Home 2020 Elections Virginia Political/Policy “Winners” and “Losers”: The Trump Presidency (January 2017-Present) and 2020...

Virginia Political/Policy “Winners” and “Losers”: The Trump Presidency (January 2017-Present) and 2020 Elections Edition

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Traditionally, I do a “winners” and “losers” list after an election. This time, I’m going to shake it up a bit, and reflect back on the past four years of hell with Trump in the White House, PLUS the 11/3/20 Most Important Election Of Our Lifetimes © and how that’s all impacted Virginia politics.

Note that, as always with these lists, this is not meant to be comprehensive, or even CLOSE to comprehensive, as that would be endless, boring, and exhausting. These are just things that jumped out at me and/or that I find interesting, for whatever random (or non-random) reasons. Also, these are NOT listed in any particular order – in large part because I was wayyyy too tired after this election to figure that out, lol! Finally, note that in this context, “winner” and “loser” are all about whether someone objectively “won” or “lost” politically in this election cycle, not whether that makes me happy or not, or whether it’s normatively a “good” or “bad” thing, per se. For instance, in 2009, “winners” included people I despise – Ken Cuccinelli, for instance – while “losers” included tons of great Democrats who I was crushed to see lose.  The reason I mention this is because people often think that the word “winners” is synonymous with “good” and “losers” with “bad,” but that’s not at all what’s meant in this context.

Anyway, with that…please add winners and losers of your own in the comments section. Thanks.

Winners

  • Female/diverse candidates in the Virginia General Assembly: The flip side of having a horror like Trump in the White House was the massive anti-Trump backlash that resulted in Virginians electing a very, very different-looking legislature, including folks like Danica Roem (the first transgender Virginia delegate; elected in 2017, defeating the virulently homophobic Republican Bob Marshall…Roem’s become a star in many ways, not just in Virginia but nationally); Latinas like Del. Hala Ayala and Del. Elizabeth Guzman (both elected in 2017, both now candidates for Lt. Governor in 2021…also note that Guzman delivered the January 2018 Spanish-language response to Trump’s State of the Union address); Del. Kathy Tran (a refugee from Vietnam and the first Asian-American woman elected to Virginia’s House of Delegates); many other diverse candidates, including Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy (now a candidate for governor in 2021); and women, including Delegates Wendy Gooditis, Kelly Fowler, Karrie Delaney, Dawn Adams, Debra Rodman (all elected in 2017); Nancy Guy, who defeated Del. Chris Stolle (R) in 2019; and Shelly Simonds, who defeated Del. David Yancey (R) in 2019, just two years after Yancey’s name was pulled from a ceramic bowl. Other big-time victories by Democratic women in 2019 included Shannon Taylor for Henrico County Commonwealth’s Attorney; Ann Wheeler for Prince William County Board Chair; Phyllis Randall for Loudoun County Board Chair; Abrar Omeish, Rachna Sizemore Heizer, Karen Keys-Gamarra, Laura Jane Cohen, Stella Pekarsky, Melanie Meren, Elaine Tholen, Ricardy Anderson for Fairfax County School Board; Juli Briskman and Sylvia Glass for Loudoun County Board of Supervisors; Adele Jackson and Lisa Zargarpur for Prince William County School Board; etc.  And of course, the amazing Ghazala Hashmi for State Senate, who defeated Glen Sturtevant (R) in November 2019. Congratulations! Increasingly, the Virginia General Assembly is looking more like Virginia – and America – albeit only on the Democratic side…
  •  Renewable energy and the environment: Although Trump’s been a disaster at the national level for the environment, Virginia has made more progress on the renewable energy/environmental fronts in the four years of Trump’s presidency. Among other things, the Virginia legislature passed a bunch of bills strengthening environmental protection in our state, while promoting a clean energy economy. That includes the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), which while far from perfect, represents a massive shift in Virginia energy policy, as well as in the role of Dominion Energy. Note that Dominion Energy, recognizing the new reality, threw in the towel on the fracked-gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline boondoggle, and has moved towards building s***-tons (that’s a technical term among energy geeks, lol) of solar and offshore wind. Yes, there’s still a LOOONG way to go to get to where we need to be, but…wow, what a difference four years made!
