It’s the grand irony of politics. Ed Gillespie almost lost the nomination because of statues. Now, he may win the governorship…because of statues.
Ed Gillespie, a prohibitive early favorite to win the 2017 Virginia Republican nomination for governor, barely hung on for a razor thin victory over Prince William County Supervisor Corey Stewart. The reason he almost lost: Stewart’s defense of Virginia Confederate statues.
Almost 200,000 Virginia Republicans voted for Stewart because they wanted someone who they thought would fight for them, regardless of the cause. The preservation of Confederate statues and monuments became a symbol to tell elites in Washington and Richmond that their infatuation with political correctness had run amuck.
Now in the general election against Democratic front-runner Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, Gillespie is poised to pull the upset and break the Republican’s statewide seven year election losing streak. The reason: his defense of Virginia confederate statues.
Northam’s total collapse to the whims of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s (D) presidential ambitions – he reversed his previous position and called for the removal of all Confederate statues and monuments in Virginia – is a potential death knell blow to a listless campaign that is focused on running out the clock.
McAuliffe, who will run for President in 2020, wants to be the Niki Haley of the Democratic Party.
Haley, the former Republican governor of South Carolina, called for the removal of the Confederate battle flag that flew over her state’s Columbia capitol for over 150 years in the wake of the Dylan Roof Charleston Church massacre.
Haley’s steadfast position burst her onto the national scene. She is now U.N. Ambassador.
Enter Terry McAuliffe, stage Left: Renaissance man.
McAuliffe wants to go to Iowa and New Hampshire as the epitome of a new and revitalized Democratic Party: a record of jobs creation and economic revival in a southern state and the first governor of Virginia – of all places – to call for the removal of all confederate statues and monuments.
It’s a campaign right out of Bill Clinton’s triangulation strategy. “I created jobs and tore down monuments. I won a southern state. I stand with working people and progressives.”
So the Virginia governor, seizing on a political opportunity for 2020, called Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney – who owes his job to McAuliffe – and told him to reverse his position on Confederate monuments in Richmond.
Like a good soldier, Stoney promptly capitulated. That left Northam in no man’s land. He aptly followed suit, and called for all Confederate statues and monuments to be removed from Virginia.
While this is a brilliant strategy for McAuliffe’s Presidential ambitions, it’s a disaster for Northam’s gubernatorial race.
According to a recent Marist poll, a majority of Americans – including Virginians- don’t want the statues removed:
- 62 percent of Americans believe statues honoring leaders of the Confederacy should remain as historic symbols.
- By a 44 to 40 percent margin, African Americans said statues honoring leaders of the Confederacy should remain as historic symbols.
- 65 percent of Latinos said statues honoring leaders of the Confederacy should remain as historic symbols.
The fact is, many people believe forces of the far left and political elites in Richmond and Washington are trying to enforce their political agenda on the American people and erase statues of historical and cultural significance that they disagree with. To many average Americans of all ideological stripes, it feels Orwellian and Soviet-esque.
Exacerbating the matter is the fact that many on the left chased this issue down the proverbial rabbit hole, and as usual, have taken it to an extreme.
- New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is calling for a review of “all symbols of hate,” leaving open what symbols might actually be removed.
- A pastor in Chicago wants a park that is currently named after George Washington and Andrew Jackson renamed and a statue of Washington removed.
- CNN commentator Angela Rye said after Charlottesville that statues for George Washington and Thomas Jefferson “all need to come down.”
- Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is pushing for Confederate statues to be removed from the Capitol building.
- A VICE magazine tweet called for the blowing up of Mount Rushmore
- At multiple universities across the country, students have called for the removal of Thomas Jefferson statues.
- Georgia Democratic candidate for governor Stacey Abrams wants to whitewash Confederate Stone Mountain carving.
- ESPN 3 bounced a sports caster from calling a UVA football game because his name is “Robert Lee.” He’s a second generation Asian American who’s parents emigrated from Korea.
It is inexcusable that some people have decided to take action into their own hands, vandalizing statues that they disagree with, like we just saw in Baltimore with the Christopher Columbus statue. In Chicago, a statue of President Lincoln was beheaded and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington was vandalized just days after Charlottesville.
In George Orwell’s 1984, one of Orwell’s characters warns of how,
[E]very book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building have been renamed, every date has been altered…and that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped.”
What About The Numbers?
Most analysts say the Republican candidate for governor can’t win in Virginia in 2017 based on historical trends and shifting demographics.
I have a different take.
Approximately 2.2 -2.4 million Virginians will vote in November. Gillespie needs 1.1-1.2 million votes to win. 1.7 million Virginians voted for Trump in 2016. So Gillespie needs about 65 percent of Trumps’ turnout to show up on Election Day to win.
While his campaign is not overly inspiring to the Trump core base, the statue removal position of Northam is now a boomerang. Once again, the Democrats overplayed their hand. They are aggravating average voters, who don’t like to be called racist just because they are opposed to having the nation’s history erased.
Gillespie, for his part, is talking jobs, economic development and policy, while Northam’s campaign has one overplayed mantra: “Trump sucks.”
In 2013, McAuliffe defeated GOP candidate for governor, Ken Cuccinelli, by a mere 2 percentage points. This was in the face of a government shutdown (not happening in 2017) and no money from the Republican National Committee or Republican Governor’s Association at the end of the campaign.
I now rate Gillespie the favorite.
