So What The Hell Happened In Virginia?
Initial pre-coffee thoughts.
Before we engage in any kind of post mortem over what happened in Virginia last night, some perspective:
For the every spicy take on Virginia you read (CRT is the new southern strategy, all politics is education politics, etc) spare a thought for the electoral thermostat. The WH’s party has lost *all but one* VA gov race since the 1970s. That’s a 1-11 record. @SteveKornackipic.twitter.com/N7IiWVMLmV
— Derek Thompson (@Derek Thompson) 1635901357
Look at that chart. The only time Virginia, with its weird elections that happen one year after presidential elections, elected a Democratic governor with a Democrat in the White House was 2013, when Terry McAuliffe was elected during Barack Obama's second term. Look what a squeaker that was. Look how many gabillions of points Republican Bob McDonnell won by during Obama's first term in 2009.
There's been a lot of talk about whether Virginia is really the blue state we all thought it was. For presidential politics, we think it probably is. But the fact is that several states that are blue for the purposes of national politics are fuckin' weird when it comes to state politics. Maryland, Massachusetts, and Vermont have Republican governors, and those are some blue fuckin' states. New Jersey is hanging on by a thread. Also blue.
But yeah, the wingnut Glenn Youngkin has beaten Terry McAuliffe, a boring candidate, to be the new governor of Virginia. The margin is minuscule, and not at all like the other GOP margins you see in the chart above when Democrats are in the Oval Office and Virginia's electing a governor. The state also elected its first lieutenant governor who's a woman of color, and its first Latino attorney general, but of course, they are both Republicans. If you'd like to read a discussion from some very smart people of color about that, go here.
Also looks like Republicans took control of Virginia's House of Delegates. By one seat.
A bad night in Virginia in every way imaginable. We're just glad the Virginia state Senate wasn't in play last night.
In other news, it does look like Democrat Phil Murphy should barely hold on as governor of New Jersey, but that one's still too close to call. ( CNN explains that New Jersey, another blue state, often does the same thing as Virginia with its governorships vis a vis the party in the White House.) Eric Adams is the new mayor of New York City. Boston has for the first time elected a woman and an Asian-American to be mayor, and her name is Michelle Wu. (Boston's acting mayor, Kim Janey, was the first woman and first Black mayor, but she wasn't elected to the position.) And there was other good news too! We probably will talk about it some more today!
But back to Virginia, what caused this? Well, let's all look into our crystal balls and make some shit up, since it just happened last night and we're still absorbing it.
The first thing we're gonna say is white people. When bad things happen in America, it's always a safe bet it was white people. And we are probably going to hear quite a bit in the coming days about white people who voted for Joe Biden but then voted for the anti-abortion homophobe Youngkin.
And related to "white people," there's the thing about how Republicans have this insane media infrastructure where they get to just blowhole racist dogwhistle bullshit into the air, and they do seem to have found something with this white supremacist panic over "critical race theory," something none of them can define but they know it sounds scary because Republicans and Fox News say it's scary.
Also, Donald Trump actually did stay away from this race for the most part, aside from calling in to some rallies, which allowed Glenn Youngkin to play to whatever audience he was around at the time, being the absolute garbage human wingnut he is when he could, but also probably appearing "moderate" to some of the swing voters he needed.
And it couldn't have helped that because of bloviating shitbags like Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, the Biden administration has accomplished ?????
Oh yeah, and Terry McAuliffe is boring and sux, did we mention that he is boring and also sux?
Finally, there's the part about how there are probably stupid people in a lot of countries but the United States absolutely has the market cornered. We got rid of Donald Trump just 12 minutes ago, and American democracy is literally under attack by enemies foreign and domestic — but mostly white supremacist and domestic and spelled "G-O-P" at the moment — who want to make it nigh impossible for anyone who's not a white property-owning man to vote. That any place that voted blue last time would already be back to flip-flopping between parties while they jerk off and channel-surf is insane .
But that's how dumb this country is.
That said, this from Chris Hayes seems right:
To my mind, it’s a very evenly divided country, with a powerful and relentlessly on-message right wing media, a unified D government at Federal level which makes for a good target of backlash and a Current Situation that feels very uneasy.
— Chris Hayes (@Chris Hayes) 1635900392
So that's where we are, or at least that's our initial pre-coffee read of what happened. And at the end of the day, the answer will probably still be "white people."
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