Dem VA Primary Political Prognostications

2021 Virginia Election info. Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate candidates. Political resources, events for progressive Virginians.By Frank Blechman

We are in the middle. To cite just a few examples, we are in the middle of the COVID pandemic, the economic recovery, the political realignment, the emergence of leadership by generation X, mainstream religious disaffiliation, media redefinition, new sexual role options, and global climate change.

The Romans noted the middle (the ides, the 15th) of every month) as a hinge on which events turned, for better or  worse. Julius Caesar’s wife warned him not to go to the Senate, saying “Beware the Ides of March.” He went anyway, and was assassinated. We like to think that we are bold and modern, like Caesar. We’re not superstitious. We may flirt with the fates, but we do not submit to them.

Nonetheless, polls suggest that most Americans don’t feel confident that, as individuals, they can have much influence on the future direction of any of the big transformations mentioned above. I have written in several recent columns about how bad I am about foreseeing which way trends will go, or when a steady trendline will suddenly change. I have reported on my fascination with Nicolas Taleb’s explorations of how unlikely events (what he calls ‘black swans’) are often seen as impossible, until they happen, of course. Just two weeks ago, I bemoaned that most voters weren’t paying much attention to the statewide political nominations coming up in just a few weeks.

So, as we approach the “Ides of April,” I will foolishly make totally ungrounded predictions (not endorsements) about the results of the June 8 Democratic primaries for statewide offices.

Attorney General. I predict that current AG Mark Herring will win the primary with over 60% of the vote. His challenger, Jay Jones, would make a perfectly good AG, but is not well known around the state, got into the race relatively late to challenge an incumbent, and hasn’t been able to raise enough money to overcome these issues. Jones got the endorsement of Gov. Ralph Northam, a nice consolation prize that says more about the governor and his relationship with Herring than about Jones. Herring has done a good job advancing progressive causes, particularly civil rights, immigrants, and LGBTQ protections. He has left few major avenues for other Democrats to attack.

Lieutenant Governor. I predict that Delegate Sam Rasoul of Roanoke will win the nomination in this crowded field with as little as 30% of the total vote. Hala Ayala, Elizabeth Guzman, and Andria McClellan will each have regional support, but will split the voters seeking a woman for this office. Similarly, Mark Levine, Sean Perryman, and Xavier Warren will split voters seeking progressive champions for certain issues. Rasoul, the first Muslim in the Virginia General Assembly, may seem an unlikely winner. Yet he has demonstrated an ability to raise significant money, charm audiences, and stands a bit apart in the strange geometry of this race.

Governor. I predict that former governor Terry McAuliffe will win the nomination with less than 50% of the vote. From the day he left office in 2018, T-Mac signaled that he was not done with politics. He flirted with various national roles, and even enjoyed being named as a possible presidential candidate. He spent the last two years traveling around the state, championing progressive issues, helping others get elected, and maintaining his foundation. Once T-Mac formally filed his candidacy for reelection after the November 2020 elections, he immediately showed his ability to raise more money than anybody else, by far. His recent endorsement by Governor Northam is just icing on the cake. Nonetheless, this is not to say that everybody in the Democratic party loves him and is eager to attend his second coronation. Jennifer Carroll Foy was the first to formally enter the race, and used that advantage to raise significant money. Jennifer McClellan followed, demonstrating a credible ability to organize a statewide campaign. But McClellan and Foy, as able as they each may be, are too similar in positions and style. Voters ready for a woman of color in the big chair, of whom I think there are many, will split their votes between these two. Lee Carter and Justin Fairfax have never gotten the traction they hoped for, or believe that they deserve.

If these predictions are correct, the Democratic ticket will be all white male, and heavy on Northern Virginians. This is unfortunate. There is a lot of evidence that voters are sick of old partisan divisions and eager for new leadership. Women, and particularly women of color, have demonstrated that they are entirely ready to take on these jobs.

If these predictions are correct, the Democratic ticket will be all white male, and heavy on Northern Virginians. This is unfortunate. There is a lot of evidence that voters are sick of old partisan divisions and eager for new leadership. Women, and particularly women of color, have demonstrated that they are entirely ready to take on these jobs.

The saving grace for Democrats is that the GOP seems likely to nominate a less attractive slate. It appears that the GOP will have their own supply of white males, ideological extremists, and rich rookies.

As Bette Davis famously said (as Margo Channing in All about Eve, 1950), “Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

 

 

#     #     #



Categories: elections, Issues, Local, National, politics, State

Tags: , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: