Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Sabato's Take on Yesterday

Here is Sabato's take on yesterdays events:

Neither party nominee for Governor got the ticket he wanted. Many leading Democrats had hoped that state Senator Phil Puckett of Southwest Virginia would be the nominee for lieutenant governor, to strengthen the ticket in rural areas. Instead, the most liberal candidate, former Congresswoman and state Senator Leslie Byrne of Fairfax County, won. Almost all of Byrne's voters already plan to support Tim Kaine, and Democrats are already muscular in Northern Virginia. On the other hand, Byrne might increase turnout in NoVa come November. Similarly, the Kilgore campaign was privately hoping that Prince William Board Chairman Sean Connaughton would win the lieutenant governor berth to strengthen the ticket's appeal in Democratic-leaning NoVa and broaden the GOP's draw among moderates. But conservative state Senator Bill Bolling of Hanover County--as far right as Byrne is left--captured the nod. Bolling is from the Richmond metro-area, where the GOP is already entrenched outside the central city. This match-up demonstrates anew what we are increasingly seeing in Virginia and around the nation. The political parties attract a wildly disproportionate share of ideologues to their nominating contests, resulting in the triumph of the left and the right to the exclusion of the center. The primaries drew a "bar-bell" shaped turnout of strong liberals and conservatives, instead of the "bell-curve" shaped turnout of a general election, where moderates and Independents are often the majority. This trend is reinforcing the political and partisan polarization so evident across the United States.

Those of us that tend to be "moderate" or pragmatic as I call it now have no one to truly turn to. Both parties have nominated complete ideologues in the down-ticket races. The future of governance seems to have been abandoned yesterday in-favor of wack jobs.

3 Comments:

At 6/15/2005 09:00:00 PM, Blogger Mitch Cumstein said...

Sabato hit the nail on the head with this. Had either party nominated an LG candidate with November in mind (i.e. Connaughton or Puckett), they would have a major advantage heading into the fall. As it stands now, we'll have a summer of discontent, followed by a general election that could easily go either way.

Maybe at some point we'll see the long awaited and much anticipated (and needed) "revolt of the middle." As a 'Skins fan, I'm getting a little tired of waiting until next year.

 
At 6/15/2005 11:30:00 PM, Blogger criticallythinking said...

Ok, maybe I'm missing something here. But I'm sure that Sean Connaughton billed himself as more conservative than Bill Bolling.

Since I happen to believe him (and I hope that his supporters weren't hoping he was lying), then the only place where Bolling might be more "right" is opposition to taxes, which many of Sean's supporters said wasn't the defining mark of a true conservative.

Sean was even billed by some as stronger on pro-life issues than Bill Bolling was.

Given that Leslie won the democrat primary, I'm not convinced that Sean would have drawn significantly more votes in Northern Virginia in the fall.

And if we are heading into "a summer of discontent", as the first commenter claims, wouldn't some people be discontented no matter who won?

Now, I realise the turnout was very low, but making the assumption that the true believers who show up for primaries are representative of blocks of the less dedicated (NOT A PROVEN ASSUMPTION, TO BE SURE), then the beauty of democracy is it leaves FEWER people discontented, since the winner is the one who gets MORE votes.

Not all of my candidates won, but I am happy with our ticket, and don't plan to be discontented at all.

If you are a centrist, obviously you think the world would be great if all the centrists won. Well, that's just how the whackos on the left and right feel about THEIR candidates.

Having a strong conservative and strong liberal candidate gives a better contrast and choice then having to candidates who are perceived to be indistinguishable from Senator Potts. (I do however reject that characterization of Sean Connaughton, who I believe was more conservative (as he claimed to be) then his opponents painted him. I could be wrong about that.

 
At 6/16/2005 05:51:00 AM, Blogger Mitch Cumstein said...

Criticallythinking:

I'm going to try to explain this concisely, but I'll apologize in advance if I fail. Sean is the more conservative of the two, particularly on social issues. Example: He is 100% pro-lie while Bolling has gone on record stating that believes in certain exceptions (rape, incest, life ot the mother). When comparing their records as BOCS Chairmen, Sean's record on taxes for more conservative as well. So, he wasn't kidding when he billed himself as the more conservative.

Sean is more conservative than I would typically like. There, I've said it. Yet I support him because he's intelligent, open-minded and a strong leader. He's a rare breed in that he's willing to listen to all sides of an issue before making a decision. His own conservative values obviously help shape that decision in a major way. But he doesn't simply turn a deaf ear to anyone with another opinion. Sometimes, that rubs the party folks the wrong way. But that is exactly the kind of leadership we need at all levels of government.

 

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