Wait a minute – McAuliffe is no defender of the working class! He disdains them as much as the average liberal elite. Remember – the Trump voters also want the statues to remain and he’ll get no traction with them in a nationwide campaign. McAuliffe the job creator? Virginia is just as dependent on the federal movement as it has been for the last 30 years. Finally, the truth will come out about Charlottesville – the co-conspirators in officialdom are already running for the weeds! For God’s sake – we now know that he was giving advice to the mayor and that the city manager was on vacation. If you believe a police chief in a city manager form of government would never take orders or do the bidding of elected officials you are incredibly naive.
This is terrific to hear. I absolutely concur that Virginia Republicans should follow this course and make monuments the number one issue in the upcoming campaign. Spend heavily on it, make it more important than everything else. Fredericks must be correct, he has an uncanny track record — he did, after all, predict TBE-favorite Joe Morrisey winning the 2016 Richmond Mayoral race:
“Joe Morrissey, defying all odds, wins on the first ballot. “Fightin’ Joe,” written off as road-kill by the so-called professional politicians and pundits ten times over, will be Richmond’s next mayor.”
“Here’s how he does it: Morrissey needs to win five of Richmond’s nine precincts to win a first ballot (no runoff) victory. If no one carries at least five districts, Richmond voters choose their next mayor in a run-off between the two highest popular vote finalists. Morrissey is poised to win four precincts going away: three, five, six, and eight. He is currently polling slightly ahead in district seven.”
“There are a plethora of viable candidates running, which divides the anti-Morrissey vote. The theory of one or more dropping out to stop Morrissey is remote. All any of the other candidates need to do is hold
“Fightin’ Joe” to four districts on November 8, finish second, and best him in a runoff. So why would anyone abandon their race? Neither scenario is likely, and Morrissey could even win a December run-off, as his voters are very motivated.”
As Fredericks wrote:
“Joe wins. Get over it.”
Likewise Corey Stewart and Ed Gillespie. Fredericks is the MAN! Follow him to victory. A master Trumpian tactician.
Yeah I got that one wrong. That’s why I’m just 95 percent, and not 100 percent. Thanks!
That’s it RINO — bring on the hate and let it flow. Nothing could be better for the RPV. You are a unifier, brother. Keep doing my work for me! I’ve been hoping more haters would join me and one another in one big bonfire of hate!
You are correct. This will give Gillespie the win.
To a degree, McAuliffe can get away with it. He’s a damned Yankee! Northam is a Southerner with a Southern accent. He’ll be seen as a traitor.
Thank you sir!
John, I like your radio show, but your aren’t being honest in this article. Northam has not done what McAullife and Stoney have; he hasn’t demanded the removal of the monuments completely. In fact, he said they should be moved to museums. If you are going to take the time to write this kind of post, at least be completely accurate with it.
It amounts to the same thing and Northam should be ashamed of himself for even going half-Taliban on this issue. Gillespie at least has the excuse of being a Carpetbagger… Northam doesn’t.
Symbolically it’s the same – but I’m not making excuses for John Fredericks.
It would be nice is Ed’s TV ads were a little less boring. At least he could point out how Va. has dropped from first in rank of “Best State for Business” and continues to fall,or something like that. That boardroom ad. does not do anything.
It would be easier to make this claim if Gillespie wasn’t also a PC driven and absolutely fine with implying we are racist yahoos for wanting to protect our heritage. That he is (maybe) slightly better than Northam on this issue does not mean he is in the right.
Regardless of your angst, does this mean you will not vote for Mr Gillespie?
Nominally real question bc that is the gist of the posting. (imho). Does Mr Gillespie have a better shot to win the election now, not whether like him or agree with his previous stances.
I will drag myself into the voting booth and begrudgingly cast my ballot for squishy, establishment Ed. With a sob in my throat that it wasn’t Stewart on the ballot instead.
But with a light heart, I am consoled by the thought of stalwart Stewart winning that idiot Kaine’s Senate seat. And Stewart fighting for President Trump’s agenda to #MAGA.
Yes, much better chance now.
I am hoping he releases a revised statement because the last one sucked and did not in any way indicate he understands what is actually going on. Northam’s stance certainly doesn’t make me any more likely to support him. Gillespie’s stance on this issue does make me less likely to support him.
He is either going to going to stand up to the PC crowd or he is not. He is either going to call them out for their Taliban-esque destruction of history or he is not. And his bullshit stance of trying to thread the needle by trying to claim federalism requires him to allow localities to choose (while totally missing the point by bringing up Jim Crow and Loving) is not going to cut it. If we can’t trust him on this, we certainly can’t trust him on other issues that liberals are likely to call him a Nazi on.
So is that a yes or a no? That’s all that really matters.
The rest is just white noise at this point.
The rest is not white noise and whether that turns to a yes or no will depend on Gillespie. I certainly have plenty of reason to not vote for Northam but Gillespie has given me no reason thus far to vote FOR him.
I just worry Quinnipiac or the Washington Post will come out with some poll that over-samples Democrats and shows Northam up by 15 and then the RNC pulls out.
I don’t think our Virginia Chairman of RPV would let that happen.
No he wouldn’t because Ed is establishment and one of them.
I don’t either. I think he realizes that it was a huge mistake when the RPV did that to Cuccinelli.
RPV NEVER pulled out on Cuccinelli, RNC did.. Big difference.
RPV did too.
Fake News AmyH. RPV did their job.
Yes, sorry for the typo.
Assuming you are referencing the past as the future. Still makes me mad every time I think of it. Got stabbed in the back. Braveheart comes to mind with the clan chiefs turning their backs and walking away, but without the satisfying revenge.