While today's news cycle is going to understandably be dominated by the shooting in Alexandria, Virginia and the right's hypocritical freak out over it, we shouldn't ignore just the results of Tuesday's primary in that same state and how many canaries just upped and died in a coal mine for the Republican Party.
The first dead canary came as both Democratic candidates ran as hardcore progressives and were rewarded handsomely for it. That's a problem if you're a Republican. After decades of spin, the public's perception is supposed to be that running as an unabashed liberal in a swing state is bad. Last night, that myth went up in flames. Both the winner, Ralph Northam, and his opponent, Tom Perriello, ran positive, populist liberal campaigns with very little acrimony between the two camps. As soon as the race was called, Perriello immediately and enthusiastically endorsed Northam:
That's dead canary number two. Republicans were very happy with the split between the Hillary and Bernie camps. Frankly, so was the narrative-driven media that tried very hard to make this race into Hillary vs. Bernie round 9000. But it just didn't happen. A partially united left is bad news for Republicans; a fully, or even just mostly, united left is a nightmare. See 2008 for an example.
And that leads us to dead canary number three. The insurgent Republican contender Corey Stewart represents the new face of Republicanism that openly spews white nationalism:
“We’ve been backing down too long,” Stewart told cheering supporters Tuesday night. “We’ve been backing down too long in defense of our culture, and our heritage and our country.”
He might as well have said "white genocide" because that's exactly what he was talking about. Stewart is part of what promises to be a rather large wave of openly racist monsters that will be primarying any Republican that doesn't fly the Confederate flag and a burning cross from their pickup truck. The Tea Party pulled the GOP sharply to the right but Trump's goons will take them all the way to pure white nationalism. Now that America has gotten a good look at a White House oozing hate from every pore like it was infected with the Ebola virus, how do you think voters will react when the Republican Party has more of that on the ballot?
And dead Canary number four? Despite Trump's historic unpopularity, the white nationalist that sold himself as a mini-Trump almost won anyway:
Stewart, the Prince William County Board chairman, did dramatically better than polls had projected and underlined the depth of support for Trump in the GOP.
Trump voters want more hate in their political diet and they won't settle for the old flavor of dog whistle racism, which brings us to dead canary number five:
He [Stewart] wouldn’t concede and said he wouldn’t help Gillespie in the fall, making Gillespie’s road more uncertain.
The more emboldened the white nationalists are, the more they're going to attack the not-quite-as-racist establishment. And as we know from the Tea Party experience, primaries can be won by very small numbers of very dedicated voters. Now that they have a taste of power, the scum of the earth will be flocking to the polls to push the party even further into the fever swamp.
And then we get to the really bad news for Republicans (oh yeah, it gets worse). Both Gillespie and Stewart racked up a tepid 315,803 votes. Northam, by himself, racked up 303,846 votes. Add that to the 239,505 vote Perriello collected and almost twice as many Democrats voted as Republicans. In a primary. In an off year election. Considering that Virginia is considered a critical swing state, this is less like a dead canary in the coal mine and more like a flock of them falling out of the sky burnt to a cinder. If (when) Northam crushes Gillespie in November, that will be a sign that we can kick Trump and his neo-Nazi followers to the curb if we can run a positive campaign of social and economic justice and get our collective asses to the polls.
There are 509 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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