If you only read the “mainstream media” and its mindless, lazy “both-sides,” false equivalence, “horse-race/”who’s-up-who’s-down” coverage, you’ll almost certainly never know how extreme the Virginia GOP’s candidates for Congress are this cycle. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to find out what these candidates actually believe – just skip the “mainstream media” and instead spend a few minutes perusing the candidates’ websites and social media feeds, as I did here for ALL the Democrats and Republicans running in VA01 through VA11.
One thing that will jump out at you as you scroll through the Republican candidates’ websites and social media feeds is how thoroughly “Trumpified’ they all are, from promotion of Trump’s “Big Lie” (to varying degrees, from hardcore to a bit softer talk of “election integrity” and “cracking down on voter fraud”) to Trumpist far-right “populism” in all its many forms – xenophobia, homophobia (and particularly anti-trans bigotry), racism, climate science denial, demonization of liberals/Democrats/Biden/”the left”, hostility to COVID vaccines/masks/etc., ranting about “CRT” and its supposed influence on children, support for overturning Roe v Wade and stripping women of their bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom, conspiratorial thinking of all sorts, anger/rage, etc. For just a few examples, see:
- In VA02, Republican frontrunner Jen Kiggans touts being “a staunch defender of the Second Amendment who will never compromise our right to bear arms”; “stands against policies that divide our children and will stand up to Democrats who want to keep our students out of the classroom or force our children to learn Critical Race Theory that segregates students into groups based on race and skin color, making unity impossible.” As for Kiggans’ Republican opponent Jarome Bell, he says: he’s “a fearless patriot and a leader of the America First Movement”; “We must audit all 50 states from the 2020 election, and find out exactly what happened on Nov. 3, 2020”; “It’s long past time to stop the illegal alien invasion at our southern border”; etc. Bell also took the stage with Trump at Mar-A-Lago back in early May, after railing against “RINO Jen Kiggans.” Any further questions? (note: there are two other right-wing/Trumpist Republicans running in this race: Tommy Altman and Andy Baan).
- In VA03, the Republican candidates say Trumpist things like “marriage is an institution created by God that is a union between a man and a woman”; “will advocate to close our borders and build that wall”; We cannot allow the Cancel Culture or Big Tech to run this country”; “The Second Amendment underwrites the rest”; etc.
- In VA04, Republican Leon Benjamin is running on “election integrity,” “parental choice,” fighting “tyrannical overreach.” The prototypical Trumpist candidate, in other words.
- In VA05, Republican incumbent/nominee Rep. Bob Good is about as extreme and Trumpist as you can get. Same thing with Rep. Rob Wittman in VA01, Rep. Ben Cline in VA06 and Rep. Morgan Griffith in VA09. For more on Wittman’s, Good’s, Cline’s and Griffith’s stances on democracy and the climate crisis, see here. And see here for more information on their Trumpist/far-right “populist” positions on everything, pretty much.
- In VA07, the three leading Republican contenders for the nomination – Yesli Vega, Derrick Anderson and Bryce Reeves – are all hard right and Trumpist to the core. Reeves, for instance, champions so-called “election integrity”; rants (WILDLY falsely) that “the left is infecting our schools with anti-American ideals like Critical Race Theory and are more beholden to the teachers union than to students and their parents”; vows to “fight against attempts to pass red flag laws, universal background checks, high magazine bans, and one gun a month laws”; railing against abortion; etc. As for Derrick Anderson, he rants about “Nancy Pelosi and the extreme progressive agenda of Washington Democrats”; “destructive socialist polices,” “mak[ing] sure our public schools teach our kids how to think, not what to think,” “defend[ing] our god-given rights to life and liberty, including the Second Amendment,” etc. And Yesli Vega rails against “cancel culture” (“The effects of cancel culture upon our nation has been chilling”) and a supposed “small left-wing mob who find offense in everything”; also rips “the likes of AOC, ‘The Squad’ and many others in today’s Democrat Party”; argues that “our right to keep and bear arms must never be infringed”; opposes “ideologically based education that looks at everything through the divisive prism of race”; says she “strongly oppose[s] bills like HR1 which would allow the likes of Nancy Pelosi and AOC to dictate the way elections in Virginia are run” (which, of course, is NOT what HR1 would do…); is not a fan of the Affordable Care Act, which she falsely claims “made the cost of healthcare, anything but”; etc. In short, Vega is hard right and Trumpist all the way.
- In VA08, Republican nominee Karina Lipsman actually called for JAILING Anthony Fauci! If that’s not Trumpist, what is?
- In VA10, Republican nominee Hung Cao has spewed out a wide variety of Trumpist falsehoods, such as on supposed “indoctrination of our children in the classroom”; hard-core climate science denial; promotion of the “Big Lie” conspiracy theory that Trump actually won the 2020 election; 100% pro-gun views; virulent transphobia; etc.
Getting the idea? So yes, far from Trump being “on the sidelines,” as one “mainstream media” outlet absurdly claimed this morning – since narrowly speaking, it’s true that Trump hasn’t endorsed in any of these races – Trump’s influence on all of these candidates and races is pervasive, infusing their rhetoric and policy positions, and fully controlling where the Republican Party’s collective “head” is at right now…