  • Latinos/Immigrants: Think back to the 2017 gubernatorial campaign, with the disgusting xenophobia and race-baiting crap from Ed Gillespie (MS-13 is coming to rape and kill you, lock up the wife and kids now!!!), and how much things have changed in Virginia since then. Instead of Gillespie and his right-wing running mates, we ended up with Gov. Northam/Lt. Gov. Fairfax/AG Herring – who are all strongly pro-immigrant. As noted above, we also had the first Latinas elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. And, thanks to Democrats taking back the General Assembly in 2019, we now have a slew of laws in place – the Virginia DREAM Act, drivers licenses and driver privilege cards, prohibiting police from inquiring about the immigration status of victims and witnesses of crimes, etc, etc. As Del. Alfonso Lopez put it back in April, “I would consider the 2020 session the most consequential and important one ever for the Commonwealth’s immigrants and new American communities.” And that’s because Democrats took control of Virginia’s government, in part thanks to an anti-Trump backlash, and moved aggressively to enact a progressive agenda.
  • Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA02): Elected narrowly in the 2018, anti-Trump “blue wave” midterms, Luria was just reelected by an even bigger margin, again over Republican Scott Taylor. This resulted in part from Luria being an excellent Congresswoman – smart, hard working, a focus on constituent services, being bold in calling for Trump’s impeachment, getting the most enacted bills of any of the 111 freshmen in the 116th Congress, etc. Just incredibly impressive…great work!
  • Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA07): After defeating the odious Rep. Dave Brat (R) in 2018, Spanberger was just reelected over Del. Nick Freitas (R) in a tough, “purple” district. That alone makes Spanberger a “winner.” As for Spanberger taking on progressives in the party, whether or not you see that as a positive or negative thing (I’m not a fan of it, and in general think Dems need to stay unified against the serious threat from Trumpist extremism), Spanberger certainly made a name for herself in that way. Spanberger also has become a respected voice on national security matters, not surprising given her background in the CIA working on intelligence gathering on terrorism and nuclear proliferation, etc.
  • Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA10): Flipping VA10 from “red” to “blue” in 2018 was a major accomplishment, after years of the district being (mis)represented by Republicans Frank Wolf and Barbara Comstock. Wexton was just reelected overwhelmingly, and in general has been doing an excellent job, so…definitely a “winner!”
  •  Urban/Suburban Virginia: If you look at a map of Virginia, what you see is that Virginia Democrats keep racking up their wins, cycle after cycle, in urban areas and increasingly in suburbia (e.g., the urban/suburban “crescent” from Hampton Roads to Richmond to Northern Virginia, and increasingly including Henrico County, Albemarle County, Chesterfield County, Virginia Beach, etc.). What that leaves to Republicans is rural Virginia, which simply doesn’t have the numbers to beat urban/suburban Virginia. We certainly saw that this election cycle in VA-02 and VA-07, and also in Mark Warner’s and Joe Biden’s big statewide wins. I don’t expect this trend to reverse anytime soon; if anything, it could continue to grow.
  •  Virginia House Democratic Caucus (former Executive Director Trevor Southerland, former Communications Director Kathryn Gilley, former Executive Director Trent Armitage etc.): Credit for gaining a combined 21 House of Delegates seats in 2017 and 2019 goes to a bunch of folks, including former Executive Directors Trevor Southerland and Trent Armitage, former Communications Director Kathryn Gilley, etc, etc. Nice job!
