Why the Virginia Governor’s Race Matters Across the Entire U.S.

Americans are slowly realizing the governor’s race in Virginia is the election with the most significant national ramifications above any other ballot cast this year.

The special elections for Congress in 2017 have been exciting and closer than some Republicans care to admit, but even if Democrats had prevailed in those contests the outcome would not have changed the political landscape now and for years to come.

However, if Republican Ed Gillespie were to defeat Democrat Ralph Northam on Nov. 7 in the Virginia governor’s race the consequences would be stark and potentially irreversible outside of the boundaries of that state and well into the next decade.

Virginia may only be one state, but it is firmly part of the presidential election strategy that Democrats deploy to reach the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House. Along with Ohio and Florida, Virginia and its 13 electoral votes for decades has been part of Democrats strategy of winning two out of those three states to prevail in a presidential election. At the moment, that equation no longer favors a victory for Democrats. The Trump campaign disrupted the “two out of three” strategy when it burned through the Democrats Big 10 Firewall States, winning in one contiguous line from Pennsylvania to Iowa. The 2016 election results makes winning Virginia so much more important for Democrats.

Gillespie would have several unscrupulous options at his disposal to affect the national political landscape by making it nearly impossible for Democrats to prevail in Virginia in the 2018 and 2020 elections for Congress and the presidency. Here are four prime examples of why Democratic and allied independent voters outside Virginia have a lot riding on the governor’s race:

  1. Gillespie Would Sign Legislation Allowing Voter Suppression Laws in Virginia

The Republicans currently control both chambers of the Virginia state legislature, and that is not likely to change in the 2017 elections. So everyone should expect massive voter suppression legislation to come out of the GOP-controlled legislature, which Gillespie immediately would sign. We know this for sure because the Republican-dominated state legislature passed a discriminatory bill earlier this year (and last) that would have suppressed absentee ballot voting. Fortunately Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, was there to veto the effort from becoming law. Expect even more far-reaching voter suppression laws if Gillespie is elected.

  1. Gillespie Would Gerrymander Congressional Districts to Favor GOP Candidates

Thanks to Gerrymandered redistricting in states all around the country, Democrats have suffered a rigged Congress since the aftermath of the U.S. Census and Tea Party wave election of 2010. Virginia was no exception, with a Republican governor taking office back then. So Republicans are frothing at the mouth to gerrymander those congressional seats again, backed by a group that has already disclosed it is raising $35 million to assist the GOP in redistricting after the 2020 U.S. Census. 

  1. Gillespie Would Sign GOP Legislation that Would Rig How Virginia’s 13 Electoral Votes are Partitioned

The state legislature’s House Privileges and Elections Committee passed a bill this year that would have ended Virginia’s “winner take all” system of awarding Electoral College votes. Had it become law, the measure would have required electoral votes to be handed out to presidential candidates based on how many of Virginia’s 11 already gerrymandered congressional districts they had won. GOP sponsors are not shy about admitting publicly they remain committed to trying to rig the electoral votes in their favor.

  1. Gillespie Would Move the GOP a Step Closer to a Constitutional Convention to Rewrite the U.S. Constitution

Republicans, bankrolled by billionaire anti-government, fossil-fuel oligarchs Charles and David Koch, are anxious to alter the Constitution to enforce their extreme agenda. It only takes two-thirds (currently 34) of the state legislatures under Article Five of the Constitution of the United States to call a convention to rewrite the document that is the bedrock of America’s laws. Republicans already own a majority in 32 state legislatures and occupy 33 governor’s seats, so they are getting dangerously close to imposing their will on the majority of the country (it would be reminiscent of Democrats winning the majority vote, but losing the Electoral College). As legal scholar A.H. Neff writes, “…we could face a wholesale reduction or outright destruction of constitutional rights and duties at the hands of a convention of states directed and dominated by advocates for the Koch brothers and their ilk.”

Democrats and independents opposed to the direction the GOP is headed need to consider how the Virginia governor’s race will affect them, no matter if they live in Richmond, VA. or Richmond, CA.



Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply