The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Fairfax (United States) (AFP) – Democrat Terry McAuliffe eked out a narrow victory late Tuesday in the Virginia governor’s race, U.S. networks projected, in a contest which could have major implications for the 2016 presidential election.

McAuliffe’s win marks a bitter defeat for Republican Ken Cuccinelli, the state’s attorney general whose campaign was backed by the Tea Party, the conservative movement in the nation’s political spotlight for its small-government, anti-tax positions.

The win could also serve as a talisman for President Barack Obama’s Democrats, who see an opportunity in Virginia’s changing demographics and frustration with the Tea Party to make the traditionally Republican state one of the key battlegrounds of 2016.

“What a great night, everybody,” McAuliffe told supporters in the state’s northern, high-tech suburbs, which he counted on heavily in his win.

Virginia is perhaps the most closely watched U.S. election of the year. The state’s changing demographics, rural-suburban split and significant military and government employee populations make it a litmus test for the political mood of a country steaming toward the 2016 White House race.

McAuliffe has never held elected office, but he is a consummate party insider and close ally of former president Bill Clinton — and, perhaps more importantly, of Hillary Clinton, who is seen as a likely Democratic 2016 candidate.

Both campaigned with him, as did Obama.

Cuccinelli is a fiscal conservative, but his far-right stance on social issues such as abortion alienated even mainstream Republicans in his party.

“I think we’ve seen across the country that people reject extreme messages, and if Republicans hope to have a shot of winning in any general election, they’ve got to stop with the Tea Party message because it just doesn’t resonate,” federal contractor Kellen, a Virginia Republican who said he voted for write-in candidates because he was disgusted with his party’s ticket, told AFP.

Kellen, who declined to give his last name because he works with federal agencies, and other Republicans looked to New Jersey’s Chris Christie, whose less strident position on social issues sits better with Republicans who believe the election should be more about jobs and the economy than abortion or gay rights.

Christie romped to re-election victory Tuesday in New Jersey, making him perhaps the nation’s dominant Republican in the runup to the next presidential race.

A Christie win combined with a Cuccinelli loss will go far to solidify the argument that Republicans would be better served with ditching deeply ideological candidates and sticking with pragmatists like Christie for 2016.

And yet one thing the result clearly was not was an outright rejection of Tea Party values.

Cuccinelli lost by only two percentage points, a far closer race than anticipated in part because he painted Democrats as supporters of the health care law whose troubled rollout over the last month may yet prove to be a political liability for Obama’s party in coming years.

The narrow margin of defeat may end up emboldening Tea Party conservatives to stand their ground in the mid-term elections of 2014 and beyond.

“Conservative Republicans will certainly take heart that Ken Cuccinelli did better than expected,” University of Virginia politics professor Larry Sabato told CNN.

AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Peggy Nienaber

YouTube Screenshot

Peggy Nienaber may provide her own downfall thanks to hubris. Rolling Stone revealed on Wednesday that the Christian fascist, who serves as vice president of the nonprofit anti-abortion group Faith & Liberty and serves as hate group Liberty Counsel’s executive director of D.C. Ministry, was caught bragging about praying with Supreme Court justices. While appearing on a livestream she didn’t realize was being recorded, Nienaber confirmed that she prays with some of the justices inside the Supreme Court itself.

“They will pray with us, those that like us to pray with them,” Nienaber said, adding with a laugh, “Some of them don’t!” This claim was backed up by the founder of the ministry that ultimately got absorbed into Liberty Counsel. Rob Schenck, who used to work alongside Nienaber, but has since renounced his actions. Yet from the late 1990s onward, he prayed with Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia in the Supreme Court itself.

Keep reading... Show less

Gov. Ron DeSantis

YouTube Screenshot

'We're not seeing a whole lot of common sense in his policies. He tends to toss aside serious ideas about climate change as just left-wing politics,' said Sierra Club Florida political director Luigi Guadarrama.

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has been energetically whittling away at civil rights in his state, pursuing anti-LGBTQ policies, pushing intolerance and censorship in schools, and restricting voting rights.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}