Home Ralph Northam MLK, Jr. Day Massacre (of Democratic Legislation) in the Virginia Senate

MLK, Jr. Day Massacre (of Democratic Legislation) in the Virginia Senate


In the November 2017 election, Virginia Democratic candidates strongly outperformed Virginia Republicans. In terms of Commonwealth-wide, both in terms of the three top races and the total votes for the House of Delegates, the Democratic Party’s candidates outperformed the GOP’s candidates by 9-10 percentage points.  Even though Virginia’s voters clearly (strongly) voted Democratic, the House of Delegates remained (barely) a Republican majority (from a near super-majority of 66-34 to the just controlling 51-49) and the Senate, which didn’t have 2017 elections, remained at 21-19.

Many pundits seem to be taking the election results as a message to the Virginia GOP to cooperate with the Democratic Party and the Northam Administration, to seek “moderate,” “bipartisan” paths forward.  For example, Washington Post reporting on the inauguration emphasized cordiality, bipartisanship, and how Republicans are (seemingly) reaching out to work with Democratic Party politicians.

“Cox and the Republican leadership then approved operating rules that extended concessions to the newly numerous Democrats, giving them proportional representation on committees and subcommittees. In many cases, Cox assigned Democrats to the committees they wanted.”

[Note that ‘proportional’ is, for example, a 11R-6D structure in the key Rules Committee when the House is, again, 51R-49D. Evidently “proportional” means something different to Oxford Dictionary and me than it does to The Post’s reporters and editors.)

Now Governor Northam has taken the massive Democratic Party base enthusiasm as a mandate for pursuing bipartisanship. His inauguration address provided a strong window on this, with his only mention of “Democratic” coming alongside “Republican” for saying — in essence — party labels simply don’t matter for governing.

As Governor, I will draw on these lessons. I will remember that Virginians didn’t send us here to be Democrats or Republicans – they sent us here to solve problems.

When it comes to “solving problems”, the Virginia Senate today dealt with a set of Northam’s legislative priorities — including mild gun control measures that even the NRA recently stated that they were in favor of (banning bump stocks post Las Vegas massacre).

The Senate Courts of (in)Justice Committee (with its “proportional” 9R-6D makeup when the Senate is 21R-19D) killed legislation for:

  • Background checks
  • Bump stock ban
  • Closing gun-show loophole
  • etc
  • etc
  • etc …

Minimum wage increases … eminent domain … gun legislation … you name it … struck down by party-line votes.

Pundits and reporters laud bipartisanship.

Governor Northam embraces and lauds bipartisanship.

And, just as Mitch McConnell in the Senate, Paul Ryan in the House, and Donald Trump in the White House, for Virginia’s Republicans “bipartisan” exists only when Democratic Party politicians are willing to sacrifice their principles and their policy objectives and what the vast majority of public actually wants to go along with Republican desires to satisfy their special interests.

Today, Martin Luther King, Jr, Day, Virginia’s citizens saw a massacre of the moderate and (mildly) progressive policies that they overwhelming voted for in November 2017.

NOTE:  Items like this due to an error in the original post — lost track of what happened with specific legislation and had relied on an email for one item that was incorrect.


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