In Virginia, a state where self-declared independents and moderates represent the fastest-growing segment of the voting population, a governor’s election Tuesday will be referendums on both Obamacare and the tea party.
While some see both issues declining in voter approval, Democrats are counting on the tea party being more unpopular than the President’s signature health care “reform” and Republicans hope Obamacare will, as they believe, prove to be so unpopular that pro-tea party voters will rally to the polls and give their candidate a major upset in the race.
President Barack Obama campaigned with McAuliffe on Sunday and called Cuccinelli a “tea party extremist.” Cuccinelli campaigned with tea party favorite and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and will close out his campaign Monday with tea party icon Ron Paul at his side.
As a Virginian who won’t make up his mind on how he will vote until he walks into the voting booth at the Rescue Squad near Floyd, Virginia, on Tuesday, I have watched the long, bitter race unfold and wonder how in the hell either the Democrats or the Republicans came up with the lack of real choices they offer in this election.
Cuccinelli is a right-wing ideologue who, as attorney general, put conservative compliance ahead of what the states needed. He is a homophobe who has tried to put Virginia’s outdated anti-Sodomy law to use against gays, told Virginia colleges and universities to ignore federal laws on racial equality and misused state building codes to shut down abortion clinics.
Neither man is a Virginian. Cuccinelli is from New Jersey. McAuliffe was born in New York. So much for ties to the Old Dominion.
Both candidates have brought in failures to campaign with them. McAuliffe used former First Lady Hillary Clinton, who lost her bid for the Presidency to Obama in Democratic primaries in 2008. Cuccinelli brought in former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a perennial loser in GOP presidential primaries, and closes out his campaign Monday night with three-time Presidential failure Paul.
Virginia voters have a third choice — Libertarian Robert Sarvis, an attorney and software developer from Fairfax, but he is so lackluster that even Liberarians like Paul won’t campaign for him.
The Virginia race has proven so lackluster that the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper decided that — for the first time in its history — it could not endorse any candidate for governor. Same for the Charlottesville Daily Progress, who urged readers to write in the name of current Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who is not running for anything.
Some feel a loss by Cuccinelli could signal the beginning of the end of the tea party in Virginia.
That might be reason enough to vote for McAuliffe.