Terry McAuliffe is the clear choice for governor of Virginia. He is a moderate who understands business and has contacts across the nation that will help Virginia move forward. McAuliffe has the best positions on a number of issues that directly impact the daily life of Virginians including spending more on community colleges and he strongly supports more funding for transportation to ensure Virginia has the infrastructure needed for the future. He supports full equality for the LGBT community and a woman’s right to control her own healthcare decisions.
Looking at the race from a different perspective, some consider the best thing to come from a McAuliffe victory would be a stake-in-the-heart of the Virginia Tea Party. Defeating the Tea Party’s standard bearer Ken Cuccinelli and electing Democrat Ralph Northam over E.W. Jackson for lieutenant governor and Democrat Mark Herring over Mark Obenshain for attorney general, Virginians could actually advance the cause of national sanity. The three Republican candidates are the most right-wing ever foisted on Virginia voters. Polls clearly show Cuccinelli and his running mates, who have spent years fighting against the rights of minorities, women and the LGBT community, are finding that most Virginians consider them out of the mainstream.
As the election moves into its last days, the Tea Party is preparing to lose and lose big to Democrats. Some Republican moderates who have been jumping ship still blame the anticipated loss on a poorly run campaign rather than admitting it’s the policies and ideas promulgated by Cuccinelli and his supporters that are to blame.
On the national level, Cuccinelli’s and the Tea Party’s loss will be a resounding defeat for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) both part of the cabal that forced the government to shut down and were willing to let the country go to the brink, or even over the edge, to default. When the gubernatorial election began, Cuccinelli believed they would be a plus for his campaign and worked hard to have Cruz campaign in Virginia. By the time he arrived, Cuccinelli had to back away and tell reporters he would tell Cruz and Cantor how bad the government shutdown was for Virginians who were hurt more by it than those in any other state.
For many years, Virginia has been a purple state. But never in recent history have Virginians elected a governor from the same party as the president. They seemed to pride themselves on rejecting the party in power in the White House. That will change this year. President Obama won the state twice and Northern Virginia is growing at a rapid pace and those voters are mostly Democrats. They are changing Virginia politics and with the help of opponents like Cuccinelli and his right-wing, out-of-the-mainstream acolytes, they will turn the state blue. A Democratic governor will help in the mid-term congressional elections as well as future state legislative fights.
Virginia is home to hundreds of thousands of government employees, both civilian and military, and government contractors. While many of these individuals are moderates and have voted either independent or Republican in the past, the anti-government rhetoric that is aimed at them by the Tea Party will begin to have an impact on their voting patterns. You can only be attacked verbally for so long before you respond and the way to do that is at the polls. These men and women who work for the government either directly or indirectly through contractors are serving their nation. Those in the military are being asked to risk their lives for the nation. The shutdown impacted all of them directly. Veterans didn’t get benefits on time, some mortgages went unpaid, and their children’s education was put at risk.
Voters have begun to realize that Tea Party leaders like Ted Cruz, Eric Cantor and the likes of Sarah Palin are talking out of both sides of their mouths. They vote to close the government and then complain when veterans can’t visit the World War II Memorial. They threaten default and then wonder why the military gets hurt, 401k investments tank and interest rates rise.
It is time for moderate policies and sane politicians to again assert themselves. It is time to vote out all the fanatics and by electing Terry McAuliffe and rejecting Cuccinelli, Virginia will take the first step toward doing this next Tuesday.