Politics in Virginia


English: Mark Warner, member of the United Sta...

Mark Warner, member of the United States Senate from Virginia since 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I enjoy reading about happenings outside the beltway.  I have lived inside the beltway for over 50 years, and sometimes we think everyone is paying attention to national politics the way most of us “inside the beltway” types do.  Chris Cillizia of the Washington Post writes in today’s Post that social issues are not as important to national politics, as seen from the average ‘outside the beltway’ voter viewpoint, as it appears here in the Washington DC area.  According to the polls, says Cillizia, and despite the late night pundits, most voters will not decide on their choice for president next fall based on abortion, contraception, bullying, or dogs.  As James Carville pointed out in the first Clinton run for president, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Furthermore, the election will be decided by about 15 percent of voters.  This is because the rest of the voters are already committed to one candidate or the other, the candidates are tied, and the dedicated are not likely to change their vote.  So it all comes down to Independent voters

The rhetoric about social issues is designed to rally the base according to most pols. Independent voters are not persuaded by propaganda from either side. In fact, Cillizia says, 90 percent of the public does not care what Mitt Romney did when he was fifteen (in the 1960s, he sat on and cut the hair of a boy he saw as a “hippie.”)

The other point is that because the electoral college decides who wins (remember Bush vs Gore?) the election comes down to several swing states.  Virginia is just one of those seven or so swing states.  The destiny of Virginia in the next election boils down to the northern Virginia area known as NOVA, which includes the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, and Loudon, and the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, and Fairfax.  Within this cluster, Fairfax County has the largest population, and is the least predictable. 

Fairfax has swung left and right in recent years (voting for both Bush and Obama). Fairfax is the home of the CIA and Fortune 500 companies, and it has a large multiethnic population, but it also boasts a fairly well-off population of millionaires of Korean, Vietnamese, Asian Indian, Arabic, and others.  Many of these folks made their millions the hard way, by running small businesses.  They care about the economy and other fiscal issues, and they don’t want their taxes raised.   

The situation explains why the “brave” men and women in Congress and Mr Obama will wait until after the election to decide the fate of the Bush tax cuts.  Oh, did I mention that many Republicans and Bush supporters still live in Fairfax County? 

Fairfax County has lost about 3500 registered voters since the last presidential election according to one news source (Karl Rove http://www.rove.com/appearances/1689). These voters were probably folks who lost their homes in the ‘Great Recession’ and many of them came from socio-economic backgrounds that favored Democrats. 

The fact that our state legislature turned Republican in the last election, and our governor, lt. governor, and attorney general are all Republicans is a clue as to how Virginia has been moving politically in recent years. In all the years I have lived here, I have never seen Virgina so conservative. (Remember, Virginia elected the first Black governor, Governor Wilder back in the 1970s.) 

Our Blue Dog Senator Mark Warner (D) is not running for re-election in the fall, but former governor, Tim Kaine (D), is running for the seat Jim Webb (D) is vacating. At present, Kaine and his opponent  former Senator George Allen (R) are tied for the job.

I was a Democrat for years, but usually split my ticket for local elections.  I have come to think of myself as an Independent in recent years because I honestly don’t know how I will vote in the fall.  I want to vote for Obama, but the Dodd-Frank law and the Health Care Act were passed without much input from fiscally responsible Virginia Republicans like Eric Cantor, and that bothers me. As a result, some things that should have been included, like tort reform, were overlooked.  Also, I don’t think we need any new unfunded programs.  Expecting the “rich” who already pay 50% of all taxes to up their contribution won’t work either.  Thus, I don’t like either of the aforementioned laws as they stand.  However, mend them, don’t end them, I say.  

The deciding factor for me will probably be my loyalty to Mark Warner (who mostly shares my views). Warner is a fiscal conservative and former business man, and was the best governor Virginia ever had.  He is also campaigning for Kaine. Left-wing Democrats tried to stop Warner when he ran for the office of governor, and they really tick me off.  I am no longer a knee-jerk Liberal. 