  • Biden’s early Virginia supporters: Folks who endorsed Joe Biden early and stuck with him have turned out to be vindicated, despite a lot of doubters during the primaries. These include Rep. Bobby Scott, Rep. Donald McEachin, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Mayor Levar Stoney, State Sen. Lynwood Lewis, Del. Joe Lindsey, Rep. Elaine Luria, Del. Mark Sickles, State Sen. Dick Saslaw, Del. Alfonso Lopez, State Sen. John Bell, State Sen. Louise Lucas, State Sen. Lionell Spruill, etc. (Also note, Del. Elizabeth Guzman supported Bernie Sanders in the primary, but once Biden won the nomination, she got on board with Biden, including working on the campaign’s National Latino Leadership Committee)
  • Northern Virginia Democrats: It is now almost impossible for Republicans to win statewide with a fired-up, vote-rich “blue” Northern Virginia. It’s also increasingly impossible for Republicans to win in Northern Virginia. Following the 2017, 2018 and 2019 elections, Northern Virginia is just about solid-blue, from Congressional representation to County Boards to School Boards to…you name it, basically. Also, note that many of Virginia’s most powerful elected officials – Sen. Mark Warner, AG Mark Herring, Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, VA House Majority Leader Charniele Herring, VA Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, etc. are from Northern Virginia.
  • Progressive Commonwealth Attorneys/Criminal Justice Reform: Thanks in large part to the anti-Trump, progressive activist backlash, plus the Black Lives Matter movement and a strong push for criminal justice and policing reform, Virginia saw several progressive prosecutors elected (Buta Biberaj in Loudoun County, Parisa Dehghani-Tafti in Arlington County, Steve Descano in Fairfax County, Amy Ashworth in Prince William County, etc.). There was also a ton of criminal justice and policing reform legislation passed by the Democratic-controlled Virginia General Assembly in 2020 – see here and here for more on that.
  • Sen. Mark Warner: After a very narrow victory in 2014 over Republican Ed Gillespie, this time around Sen. Warner took nothing for granted, worked his you-know-what off and racked up an 11.6-point win over Republican Daniel Gade. Sen. Warner’s also been doing a great job, on *very* important stuff, from our national security to regulation of social media to cyber policy to the “gig economy” to veterans’ housing and suicide prevention to his Great American Outdoors Act, etc, etc. Nice job, and congratulations on your reelection, Senator!
  • Sen. Tim Kaine: He didn’t become Vice President, which would tend to put him in the “losers” category, except…Kaine brushed himself off, got right back on the proverbial “horse” and went to work for Virginia and the nation…doing great work on a wide variety of issues, and working as an effective team with Sen. Warner.  Also, in 2018, Kaine was reelected easily, crushing Republican Corey Stewart by 16 points. Finally, it’s worth noting that Kaine worked really hard – and effectively – in 2018 to help elect Democrats up and down the ballot, including Abigail Spanberger, Elaine Luria and Jennifer Wexton. Thanks!
  • DPVA/Susan Swecker: Democratic Party of Virginia Chair Susan Swecker has been on a winning streak since she became Chair in 2015. Since then, she has presided over a string of victories large and small, including Democrats winning every statewide race, taking back the Virginia State Senate and House of Delegates, winning a slew of local offices, etc, etc. It’s really hard to think of a better DPVA Chair than Susan Swecker, and that’s not a backhanded compliment either. Also, definitely put DPVA Executive Director Andrew Whitley on this list, for all his hard/tireless and effective work. Thank you!
  • Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn: The anti-Trump backlash propelled Democrats back into the House of Delegates majority, after years in the small minority, and also propelled Del. Eileen Filler-Corn to become the first female and first Jewish Speaker of the VA House of Delegates. That’s both historic and “winning” on steroids!
  • VA House Majority Leader Charniele Herring: That same “blue wave” also resulted in Del. Charniele Herring becoming the first woman AND first African-American to serve as VA House Majority Leader. Also historic!
  • Del. Rip Sullivan, Del. Alfonso Lopez: With Democrats taking the VA House majority, both moved into positions of authority – Sullivan as VA House Dems’ Caucus Chair, Lopez as VA House Majority Whip. Also note that Sullivan played a major role in passage of the landmark Virginia Clean Economy Act, while Lopez played a major role in passage of the Virginia DREAM Act, legislation to end driver’s license suspensions for unpaid court costs, etc. Great work!
