Most of Blue Virginia’s readers are Democrats, of course, but I’m a big believer that we need to know what Virginia Republicans are thinking, if for no other reason than to help us figure out the best ways to beat them. 😉 For instance, I’m always curious what the folks at Virginia’s three main conservative blogs – Bearing Drift (mainstream conservative, Republican, basically “never Trump”), The Bull Elephant (far-right, Trumpster/”Tea Party” all the way), and Bacon’s Rebellion (anti-government, anti-immigrant, anti-climate-science, right-wing) – have on their minds.
Along those lines, the Bearing Drift folks yesterday posted their “First Zoom Townhall,” with “writers and editors Brian Schoeneman, DJ McGuire, M.D. Russ, Mike Allers Jr., Matt Colt Hall, and Andrea Epps [and Lynn R. Mitchell]…participating in the discussion and sharing their political insight and expertise.” And a very interesting discussion it was! See below for the video, followed by highlights from the discussion.
What direction is the Republican Party of Virginia going? Has it “hit rock bottom?”
The consensus seems to be that the VA GOP has *not* hit rock bottom, that the party isn’t a “big-tent party,” etc. As Michael Allers put it, the VA GOP has a “CHAZ problem,” in that “a part of it has been held by radicals with unrealistic demands…a good 35% is holding the rest of the party hostage.” DJ McGuire pointed out that the last time the VA GOP had a statewide primary, Corey Stewart was the winner, so the extremism isn’t limited to just a small % of the party. According to McGuire, the party is about “grievances” and “emotional catharsis,” and that kind of a party “enjoys losing elections more than winning them.” Allers noted that “not one person was willing to call Corey Stewart a racist on stage or a white supremacist or say…get out of here, you’re not welcome in the party; we treated him as a serious contender, we gave him space and a lot of people were afraid of his supporters…quite frankly, you can’t be held hostage by these people.” D.J. McGuire made a superb point, that “the one elephant in the room that we haven’t talked about is the President of the United States; how can you condemn Corey Stewart on a Republican debate stage for the things he says when the president of the United States says things that are similar or in fact worse? So the fact of the matter is, the room that Corey Stewart and folks of his ilk have within the party – whether they’re just selling out to the racists or whether they are actually racist – comes from the room given within the party by the President himself, and all of the people who voted for him in primaries and the people who refuse to even consider any challengers to him in the primary this year.” Bingo!
Amanda Chase’s racist comments about Sen. McClellan
Matthew Hall nails it: Chase “said some incredibly racist things insinuating that because Senator McClellan is part of the Black caucus of the legislature, that she doesn’t represent quote/unquote all Virginians. And I’m starting to wonder if Amanda Chase is George Wallace in a skirt…I’m starting to really get concerned that…we’re wrapping ourselves in Confederate flags and we’re not presenting a message for everyone, we’re presenting a message for the white evangelical person in Southwest Virginia and we’re not presenting a message for all Virginians. And if we don’t present a message for all Virginians that everyone can get behind, we’re doomed.” Hall adds that Chase is “unelectable” and that other Republican potential 2021 gubernatorial candidates need to be aggressive in calling Chase out.
Potential 2021 GOP candidates for Governor?
Amanda Chase, Rob Wittman, Pete Snyder, Barbara Comstock. Bill Carrico? George Allen? Bob McDonnell? Bill Bolling? Ken Cuccinelli?
Potential 2021 GOP candidates for Lt. Governor or Attorney General?
D.J. Jordan (LG)? Barbara Comstock (LG)? Glenn Davis (LG?) Bill Stanley (AG)? Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant?
How many think Donald Trump will win reelection?
None of them think he *will* win, only one – Andrea Epps – thinks it’s even possible (depending on the economy) he’ll win.
Potential 2021 Dem candidates for Governor?
The focus seems to be on Terry McAuliffe or Jennifer McClellan. The question is whether McAuliffe is “too conservative” for today’s Democratic Party or whether there will be a big push to get past “the old white guys.” Chris Saxman thinks McAuliffe “wins it pretty handily…because I think you’ll have a lot of people dividing the ‘not Terry’ vote.” There’s also question about whether McAuliffe will, in the end, run for governor. The belief seems to be that Mark Herring won’t run for governor. The comments about Jennifer Carroll Foy is that she’s “one to watch,” but that Democratic insiders “just don’t like her…they say she’s overly ambitious, she wants something but doesn’t give it back...she’ll ask for donations but she won’t give endorsements.” Also some discussion about Lee Carter throwing his hat in; the Bearing Drift folks don’t take it seriously at all.
Potential 2021 Dem candidates for Lt. Governor or Attorney General?
Jay Jones (AG), Shannon Taylor (AG), Mark Herring for reelection as AG? Also Del. Hala Ayala (LG) and Elizabeth Guzman (LG)?
5th CD GOP “Fiasco”/”Corrupt Mess”
“Definitely pay-to-play going on.” They all agree that the process was corrupt. Matt Hall said he doesn’t think Bob Good can unite the party. Saxman said whether or not Good gets on the ballot will be a “determining factor” in whether Riggleman runs as an independent or not. Some discussion that the results in VA05 had less to do with policy (e.g., same-sex marriage) and more about “the dysfunction of our party apparatus in putting all the control over who gets to run for office in the hands of a small number of people.” Most don’t think that Good would be on the ballot, although Saxman disagrees. There seems to be a belief that if Riggleman runs as an independent, with Good not on the ballot, Riggleman will win.
The belief seems to be that it’s going to be tough for the Republican nominee – probably Nick Freitas – to beat Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D). Lynn Mictchell points out that Spanberger has an “army of women behind her.” The question is how many will turn out for Trump and vote downballot for the Republican nominee for U.S. House. Michael Allers thinks Spanberger holds it “by 2 or 3” points. The question is whether Trump voters split their ballots or not.