by George Rasley, CHQ Editor
In one sense, the fact that Democrats won the gubernatorial races in two Democrat-dominated states, New Jersey and Virginia, is not a big deal.
Given political trends in the Old Dominion, the Virginia Governor’s race was Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam’s to lose, likewise with the Chris Christie anchor around her neck, New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno Northam adwas never competitive against Democrat Phil Murphy.
But as harbingers of things to come in 2018, the Virginia campaign in particular should be a big deal for Republicans.
As our old friend John Gizzi reported for NewsMax, the Virginia Republican establishment was all in agreement that the mean-spirited, Trump-bashing campaign waged by Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam would surely boomerang and make Republican Ed Gillespie governor.
They were wrong. With near final results in, Northam won by the biggest margin of any winning Democrat for governor (53 percent to 46 percent) in 32 years.
Coupled with a Democratic sweep of the two other statewide races (lieutenant governor and attorney general) and a stunning gain of at least 12 seats in the state House of Delegates (putting Democrats on the verge of a 50-to-50 seat tie in the legislative chamber), signs were strong that the brass-knuckled campaign in Virginia was a “dress rehearsal” for the Democratic offensive in the 2018 midterm elections, said Gizzi.
Northam’s win over Gillespie came after a race in which, Republican Gillespie, the former Republican National Committee chairman was almost always linked to President Trump, who lost the state to Hillary Clinton in 2016.
A Northam TV blitz featured the Democrat — who once branded the president a “narcissistic maniac” — vowing not to work with Trump if he tried to cut spending on education and healthcare, noted Gizzi.
In addition, an independent expenditure never repudiated by the Democratic hopeful ran a TV ad featuring a pick-up truck bearing a Gillespie sticker and a Confederate flag trying to run down black, Hispanic and Muslim children.
Republicans were sure the ad would backfire and energize Gillespie supporters – but as far as we can tell the outrage didn’t translate into votes for the GOP candidate.
However, it worked for Democrats and in a big way as John Gizzi put it. In the historically Democratic Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C., Northam carried every town won by Hillary Clinton and in some cases increased her margin.
The turnout in Democratic Arlington and Alexandria increased from 43 percent in the last gubernatorial election (2013) to 52 percent this year. In contrast, in Republican Southwest Virginia, the turnout went up only from 43 to 46 percent in four years reported Gizzi.
What’s more, Democrats were completely unapologetic about their gutter campaign tactics.
Leftwing website BuzzFeed reports that even before Ralph Northam’s victory in Virginia, Latino Victory Fund was telling people its polarizing “pick-up truck” ad was part of a strategy it would further embrace to “defend the Hispanic community” from what it sees as Republican attacks.
The group, which works to elect Democrats, argues that this type of messaging campaign serves to defend the Latino community against ads like one from Gillespie that highlighted the danger posed by MS-13 gang members, which the group said promotes suspicion of Hispanics at large.
Where others saw a mistake from the group and said the ad cast all Gillespie supporters and Republicans as racist, Latino Victory Fund told BuzzFeed the outrage just boiled down to crocodile tears from bullies who were finally hit back, echoing what Democratic Party chair Tom Perez said on Meet the Press.
Officials for the group said that before the Virginia election results were known they were preparing an op-ed for later this week that would have laid out this strategy regardless of who won the race, BuzzFeed News learned.
“Our ad was an honest reflection of the fears facing communities of color in Virginia and across the country. It was designed to raise Latino voters’ awareness of Gillespie’s bigoted campaign tactics, and it accomplished that goal,” said Cristóbal J. Alex, Latino Victory Fund president. “Faced with vicious, racist attacks, we usually turn the other cheek or point our finger at the bully. This time we threw a jab to the throat and we will continue raising our voices wherever and whenever racism rears its head.”
Gillespie, universally seen as a “nice guy” Jeb Bush kind of Republican, was probably the least racially polarizing candidate Republicans could have chosen to run for Governor of any state, let alone Virginia, with its history as a slave state and capital of the Confederacy.
But Gillespie’s personal commitment to a colorblind society and racial harmony were irrelevant in this age of Democrat-inspired intentional racial division.
Republicans running in 2018 should expect the same kind of anti-Trump ads and attacks from Democrat-affiliated race-baiters like the Latino Victory Fund that Ed Gillespie was subjected to, so the time to start thinking about how to get ahead of them is now.
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CHQ Editor George Rasley is a member of American MENSA and a veteran of over 300 political campaigns, including every Republican presidential campaign from 1976 to 2008. He served as lead advance representative for Governor Sarah Palin in 2008 and has served as a staff member, consultant or advance representative for some of America’s most recognized conservative Republican political figures, including President Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. He served in policy and communications positions on the House and Senate staff and during the George H.W. Bush administration he served on the White House staff of Vice President Dan Quayle.
Reprinted with permission from ConservativeHQ.com.