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Is the Washington Post Editorial Board Nostalgic for Republican Control of Virginia?

Today's WaPo editorial on a Virginia GOP convention was a hot mess in many ways.


by A Siegel

As a life-long Washington Post reader and a Virginia citizen for my adult working life, reading Post editorials about the Commonwealth all too often makes me feel like Charlie Brown as Lucy pulls the football away. I open the pages when there is an editorial focused on Virginia, with hopes that there will be reasoned, informed thought…only to end up flat on my back, stunned by the blind obliviousness, both on factual and logic grounds.

Wrong in fact, wrong in opinion

Yes, this morning The Washington Post editorial board has (yet) again pulled the ball away with the editorial so tantalizingly titled “Virginia’s GOP must reject Trumpism.”  With that title, I expected a fervent denunciation of Virginia GOP representatives backing Texas’ lunatic appeal to the Supreme Court to end democracy in America and a call for the Virginia GOP to come out, strongly, with statements recognizing President-Elect Biden and committing to work with him for the betterment of the nation and Virginia.  Alas, no. Instead, the dead-tree edition’s title tantalized far more than the similarly wrong-headed online headline (at this moment) of: “Virginia opting for a nominating convention could be a blow to Trumpism” (which, of course, is just flat-out wrong; it’s not Virginia, but the Virginia GOP, that we’re talking about).

Some examples of the wrong-headed nature of this editorial?

  • Reminding one of the Post‘s refrain that career Republican extremist operative Barbara Comstock was a moderate, the Post falsely asserts that Kirk Cox is a “moderate”.  While one might legitimately call Cox “moderate” if you are rating “conservative” or “right wing” as the white nationalist Proud Boys rioting in the streets of Washington, D.C, with backing from Trump and a large share of the Republican Party, in fact Cox isn’t moderate, but more accurately “a boring version of Amanda Chase”.
    • Even the Post‘s editorial makes clear that Cox is far from a legitimate player in U.S. politics as he, along with the vast majority of the GOP, refuses to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden won the election. (“Mr. Cox is left wanly saying that he will await the emergence of the presidential election’s race’s official victor later this month.”  Seriously, Post, you call that “moderate”?)
  • The editorial asserts that the Virginia GOP’s decision to hold a convention, rather than a primary, increases the odds of (so-called) rationality at the top of the ticket.  In a clear example of the editorial board’s ahistorical failure to understand the Commonwealth, they conveniently forget to mention that the last time Virginia Republicans held a convention, back in 2013, the ticket chose far-right extremists Ken Cuccinelli, EW Jackson and Mark Obenshain as their state-wide candidates.
  • The Post asserts “Virginia is not a liberal bastion” and lays out a factual statement of some of Virginia’s political history but utterly fails to provide serious context about how and why Virginia politics have changed over the past twenty years. Yes, the Virginia GOP’s continued spiral into irrational, science-denying, conspiracy embracing lunacy is a key reason for why Democratic politicians and policies have majority support. But that GOP lurch into extremist anti-democracy is far from the only reason and the Post fails to provide readers any context to a changed Virginia and thus is factual recital re: past Republican control isn’t really truthful.

In March, I asked: Will the Washington Post Editorial Page Ever Take Virginia Seriously? Today’s editorial leaves that an open question, but it’s not looking good.



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