  • The Resistance, people who marched at the Women’s March, other grassroots progressive groups – existing ones and ones that sprung up following Trump’s election:  All of the energy we saw at the Women’s March in January 2017, after Trump’s election and inauguration, had to be translated into effective, local, on-the-ground and online activity, and there were a bunch of people and organizations that stepped up, from Liberal Women of Chesterfield County to Indivisible to Swing Left to We of Action Virginia to Virginia Justice Democrats to Virginia Democracy Forward to Network NoVA and its Women’s Summit…just too many to mention.  Also, of course, there are many excellent groups that have been working away for years, such as Progress Virginia and New Virginia Majority, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, enviro groups (VA Sierra Club, CCAN, etc, etc.), gun violence prevention groups, etc, etc. Great job, everyone!
  • Former Senator John Warner (R): He endorsed both Joe Biden for President and Mark Warner for Senate…both of which were the right things to do and which were also helpful here in Virginia. Thanks, Senator!
  • AG Mark Herring: Was swept back into office for a second term in November 2017. Also has been a leader in fighting back against Trump, on issues ranging from immigration to  marriage equality to gun violence prevention to criminal justice reform to women’s right to choose to environmental protection to fighting back against Trump’s outrages like the “Muslim ban” to…you name it, basically. Superb job.
  • Two special elections in the spring and summer of 2017 – for PW County Clerk of the Circuit Court (Jaqueline Smith) and Fairfax County School Board (Karen Keys-Gamarra) – were harbingers of massive Democratic victories to come in November 2017.
  • Gov. Ralph Northam: After calling Trump a “narcissistic maniac,” Northam was propelled by the massive anti-Trump backlash/”blue wave” to a 9-point victory in the 2017 governor’s race, in which Democrats also won races for Lt. Governor (Justin Fairfax by 6 points) and Attorney General (Mark Herring by 7 points), plus gained an amazing 15 seats in the House of Delegates. Thank you, Donald Trump? Yeah, maybe not, but thanks to the activists who helped push back against Trump. Also, as I wrote last November, it’s amazing in some ways that Northam’s on this list, after the “blackface” scandal of February 2019, yet…here were are. Because, the fact is, Northam now is the first Democratic governor in Virginia history to have a real, actual Democratic Party (e.g., not the Byrd Machine or Dixiecrats) controlling the state legislature. This presented a huge opportunity for Northam to sign a shit-ton of legislation into law, on a wide variety of issues, and to be a truly historic governor. And he has! Plus, Northam and his team – Secretary of Health and Human Services Daniel Carey, Secretary of Education Atif Qarni – have led the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In sum, Northam went from nearly being politically dead, to potentially being one of the most consequential governors in Virginia history. Amazing.
  • Sen. Dick Saslaw: He got to be VA Senate Majority Leader again, albeit after barely surviving a Democratic primary challenge (from Yasmine Taeb) and then badly underperforming in the 2019 State Senate elections, which were expected to result in a Democratic majority as high as 25-26 seats, but only ended up with a bare, 21-seat majority for Saslaw. Still…he’s Majority Leader again, possibly for the rest of his career (assuming he doesn’t run for reelection in 2023), and to Saslaw’s credit – and I’m not a fan, clearly – he HAS gotten a lot done as Majority Leader, even with that bare, 1-seat margin. So maybe all these years in the legislature, he’s learned a thing or two about how to pass legislation?
  • Sen. Louise Lucas: The first first woman and first African American to hold the office of President pro tempore of the VA State Senate. Historic!
  • Sen. Janet Howell: With Democrats regaining the majority in the State Senate, Howell immediately became one of the most important politicians in Virginia, as Chair of the powerful Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee. And she’s certainly had her work cut out for her, with the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant economic downturn creating unique challenges. Luckily, in Janet Howell, we’ve got someone with vast experience and expertise in this area.
  • Sen. Jennifer McClellan: She might not be the flashiest legislator in Virginia, but she’s a smart, respected and effective one by all accounts, quietly getting stuff done, such as the Virginia Clean Economy Act. Nice job.
  • Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe: Worked very hard to elect Joe Biden president, and in general has been very visible pushing back against Trump. Both of those things should help him as he runs for governor in 2021, which is basically a guarantee at this point.
