Daily Press: Miller victory “a harbinger.”

In today’s Hampton Roads Daily Press editorial, they agree with my assertion that Paula Miller’s victory in Tuesday’s special election is a sign of things to come. The two points that they make — and they’re both very good — are:

  1. Her Republican opponent promised, like President Bush and Gov. Jim Gilmore before him, to lower taxes and provide more services. That’s facially impossible and, for the first time in years, the voters knew it. Miller refused to lie, like her opponent, and make such pie-in-the-sky promises.
  2. Miller benefited hugely from a last-minute $50,000 contribution from the Leadership for Virginia PAC, a Republican PAC whose mission is to support those candidates “to pay its bills” and, in the words of the Daily Press, “discourage the free-lunch politics of recent years.” This is a Republican PAC that has found that, quite simply, Democrats serve classical Republican values in Virginia better than these loony-radical Republicans.

The Virginian-Pilot‘s editorial is, if anything, stronger. They say that “[t]he precinct results make clear that Republicans abandoned Ball and crossed over to the Democrat,” and Miller’s victory is actually “a bigger setback for the right wing of the Virginia GOP than the closeness of the results would suggest,” pointing to the very-Republican-friendly redistricting that just took place there as making the district as anti-tax Republican-friendly as any district in the state could be.

For 10 years, the Republican right has pretended that Virginians can have tax cuts without losing essential services. Tuesday’s election suggests that the truth may be catching up with that fantasy.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it many times again: the shift has begun.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

5 replies on “Daily Press: Miller victory “a harbinger.””

  1. Ummmm….If 47 people had switched their votes on Tuesday, Michael Ball would have been the winner and no one would have said it was a harbinger of anything.

    Methinks you’re jumping the gun. It was a virtual tie in a race where only 7000 people voted. And this just weeks after a Republican destroyed a Democrat in the Presidential race in Virginia, where millions of people voted.

    I think you’re hanging your hat on a small sample size. And the editorials you quote are making the same mistake. Drawing these grand conclusions based on a very small sample size in one jurisdiction is not logical.

    Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking.


  2. I think the fact that it was a virtual tie would be far less telling if the district were a proper one, split well between Democrats and Republicans. The fact that the district was arranged to heavily favor Republicans (and I assume this to be true based on these editorials — I have not reviewed any data) tells me that there’s some learning going on.

    To base an entire statewide campaign strategy on the premise that “they’re learning,” resulting solely from this low-turnout election, would be ludicrous, absolutely. But to see the support for moderate Republicans being extended to Democrats (particularly w/r/t this $50,000) tells me that people are coming around to the idea that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

  3. Points well taken. And maybe you’re right about this particular district.

    I’ll wait to see some evidence — any evidence — on the statewide level before I sign on to your premise of a shift. From where I sit, it looks like the GOP continues to gain strength in nearly every election.

    As for “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”…you are right on target. If the GOP starts thinking they can win elections in Virginia just because the state leans right, well, the Dems are as good as back in power. This state was owned by the Dems for way too long for the GOP to take anything for granted.

    And I’ll admit that I may be subconsciously engaged in wishful thinking, too. But I don’t see any evidence YET of a shift leftward.


  4. An addendum.

    I’m not about to argue that these results are statistically significant. But imagine a survey taken in this (or just about any other strongly-Republican) district that showed that 50% of those surveyed thought that Bush should be impeached for crimes real or imagined. That would be a really shocking result. Statistically significant? Absolutely not — you could never extrapolate that across the country or even the state. But it would tell you that, at a bare minimum, something was going on in that district.

    It’s what’s going on in this district that is a matter for speculation. And I suspect that all that we can do is just that — speculate.

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