In Northern Virginia politics it is still 1997.


"After losing Virginia's governorship for the first time in eight years, some Democrats are trying to console themselves that Virginia is at its core a "red" state. This ignores not only that they won back-to-back governorships but also that Democrats defeated a sitting senator in 2006, took control of the state Senate in 2007 and won an open Republican Senate seat and three House seats in 2008 while carrying Virginia's electoral college votes for the first time since 1964. "  Ed Gillespie


" Some Democrats?"  I suppose Ed Gillespie means people like me (see my previous post on the election)  No.  I am not a Democrat.  I am one of those independent libertarian conservatives that Ed's party no longer attracts very much.

His assertions about past Democratic victories in Virginia ring hollow to me.  As I wrote previously Gillespie's party nominated unattractive candidates for governor several times.  That is how they lost those elections.  Jim Webb did defeat the egregious George (Macaca) Allen to win a senate seat, but even in that uneven contest Webb, a genuine war hero and former Republican only won by a few thousand votes.  Mark Warner, a quintessential Virginia gentleman easily triumphed over former governor Jim Gilmore for the US senate seat left open when John Warner retired.  What a surprise!  Gilmore is the man who hand picked Mark Earley to be the Republican nominee for governor in the election in which Mark Warner became governor. Gilmore tried a number of jobs after leaving the governor's mansion in Richmond.  None of them worked out very well and Mark Warner finished him off in the senatorial election.  RIP.

It has been continuously asserted by Republican "strategists" that demographic change in Northern Virginia has changed the balance in Virginia politics forever and that as a result the real contest in Virginia politics is for this new and exciting factor (that is, the Yankee Northern Virginia vote)

Strangely enough, the graphic posted above and provided by the Washington Post indicates that the vote in Northern Virginia this year was exactly the same in political distribution as was the vote in 1997, twelve years ago.

Why is that?  That is an easy question to answer.  Self selection takes place in the way new residents distribute themselves in the Washington metropoitan area.  This happens when people move into the area and later as well when they decide where it is that they are more comfortable.

We "commonwealths" are not everyone's choice of neighbors.  pl

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22 Responses to In Northern Virginia politics it is still 1997.

  1. par4 says:

    I’m for a ‘New Deal’ FDR type Dem. Gillespie,Rahm and these other corporate Dems aren’t going to attract my vote anymore either.

  2. lina says:

    Deeds spent all his time trying to appeal to voters who were not going to vote for him anyway. You want to lose an election? Run a crappy candidate. You want Democrats and left-center independents to show up on election day? Run a candidate who appeals to their issues. Deeds was trying to out-conservative the conservative. Losing formula.

  3. Patrick Lang says:

    IMO it remains true that if you want to win state wide elections you have to run centrist candidates. IMO it is also true that unless the republicans screw up as they have repeatedly, the default victor in virginia is a Republican. pl

  4. Andy says:

    Col. Lang,
    I lived in Virginia for a time during my Navy years, but don’t know much about the politics there. It’s curious, though, how many in the progressive elite continue to talk about the GoP “southern strategy” with the implication that southern white people are inherently racist and therefore vote Republican (ie. the “racist” party). This stereotype infuriates the southerners I personally know (all of whom are serving in the military) so it would be interesting to hear your take on this.

  5. lina says:

    Col.: You might be right.
    However, why would anyone under 60 in Loudoun County come out to vote for Deeds?
    “. . . the number of registered Virginians who voted for governor in 2009 was 53% of the number who voted for president in 2008.
    And who didn’t go vote? . . .the Virginia youth vote — a critical piece of the “new majority” key to electing Democrats in Southern states — tracked almost perfectly with the overall decline: Virginia’s under-30 vote dropped by half between 2008 and 2009, while the 60+ vote doubled.
    The same was true for African-American and Latino voters, so critical to Obama’s victory in Virginia last year. According to Nate Silver at, the share of Virginia voters that were voters of color dropped from 30 to 22 percent between 2008 and 2009.
    Without Obama at the top of the ticket, young voters and African-American and Latino voters weren’t motivated — a reality likely exacerbated by Deeds’ distancing himself from Obama and progressives. But older and whiter voters — the ones who didn’t support Obama last year, and who don’t now — made a point of getting to the polls.”

  6. Jose says:

    Another, simpler way to view Tuesday’s results are that in the three major elections the party in power lost.
    The House seat in New York flipped from Republican to Democrat and both Va and NJ both flipped from Democrat to Republican.
    Voters are angry against people in power everywhere, especially Foolbama who cheated us.
    2010 and 2012 will probably destroy the Democrats if they continue to follow Foolbama.
    2014 and 2016 will probably destroy the Republicans if they are a lead Caribou Barbie or Huckleberry Finn.
    Most people are like Col. Lang, independent libertarian conservatives (probably just right-of-center like me) because as we get older or change locations our values change.
    For example, most young adults are pro-choice once they have child switch to pro-life.
    We probably change for the better, unlike our politicians who change for themselves and their funding sources.

  7. Patrick Lang says:

    That does not explain the voting pattern in Northerb Virginia. “Simpler” but not, I think, correct. pl

  8. Patrick Lang says:

    I think you have made my point.
    The youth vote and African-Americans are not a dependable element in the vote here. pl

  9. Patrick Lang says:

    Progressives don’t like conservatives. That makes it easy to call conservatives anything, absolutely anything. pl

  10. mtjy says:

    A lot folks out there (independents, progressives, democrats) are disappointed with Team Obama. Unless Obama & Emanuel got some scheme cooked up for 2010 (i.e. Goldman Sachs executives in handcuffs) expect more losses.

