Rarely would anyone on this side of the fence agree with the Washington Post concerning a political analysis or view on Virginia’s GOP. However, the Editorial Board gives a fairly convincing argument–at least enough for good debate and comment.[read_more]
Yesterday, The Post’s View via the Editorial Board published an article titled, “Virginia’s GOP moves further away from democracy.”
THE FIX was in from the start when Virginia Republicans picked their ticket for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general in 2013.
Hard-line conservatives who control the state party apparatus decreed that the nominations would be determined not by primaries but by a convention, a mechanism well suited to limit the number of participants.
The statistics quoted are very revealing. I was there, in fact, I believe all of TBE editors and contributors were there. But, where was everyone else?
In the event, just 8,000 of the Republican faithful showed up — representing perhaps half of 1 percent of the party’s sympathizers in the state — and the right-wing ticket they picked was swept in the fall by the Democrats, who held much more widely attended nominating primaries.
While those statistics are sad but true, here is a more revealing and extremely disturbing FACT
The defeats were part of a GOP losing streak in Virginia’s statewide elections. Despite being evenly divided between the two major parties, Virginia has not elected a Republican to any statewide position since 2009, nor has it elected one to the U.S. Senate since 2002.
The Post’s assessment:
That string of losses has coincided with venomous internecine divisions in the Republican ranks, in which hard-liners generally have prevailed by forcing nominating conventions, most of which have yielded hard-line candidates. A notable exception was the GOP convention that nominated Ed Gillespie , a pragmatic candidate for the U.S. Senate last year; he was defeated by Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, the incumbent, but narrowly.
And, moving forward:
Rather than rethinking that losing strategy, Virginia’s conservative activists now seem inclined to double down on it. They are pressing for the GOP to hold a convention rather than a state-run primary to choose a presidential nominee in 2016.
That move would be designed to favor more ideological candidates, such as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas or Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, and handicap more moderate candidates, such as former Florida governor Jeb Bush.
In addition to giving more extreme candidates a leg up, the effect would be undemocratic. Tens of thousands of moderate Republicans — the sort of voters who might go to the polls for a primary but are unlikely to travel dozens or hundreds of miles to a convention — would be excluded.
Tens of millions of Americans might not be committed to one party or the other, but surely most would favor more participatory elections and more moderate candidates. By pressing for a process that would produce neither, hard-line Republicans are pursuing a losing strategy — not just for themselves but also for voters.
The question, whether you agree or not, seems to be, how do we change that FACT that Virginia has not elected a Republican to any statewide position since 2009, nor has it elected one to the U.S. Senate since 2002? Will doing the same thing, over and over, gain the same results? At end, it makes absolutely no difference who wins the primary–if they can’t win the general then coming close is not something Virginia republicans should be proud of, great effort or not.
Read the full editorial HERE.