Although he currently supports Mr. Obama, Warner is a friend to Mitt RomneyWarner always says the right thing…this week it was “stop attacking private equity firms like Bain Capital.” 

 Who knows which way the cookie crumbles, but social issues don’t matter as much as taxes, the economy, coal and off-shore oil development to most Virginians. 

10 thoughts on “Politics in Virginia

  1. I tend to vote straight D ticket till it comes to local elections, then I often split. I started out Independent but being banned from primaries made me chose.


    • That’s what happened in VA…sort of. We are allowed to vote in one primary or the other, but don’t have to affiliate with a party to vote in the General election. I didn’t vote in the Republican primary this year, and the Democrats did not have a primary, so I didn’t vote this past year. I will vote in the General election, however, and may split my ticket…again. I would have to hold my nose to vote for Obama.


  2. Our Calif. votes likely won’t have an impact on the Pres. election, but I think Ohio is another state that will. You know what is said about no one has ever been elected President who didn’t also win Ohio. Our Primary is in June, with a number of issues and interesting elections. I think all the social issues that are tossed out there are part of deliberately introduced divisive tactics. Your view of how everything will shake down is interesting.


    • JoAnn, Romney must win Virginia, NC and FL. The betting at present is that the latter two will go Republican, so it comes down to VA.

      Ohio might have mattered a lot at one time, but I believe Ohio lost Congressional representation following the last Census (most of the northeastern “Blue” states including NY lost representatives), while the Southeastern states, including the “Red” states of Georgia and Florida acquired them.

      The newscasters probably won’t call the race until later in the evening (after the Bush-Gore fiasco, they are more conservative about this), but some states are “must win” states and most of them lie on the East Coast.


  3. Oh, how I truly hate politics. This time, because of local crap advertising, I am going to vote for the Republican Gay Lady District Attny. Local politics here smell awful. I can’t even tell who the Democrat is.
    Now what ever gave you the idea that I would buy all that stuff. I got rid of it once, and my goal isn’t’ to add to the pile again. Yes, I have a set of blue desert dishes. I certainly don’t have to have more.Less is more in my case. 🙂


    • You have to do what you have to do. Very important to get local good government, it may be the only place we have a say-so.

      As for the dishes, no, I didn’t really think you would buy stuff you unloaded. I am pan buying again, however. I have time to cook now that I am out of school.


  4. Like you, I’m a political moderate — about 60% Democrat, 30% Republican, and 10% None of the Above. But as you point out, your vote will count in Nov., mine won’t. I’m in NY which always goes Dem. for Pres. (although, interestingly often votes Reps. into state and local offices.) Just for the record, I was against Andrew Cuomo for gov., only because his father was gov. and it seemed so undemocratic for his son to take over the office. But now, I like him. So go figure. (P.S. Sounds like you will vote for Kaine over Allen . . . which seems like the “moderate” thing to do.)


    • Yes, I will probably vote for Tim Kaine over Allen (I have sent Tim $$). David is for Allen and plans to work for the Republicans again. We don’t talk politics too much. ha ha.

      As for Cuomo, I heard he had turned out pretty well. He seems to be a fiscal moderate and not as far to the left as his dad was.


  5. No, the two Warners are not related. Mark won his seat as a Governor because his last name helped him. That is he was elected because many folks who would not have voted for a Democrat (and he is a Yankee from Indiana) did so when they saw his last name. He turned out to be the best governor we ever elected.

    Hawaii has many millionaires.


  6. Is Mark Warner related to John Warner, the senator who married Elizabeth Taylor — or do I have those names mixed up?

    I think the USA is better off economically than Europe is. That’s because the US promoted growth whereas Europe passed austerity measures that stunted growth. I am not much of an economist, but it seems we in Hawaii are doing well. No one in my extended family and large circle of friends is suffering financially. Good for us, I guess…


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