  11. Nightsticker says:

    Colonel Lang,
    I always try to evaluate candidates in Virginia on the basis of their position on the central issues of the day [God, guns, states rights, the 13th, 14th, 15th and 19th amendments, whiskey, dogs, horses, hunting, home schooling, clean waters, small farmers, and foreign entanglements and wars]
    USMC 1965-1972
    FBI 1972-1996

  12. mike says:

    Oh for the good old days when TR in the White House was both a progressive and a Republican. He was also both a hero-of-San-Juan-Hill and a Nobel-Peace-Prize-winner for ending the Russo-Japanese War. And most fascinating to me (as a dedicated elk hunter and tree hugger), he was both a big-game-hunter and a bird-watcher.
    Not that it matters for Virginia, but I wonder where the issues above feature in todays politics in Loudon and Prince William counties?

  13. Patrick Lang says:

    RE is the creature of big money. He is there to protect their interets. pl

  14. lina says:

    My point is that they (the non old and white) can be dependable with the right candidate. Deeds was an “I’m a conservative too” candidate. Again, a better candidate gets a different turnout. Warner was a forward thinking centrist – as was kaine, for the most part. Again, you’ve got the numbers in No. Va., you’ve just got to motivate them. Doesn’t happen with a Deeds type candidate.

  15. Patrick Lang says:

    And my point is that you overestimate the numbers commanded by your side. pl

  16. mtjy says:

    Col – Excellent point on RE. The goal is to perpetuate the status quo.
    Mike – And a little bit of TR’s trust busting too!

  17. Nightsticker says:

    Colonel Lang,
    “because as we get older or change locations our values change.”
    Can it be that his values change everytime his location changes? I do not believe I have ever heard someone express this point of view before.
    USMC 1965-1972
    FBI 1972-1996

  18. Patrick Lang says:

    Yes. I don’t change much. pl

  19. Harper says:

    The Virginia vote, along with the New Jersey and New York votes, it seems to me, clearly reflect a rejection of the Obama Administration’s failure to address the issues most vital to the working and voting Americans. They hate the Wall Street bailout, the job losses despite an $800 billion stimulus package, and the prospect of sending more troops to Afghanistan. It’s all of the above, especially jobs.
    The vote was not good news for the radical right, either. Voters are looking at moderate Republicans, not the Falwell/Robertson clan, as an alternative to the Obama mess. And both parties are losing members like the plague. The poll the day after the Va. and NJ votes showed that 20 percent of voters consider themselves Republican, 33 percent consider themselves Democrat, and 47 percent are independent.
    If Obama was FDR-like, and not Hoover-like, it would have likely been a different picture. Corzine had two big disadvantages: Obama and Goldman Sachs. New Jersey, a solid Democratic state, saw independent voters go two-to-one for Republican Christie. That is a monumental shift.
    At the White House, the three-headed wanna-be Karl Rove–Jarrett, Axelrod and Emmanuel–are fixated on 2012 and Obama’s reelection. They actually think, I am told by someone who has spoken with these clowns, that a GOP win in 2010 midterms would saddle the Republicans with shared responsibility for the economic mess, and would aid Obama’s reelection. This just shows how disconnected from the reality of the suffering of the American people that these spin-meisters are!

  20. Patrick Lang says:

    Have a look at my lecture on Islam on TA. PL

  21. N.Z. says:

    What a lovely crash course on Islam, in a short period of time, you gave your listeners an introduction to Islam and the Near East .
    I truly enjoyed listening to your presentation,especially
    when so much attention is concentrated upon the role of Islam on the stage of contemporary history .
    A lovely book I came across- I was asked to do a presentation on Islam- Islam and the Destiny of Man by Charles le Gai Eaton . I think you will enjoy his poetic style .An excerpt, “”With the fading of imperial power, interest in Islam has revived recently, and the economic influence of oil-rich Muslim states has provided, for the first time in 250 years, a practical motive to understand the Muslim world . There is no lack of information available, but whether this spate of information has provided the keys to understanding – and to empathy without which understanding can only be superficial- is another question .”

  22. Fred says:

    Metro D.C., so close to politics, so far from reality. The youth vote was low? It’s been low for 5 decades. This is an off year election, turnout over all is always lower. It was apparent two weeks ago that Deeds would lose this election. Christy’s win in NJ seems as much a rejection of Corzine as approval for him, especially as Christy’s under federal investigation and may be indicted any day. NY’s 23rd congressional district race is more interesting, not that a Democrat won but that the ultra conservatives drove out the other Republican candidate, with help from the PACs. Very similar to MI 7 in 2006. It will be interesting next year when this district us up for election again.
    I grew up in the south (VA and FL) and served in the navy. I find no such implication of universal racism in talk of the GOPs ‘southern strategy’ (a creation of Nixon in the late 70s). that Andy finds. My experience is that racism (whether practiced by whites, blacks, Hispanics or any other group) is neither universal nor southern. Elitism is pretty damn exclusive, whether practiced by liberals or conservatives. I always found politicians (of both parties) who did not serve were always ready with a glad hand and an empty promise. It was their platitudes I found insulting, regardless of party.
    The one election not mentioned here is the NYC mayor’s race. Bloomberg spent $100 million to be reelected? Just how many jobs could he personally create by investing $100 million? Apparently maintaining his power as an elected official is worth $100 million, investing in America not worth a damn thing. Where’s the condemnation of that?

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