Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Virginia Elections: Can You Guess Which Party?

I've been fascinated, perplexed, and more than a bit irritated down here in Virginia as I've watched the current off-year election campaigns draw to a close at the polls today. Why? Since I really started focusing on the election back in July, I've noticed something more than a might peculiar with regard to the TV, radio, and print advertising, not to mention the tsunami of election placards taking up every square inch of the median strips here in Reston, Virginia where I live.

What's the deal? Apparently, no candidate belongs to a political party in this state. That's right. Neither on TV, radio, print media, or the median strips do I see any candidate from either major party advertising his or her political affiliation.

This is all very interesting. If you didn't read the newspapers (which, apparently, younger voters no longer do), and if you didn't drill down deeply into each party's site on the web, you would never have a clue as to which party's candidate you might be voting for. Okay, some of the incessant robo-calls we've been enduring OCCASIONALLY identify the political part involved, and yeah, you can ID the candidates on the political web sites after a bit of digging. But this is really the first time I've ever seen what appears to be an effort by both Democrats and Republicans to obscure their party affiliations.

I have no clue as to why this might be, although I have a guess. Virginia has been tagged recently, rightly or wrongly, as having become a "purple" state. I.e., a mixmaster of independent voters strongly identifying with neither party. So, by obscuring party labels and pushing various agenda hot buttons, the candidates this year seem to feel that they can trick unaware would be partisans on the other side to pull the wrong lever. I.e., 2, apparently, each candidate for state or local office (at least here in Northern Virginia) has decided not to actively wear his or her party labels in the hustings. Maybe it's like having a target painted on your back.

For the record, Virginia is still largely a conservative state. As elsewhere in the country, most specifically New Mexico, Colorado, and New Hampshire, left-liberal voters have been moving into this area for a couple decades now, driven here by the high-paying employment opportunities created by Virginia's conservative, right-to-work, pro-business climate, with more than a dollop of opportunities in this area provided by the hydra-headed reach of the Federal government. As in the aforementioned states, the newer arrivals, leaving their over-taxed, over-regulated home turf move in and immediately begin to vote for the type of candidate that ruined their own jurisdictions. Absolutely clueless.

At any rate, the in-migration into Northern Virginia has altered its voting character from a once reliably conservative bastion to a kind of metro-sexual playground for the Democrats. Fortunately, however, there are just enough new arrivals who are political skeptics to keep increasingly comfortable liberal Democrats here on their toes--particularly when it comes to overtaxation in an area that doesn't get much help from Richmond when it comes to crucial issues like transportation.

For this reason, even nominal libs up here can be persuaded to vote for the other guy, although they'll never admit it at a fashionable cocktail party. So, if you're a Repub, not labeling your candidate apparently can help scoop up a bunch of these voters.

Likewise, Obama has already become enormously unpopular in this state, save in Arlington, which was, is, and apparently always will be a bastion of Marxism. So if you're a Democrat running for office, best thing to do is the same thing the Repubs are doing--hide from your party and hope the non-newspaper reading, non-web-surfing "independent" voters won't inquire further as to your party's status.

Yeah, you'll figure it out at the polls today when the parties start handing out those one-sided sample ballots to you. But if you've already pretty much formed your attitude at this point, the sample ballots won't do much persuading.

I just figured I'd note this, because no one else has. But apparently, at least this year, at least in Northern Virginia, candidates from both parties have taken great pains to diminish their party affiliations in their advertising.

In a way, this amuses me, confirming something that's been increasingly obvious over the last decade or two. The average voter has such a low opinion of both major parties that he doesn't really support either one.

For the record, since this dude is a patriot and not a Marxist, the Repub candidates are McDonnell (Governator), Bolling (Lieutenant Governator), and Cuccinelli (Attorney General). The other guys/gals are on the other side of the aisle. And for local delegate, well, you're on your own--the signs won't help.

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