women and driven from his position at a law firm by the charges.

The allegations against his lieutenant governor no doubt played a role in Northam’s decision to stay in office. Especially after the third Democrat in line for the office, should both the governor and lieutenant governor prove unfit, admitted to wearing blackface himself.

Will Virginia Democrats be able to recover from these breakdown at the very top of state Democratic leadership?

If Republicans prevail, it will no doubt be cast as an aberration by left-leaning media outlets; a moratorium on the personal failings of the Northam administration, nothing more.

For Virginia Republicans, much more is on the line. If Democrats manage to claim victory in spite of two blackface scandals and a lieutenant governor accused of rape, it will be an ill omen for the RNC.

It is possible that the voters of Virginia will still view their elected Democrats as the lesser of two evils. It is also possible that the Trump economy will be sufficient for voters to overcome any squeamishness about the President’s personal foibles.

One thing is certain: Both Democrats and Republicans will be watching Tuesday’s election closely and all eyes should be turned toward Virginia.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

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