As I’ve written several times before, Virginia’s 2017 statewide elections are critical for both national parties. Polling in Virginia races is notoriously wild, and this year has been no exception. While most polls have shown Democrat Ralph Northam leading Republican Ed Gillespie, they have almost all been within the margin of error.
That is, until recently, when Gillespie took a 1-point lead in a poll released last week, the first time he has led a poll during the general election campaign. And just yesterday, a new poll came out showing Gillespie with an 8-point lead. The Democrats are panicking and have unfortunately turned to racial politics to inflame their base. The campaign between Gillespie and Northam has been remarkably civil thus far, but not anymore.
The Democrat Party of Virginia recently sent out a slanderous mailer, juxtaposing Gillespie and Trump with the tiki torch-carrying white nationalist buffoons in Charlottesville. Even the reliably liberal Richmond Times-Dispatch called the mailer “practically libel.”
And that may not even be the lowest move the Democrats have made. There is a race in a blue-leaning Northern Virginia district for a House of Delegates seat being vacated by a retiring Republican. Democrat Kathy Tran is squaring off against Republican Lolita Mancheno-Smoak, an accomplished engineer and businesswoman who is also an immigrant from Ecuador. The state Democratic Party sent out another mailer, this one juxtaposing Mancheno-Smoak’s face next to werewolf and hockey masks and suggesting voters “protect their families from the scariest threats“:
Democrat Kathy Tran attack mailer against Republican Lolita Mancheno-Smoak in race to replace Albo in Fairfax County pic.twitter.com/OC8XOLbtAI
— Patrick Wilson (@patrickmwilson) October 24, 2017
Can you imagine the outcry from the media if Republicans had sent out a mailer portraying a Hispanic Democrat this way? It would be the lead story on MSNBC and CNN for days. This mailer is vicious.
And then there’s the matter of the Democrats removing the image of their black nominee for Lieutenant Governor from a campaign brochure:
— Matthew (@zypldot) October 22, 2017
The Washington Post reports the reason for the omission is that the brochures were produced for canvassers for the Laborers’ International Union of North America, which has not endorsed Fairfax due to his opposition to two natural gas pipelines the union supports.
This brings back memories of the 2013 campaign when Ralph Northam was running for Lieutenant Governor and refused to shake hands with his black Republican opponent, E.W. Jackson:
I do not believe Ralph Northam is a racist. I think he has demonstrated a lot of hatred and contempt for Republicans, but I do not think it was racially motivated.
Nevertheless, there’s no question that the Democrats are playing racial politics, which is disgusting. Virginia Democrats are exploiting racial tensions in a desperate move to boost poll numbers ahead of the election less than two weeks away.
Shame on the Virginia Democratic Party. They should rise above this demagoguery.
Photo credit: Screenshot via Twitter