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April Moore’s Loss to Mark Obenshain Illustrates GOP’s “unchecked path to become as dark and as unhinged as it wants without losing its base of support”


I think the following Facebook comment by Andy Schmookler is an excellent one, well worth reposting here (bolding added by me for emphasis). Andy is, of course, referring to his wife April Moore’s recent run for Virginia State Senate, in the overwhelmingly Republican 26th district (e.g., it even went 61% for E.W. Jackson, about as crazy and extreme a candidate as is imaginable in the USA) of scenic, rural northwestern Virginia. In this election, Moore (D) won 31% of the vote, after being outspent about 9:1 by incumbent State Sen. Mark Obenshain (R). This compares to Mark Warner’s 33% in that district in 2014 and Mark Herring’s 35% in 2013. Of course, Democratic turnout tends to be proportionally lower in off/odd-year elections like 2015, and again, Moore had almost no money, so the fact that she did almost as well as Mark Warner and Mark Herring is not too shabby. 

I’d also agree with Andy that April was far better than a “mediocre Democratic candidate,” as she articulated Democratic values about as skillfully as they can be, yet lost by around 2:1 (just like Warner and Herring) regardless. The point is, it really doesn’t seem to matter what you say, how you say it, how much money you spend, how extreme the Republican is (in this case, Obenshain is about as hard right as they come) or anything; the bottom line is that Republicans will simply pull the “R” lever regardless. Which is why Andy argues that the results of this election “demonstrate in stark and dramatic terms how impermeble the right-wing bubble is in our time.” For anyone who cares about the future of our state, country, and/or planet, that’s not a comforting thought…

About April’s campaign, I just posted this on LikeTheDew (a website for progressives in the South) in response to a comment from the editor there asking me to convey to April his congratulations to her for running:

“I have indeed passed along to April your congratulatory message. She did a really fabulous job as a candidate. This was reflected in the high level of warmth and good feeling and enthusiasm with which she was received by so many people in this senatorial district in Virginia. Really thrilling to see how people responded to her obvious kindness and caring and integrity.

“It is also true that she probably only got an additional one or two percent of the vote than would have been received by a mediocre Democratic candidate in this 70-30 Republican district. As I see April’s campaign as virtually a limiting case — I can’t see how a more powerful and persuasive case could have been made to Republican voters as to why this was one time they should vary from their habitual party loyalty and vote for April and against the incumbent who is really not representing their interests or values — the results demonstrate in stark and dramatic terms how impermeable the right-wing bubble is in our time.
“No matter what the Republican Party becomes, or what the Republican official they have elected does, these “conservative” voters are about as likely to vote for a Democrat as a Protestant is to start going to a mosque or a Catholic to start going to a synagogue.

“It has become virtually an irrevocable commitment, and thus appears to give America’s “conservative” party an unchecked path to become as dark and as unhinged as it wants without losing its base of support.”

Need further evidence for what Andy’s saying in that last paragraph? I present to you…2016 Republican frontrunners, extremists all: Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio. Case closed.

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