  • Virginia Legislative Black Caucus: With the backlash to Trump and with Democrats taking the majority, plus heightened awareness (resulting in part from Trump’s appalling racism plus the murders of African Americans, such as George Floyd, by police) of systemic racism against African Americans, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus – including Chair Del. Lamont Bagby, Vice Chair Sen. Jennifer McClellan, Secretary Marcia Price, etc. – are now more powerful than they’ve ever been. Definitely “winners!”
  • Pro-Redistricting-Amendment folks/Brian Cannon: This is one of those cases where being on the “Winners” list doesn’t mean I like it in any way. But the bottom line is that Amendment 1 won overwhelmingly (around 66%). So…by definition, the people who pushed it are “winners.” 😉
  • Gun Violence Prevention: From being completely stymied by Republicans in the pocket of the NRA and Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), to having majorities in the legislature who support things like universal background checks and “red-flag laws,” gun violence prevention efforts in Virginia took a major step forward in 2020. Of course, not everything on the agenda was accomplished, and there was a major backlash movement as well, but still…gun violence prevention groups won many of their long-sought goals. Among others working on this issue who played a big role, of course Moms Demand Action, Lori Haas, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, etc.
  •  Voting Rights: Unlike many Republicans, Democrats strongly believe that more people being able to vote is a GOOD thing. So when Democrats took back the Virginia General Assembly, they moved to make it easier, more convenient, etc. to vote. And, not surprisingly, a massive number of people voted in the 2020 elections, including a large percentage voting early – in person, by mail, by drop box, etc.
  • Working People/Labor: See here for some of the accomplishments of the Democratic-controlled Virginia General Assembly, including raising the minimum wage (to $9.50/hour beginning May 1, 2021; to $11/hour on January 1, 2022; and to $12/hour on January 1, 2023.), establishing access to collective bargaining for public employees, etc. It’s far from everything, but at least we’re starting to move in the right direction in a state that has been ranked DEAD LAST in the country for workers, behind even Alabama and Mississippi!
  • Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney: For a while earlier this year, it looked like Stoney could be in deep trouble politically, but in the end, he won reelection fairly easily. Now, the question is, will Stoney stay as mayor for his full term, run for something else, or what?
  • Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer: I really thought that Democrat Jody Wagner was going to win this election, but…nope, not even close, as Dyer was reelected by a 52%-44% margin…
  • Biden’s Virginia Campaign: Their candidate won big time, making folks like Renzo Olivari (Virginia Communications Director for the Biden campaign), Fernando Mercado-Violand (served as, among other things, Biden’s Virginia coordinator during the primaries), Chris Bolling (Biden’s state director), Monique Alcala (Biden’s Virginia Coalitions Director), Adnan Mohamed (Virginia Voter Activation Director), etc.
  • Local Democratic Committee Chairs, Executive Directors, etc.: I’m not even going to try to list them all, but the fact is that many of them are unsung heroes and deserve a shoutout for the hard work they do, often unappreciated but definitely NOT unimportant!
  • Gambling (unfortunately): I agree with WaPo columnist Robert McCartney that gambling was a “winner,” sad to say: “Virginia is well behind Maryland on this curve, but it moved ahead Tuesday, as Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth all endorsed casinos in referendums. It seems only a matter of time before Northern Virginia opens a casino to compete with MGM National Harbor just across the Potomac in Prince George’s County.”

Mixed

  • Ken Cuccinelli: I mean, if you look at it purely amorally, Cuccinelli did “well” for himself, rising to “Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security since 2019.” But if you have any moral compass whatsoever, what this guy’s been up to re: the Trump administration’s evil immigration policy is simply heinous. What will Cuccinelli do now that Trump’s on his way out of power? Run for Virginia governor again, against Amanda Chase, Kirk Cox, etc. in 2021? Now wouldn’t *that* be fun? Ugh…
  • State Sen. Amanda Chase (R):  Again, looking at it purely amorally, she’s made a name for herself by being super Trumpian. And so far at least, she appears to the frontrunner for the VA GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2021. But that could and probably will change drastically as others get in the race, and also it seems *extremely* unlikely that, even if Chase is the Republican gubernatorial nominee – or runs as an independent – she’ll actually be elected governor. More likely, she’ll lose badly, then will have to face the fact that her home county – Chesterfield – is rapidly turning blue, meaning she could be in big trouble for reelection to the State Senate in 2023.
