Will Virginia GOP Commit "Mass Suicide" Over "Social Issues?"

Monday, March 8, 2010

Not Larry Sabato thinks it's possible.
... now thanks to Ken Cuccinelli's letter last week telling colleges they can and should have policies that allow for gay employees to be fired for that reason alone- this issue is going to swing right back on the GOP in 2011. Making it even worse for Republicans is they went on record in the full House to kill a proposal preventing this two weeks ago.

I'll have more on this later this week- but by my count this puts 19 of the 61 GOP Delegate seats into peril, with another 4 likely to be added in areas through redistricting that are also put into play. That's 23 of 61 seats, or almost 40% of the entire GOP caucus! The problem the GOP is running into here is not that gay rights is popular statewide (the 06 amendment would still pass today- although by a slightly smaller margin) but that the strength of that support is in areas of the Commonwealth that are losing population and legislative representation while the rest of the state has a large majority looking onto this activity with repulsion.

In short, it looks like Republicans have figured out a way to put their House majority in jeopardy for the first time since taking it in 1999- something House Democrats have been too inept to do on their own.
But wait, you say, something that happened in early 2010 won't have any impact on elections in November 2011, right? Well, yes, I agree that in isolation this wouldn't have much impact. The problem for Virginia Republicans - and the tremendous opportunity for Virginia Democrats - is that this almost certainly will not be an isolated incident. To the contrary, it is highly likely that Ken Cuccinelli et al. will continue and even intensify their crusade against gay people, their assault on global warming science, their refighting of the Civil War on "state's rights," not to mention their trashing of Virginia's education system and quality of life.

Ultimately, Virginia voters are likely to recoil at Cuccinelli's far-right-wing/"Moving Virginia Backwards, Separately" agenda, and to start branding Virginia Republicans as a bunch of crazy extremists. If that happens, then NLS is 100% correct; Virginia Republicans will get wiped out in the Hampton Roads-Richmond-NOVA "urban crescent," where Barack Obama racked up huge victory margins in 2008 and where people don't take kindly to this sort of nonsense. Now, we just need a revitalized and aggressive Democratic Party of Virginia, combined with strong candidate recruitment, to fully capitalize on the Republicans' massive overreach. If all that happens, I agree with NLS that 2011 could be a very good year for Virginia Democrats.