GOP Loss in ‘Blue’ Virginia is No Big Surprise

Establishment Republican Ed Gillespie lost the governor’s race in Virginia to moderate Democrat Ralph Northam by a big margin, 9 points. This is no big surprise. Virginia has become a liberal state. Period.

Gillespie was never a compelling candidate and was polled far behind, but late in the race he had surged and had Democrats very worried. Some polls showed Gillespie ahead or just slightly behind. The scale of his loss surprised everyone, including

Gillespie lost due to heavy turnout by blacks, who support Democrats and the Welfare State overwhelmingly; and by hundreds of thousands of government bureaucrats from Washington, DC who inhabit ritzy suburbs in Northern Virginia and who live lavish lives on the taxpayer dime. These bureaucrats are truly DC Swamp Dwellers. They hate anybody who works for a living out in the real world, and they despise Trump.

These two groups can be counted among the least productive populations of Virginia. The people who do the hard work generally vote Republican. This has been an ongoing problem for Republicans and conservatives. Democrats “buy” votes using Everyone Else’s Money and always have. It is shameful.

Governor-elect Ralph Northam ran on a moderate platform, beating a far-left challenger in the primary.

In New Jersey Democrat Phil Murphy won the governor’s election easily as he was expected to do. The unpopularity of Republican incumbent governor Chris Christie pre-ordained that outcome.

This Virginia win has another significance for Democrats – it relieves them for a few days from the bottomless finger-pointing that had been going on in their party since election day 2016.

In 2009, those governorships in Virginia and New Jersey were both won by Republicans one year after the election of Obama and pre-saged the loss of the US House by Democrats one year later. Then again, Obama was re-elected in 2012. So there.

Gillespie almost won a US Senate seat in Virginia in 2014 and so the scale of his loss came as a big surprise to everyone.

Gillespie has never held elective office in Virginia, while his opponent was the state’s sitting lieutenant governor. This obviously helped Northam. Gillespie could be seen as “the guy who ran because nobody else wanted to”.

Gillespie once had been chairman of the Republican National Committee and is a former lobbyist.

Virginia was a reliably Democratic state for more than century after the Civil War. During the 1960s and 1970s it shifted to a generally Republican state. It now is called “purple” but to be perfectly honest, it now is “blue”. It has two Democrat US senators. Northam’s win reinforces that. Hillary Clinton won Virginia by 5 points in 2016. Obama won Virginia twice.

Then again, states that were considered pretty liberal over the last few decades like Wisconsin, Michigan and to some extent Ohio, have moved to the right. So the map has shifted in both directions.

This election could be seen as a referendum on president Trump but you cannot take that too far. It also could be seen as a referendum on Republicans for failing to get moving on the Trump agenda. Many commentators, including have supported Republicans for years but have expressed outright disgust with many in the GOP for their “establishment” war against president Trump. This feeling may have rubbed off on Gillespie.

I wrote recently that if I lived in Wisconsin that I would vote for the Democrat candidate over House speaker Paul Ryan in order to get rid of Ryan. This feeling may have had an effect on Gillespie, who is really a Bush-type Republican and could be called something of a Swamp Dweller. This is why president Trump did not actively support Gillespie except through internet comments. The deal cuts both ways. has spoken out strongly against the Bushes recently too. And thus the loss by Gillespie may be a sign that Republicans had better get behind Trump or face big problems in 2018 in their own party.

The Fake News media also have had an effect on voters. Their drumbeat of relentless criticism of Trump has harmed the president and the Republican party.

Still, Democrats should not get too confident. They are in terrible shape. Infighting in their party is breaking out into open warfare. Meanwhile 33 out of 50 governors or governors-elect now are Republicans.

At the same time the vastly improved economy under president Trump is being ignored by the media. This helps Democrats, which is a sad commentary on our times.

Political pundits will say that this election is a referendum on Trump. That is not necessarily true, although Virginia could be seen as a warning sign that the media ‘war’ on Trump is doing damage, which we all knew.

To those Democrats who might puff up their chests over Virginia, here is a recent poll from CNN:

Only 37% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Democrats, down from 44% in March of this year. A majority, 54%, have an unfavorable view, matching their highest mark in polls from CNN and SSRS, CNN/ORC and CNN/USA Today/Gallup stretching back to 1992.

Look at that drop of 7 points just since March, and historically low numbers for Democrats since way back in 1992.

And who has been president of the United States since March?

Oh, right. Donald Trump. So don’t read too much into the Virginia election. There are many factors involved.

Then don’t forget how much Republicans have won since election day 2016. As the old saying goes, “You can’t win ‘em all…” Virginia shows that.

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