  • Tom Perriello: Ran a strong race for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2017, lost to Ralph Northam, but then stayed in the game, worked really hard in the 2017 cycle and then went to work for Open Society Foundations…so he’s doing quite well for himself, despite not becoming governor of Virginia.
  • Dominion Energy: As noted above, Dominion threw in the towel on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline boondoggle, which seems like a loss, but…it also seems like Dominion has mostly emerged unscathed from building opposition to its power – including from groups like Clean Virginia – the past few years. What Dominion seems to be doing, kinda like “The Borg” in Star Trek, is adapting to changing circumstances, “assimilating” new – to Dominion, that is – technologies (e.g., offshore wind, solar power), while continuing to demonstrate that resistance is perhaps not futile, but very difficult.
  • The statewide 2021 elections environment: This seems like somewhat of a mixed bag to me. On the one hand, Virginia tends to go in the opposite direction of the party controlling the White House, which would tend to help Republicans next year. Also, with Trump out of there, its possible that Virginia Democrats’ intensity levels could slack off, possibly by a lot. On the other hand, with Trump gone, perhaps Republican intensity also will slack off. And perhaps Democrats will NOT soon forget the lessons of the past four years, which is that if we go to “sleep” politically, we’ll lose. And in 2021, that could mean losing control of the Virginia House of Delegates, which would be very, very bad…so hopefully that prospect will be motivating enough, in and of itself, to keep Democratic activists engaged. Meanwhile, Virginia Republicans will have to decide whether to move back more towards the center or continue drifting further to the far right, out of the mainstream, making themselves unelectable in increasingly “blue” Virginia. We’ll see.  Also note that Trump’s loss might encourage some more Republicans – maybe wealthy folks like Pete Snyder or this guy – to throw their hats in the ring. Will that help or hurt Republicans? Got me at this point.
  • “Right-to-Work” laws: More accurately known as “Right-to-Be-Poor” laws (that phrase was often used by Leslie Byrne when she was running for Lt. Governor in 2005), they’re still on the books in Virginia, but are looking shakier and shakier. Hopefully, these anti-union/anti-worker laws will be pared back or eliminated, whether by Virginia Democrats or at the national level (IF Democrats can manage to take back the U.S. Senate). Let’s hope…

Losers

  • Virginia Republicans: This one’s obvious, as they’ve just kept losing and losing and losing some more during the past four years. Of course, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden easily won Virginia in 2016 and 2020, respectively. In 2017, Democrats swept statewide offices for governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General, and flipped 15 Republican-held VA House districts “blue.” Total wipeout. Then it got even worse, with Virginia Republicans losing three U.S. House districts in 2018, plus getting clobbered for U.S. Senate. And then in 2019, again they got their clocks cleaned, losing control of both the State Senate and House of Delegates, plus a bunch of important local offices (e.g., Democrat Phyllis Randall crushed former VA GOP Chair John Whitbeck for Loudoun County Board Chair; Ann Wheeler easily won the Prince William County Board Chair race). And now…Biden won by nearly 10 points, Dems held Rep. Spanberger’s and Rep. Luria’s seats, Sen. Warner won “bigly,” etc. And there’s really not a lot of indication that things are going to get better for Virginia Republicans anytime soon. So yeah…definitely “losers,” in every sense of the word in this case. And no, new VA GOP Chair Rich Anderson is not likely to save this sinking ship.
  • Former Speaker Kirk Cox (R): The key word is “former.” First, Cox came very close to not being Speaker at all, after VA House Democrats came very close to taking back the majority in the November 2017 elections. Then, after a two-year stint as Speaker, Cox lost his majority once and for all in November 2019, with Dems getting to 55 seats and Cox’s caucus dropping to 45 seats. Now, Cox for whatever reason thinks he might become governor of Virginia, but there’s little chance of that actually happening; if he somehow manages to win the Republican nomination, it’s hard to see a bland, uninspiring, hardcore conservative figure like Cox inspiring anyone and/or winning in places like Fairfax County, Henrico County, or really anywhere in the urban-suburban “crescent” (from Hampton Roads to Richmond to NoVA) that determines election winners in Virginia.
  • VA House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert: On the one hand, he’s VA House Minority Leader. On the other hand, he got the job after his caucus lost its majority in the 2019 elections – after coming VERY close to losing it in 2017 –  and Gilbert lost his job as VA House MAJORITY Leader. Also, Gilberts caucus is mostly powerless at this point, with “iffy” prospects of getting back into the majority in 2021.
  • Corey Stewart: Although his rhetoric over the years was rabidly xenophobic, “neo-Confederate Corey” somehow kept getting reelected as County Board Chair in increasingly diverse Prince William County. Once Trump was elected, though, Stewart went hardcore “Trumpster,” even claiming he was “Trump before Trump was Trump” or some idiocy like that, and generally going hard right. The result? Stewart lost, lost and lost some more and now has mostly disappeared (e.g., his Facebook page, which once had a rabid and large following for his Trumpian tirades, now appears to have disappeared).
  • VA Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment: Lost his majority in November 2019, and now has lost the vast majority of legislative and policy battles this year. Unfortunately for Norment, there’s no sign of any improvement for him in 2021.
  • VA GOP Unity: I agree with WaPo columnist Robert McCartney that results of Tuesday’s election will only “aggravate what already promised to be a brawl between the party’s Trump wing and more traditional conservatives as it tries to win races next year for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.”
  • Any Virginia Republican who attacks our democracy and/or refuses to stand up for it: This includes, sadly, most Virginia Republicans, who have either been silent as Trump and company spread false conspiracy theories, refuse to concede the election to Joe Biden, etc. For instance, where are folks like VA GOP Chair Rich Anderson, VA House GOP Leader Todd Gilbert, Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment, Rep. Ben Cline, Rep. Rob Wittman, Rep. Morgan Griffith, Bob Good, etc, etc? Even worse, we’ve got folks like Del. Ronnie Campbell and Del. Mark Cole out there actively *spreading* false conspiracy theories about the election. Really, really bad.
  • Former Rep. Scott Taylor (R): He’s now lost not once but twice to Elaine Luria in VA02. Time to try something else?
  • Del. Nick Freitas (R): Other than not being able to file his candidate forms properly, Freitas keeps running for higher office, and…he keeps losing, albeit narrowly. This time, he lost to Rep. Abigail Spanberger in VA07, as noted above. Wonder what he’ll run for – and lose? – next…
  • All of us who opposed Amendment 1: Yep, we all lost. Badly. Let’s just hope Virginia doesn’t lose as well.
  • Confederate monuments: Prior to the Trump presidency and to glaring acts of racism that we all saw on video, Confederate monuments in Virginia seemed untouchable. Not anymore, as one after the other of these things comes down. Bye bye! (on a related note, see Richmond’s mayor took down Confederate monuments this summer. That move may have vaulted him to another term in office.)
  • Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb: This seems like as good a place to mention it as anywhere, but the bottom line is that since he left office as one of Virginia’s U.S. Senators, Webb has drifted away from being a Democrat and towards being a Trumpster. Then, despite all the horrors and disasters of this presidency, including on our military and foreign policy, Webb has basically been completely silent – not a peep from him on his social media accounts about the Most Important Election Of Our Lifetimes, no endorsement of Biden/Harris, no endorsement of Sen. Mark Warner, no endorsement of Rep. Abigail Spanberger or Rep. Elaine Luria – both former national security and/or military people, etc. I’m still very glad I helped get Jim Webb into the 2006 U.S. Senate race, that we beat George Allen, and that Webb did some excellent work in the U.S. Senate, but…my god, WTF???