Northam for Virginia. Part I.

Ralph Northam, the current Democratic Lieutenant Governorof Virginia is running for the head of the state against Ed Gillespie, the former head of the GOP.

Northam is an outstanding choice for Virginia but First, now, quickly, #NotGillespie and why.

Gillespie, Republican candidate for Governor in Virginia, has more and more embraced the values of Trump in the campaign.

1. Bad Policies for Virginians. Gillespie wants a pie-in-the-sky tax cut that would slash state revenue, by about $1.4 billion from an annual tax-supported budget of $20 billions. He wants to end Obamacare, supports the NRA, opposes a woman's right to choose, opposes Medicaid expansion, encourages white supremacists.

2. Bad Attitude toward Virginians. Gillespie, at a fund-raiser, recently revealed what he really thinks about millions of Virginians he claims he wants to represent as the next governor. He is on tape, calling Northern Virginia “enemy territory."

3. Trump's Man in Virginia. Gillespie is Trump's torchbearer in Virginia - has Trump values, has Trump support.

4. Overview. Here is the Washington Post editorial on Gillespie, November 4, 2017.

As Virginia's gubernatorial campaign intensified just after Labor Day, we published an editorial criticizing Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate once known as a fixture of the GOP establishment, for flirting with the electorate's "most noxious elements" by using Confederate monuments as a wedge issue just weeks after they were the rallying cause for racists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville.

Mr. Gillespie's campaign protested angrily, insisting to us that his focus, and that of Virginians, was on reducing penalties for marijuana possession; reforming the criminal-justice system with a focus on redemption; sluggish job creation and wage growth; sea-level rise; the opioid epidemic; surging gang activity; and the educational achievement gap. Really, Mr. Gillespie's allies were insisting, he remains the mainstream moderate he's always been.

Since then, however, Mr. Gillespie has doubled down on the politics of divisiveness and fear. His campaign's thrust has not been just a dog whistle to the intolerant, racially resentful parts of the Republican base; it's been a mating call.

Whether that's been an effective electoral strategy will be known after the polls close Tuesday. Already, though, its cost is clear, both to Mr. Gillespie's own moral stature and to Virginia's status as a centrist state that, until now, has retained a modicum of political civility. By embracing President Trump's inflammatory political tone and tenor with an advertising campaign that equated illegal immigrants with gang violence, harped on Confederate statues and suggested child sex predators are being armed by Democrats, the Gillespie campaign has crashed through the guardrails of decency.

Whether to leave or remove Confederate statues may be a genuine disagreement — Mr. Gillespie would leave them; Ralph Northam, his Democratic opponent, would remove them; neither could decide in most cases, which are under local control. But for Mr. Gillespie to whip up passions by stressing the issue immediately after the violence in Charlottesville has been to appeal to those for whom "heritage" and "tradition" are racist buzzwords.

Equally odious is Mr. Gillespie's effort to paint Mr. Northam, a pediatric neurologist, as an enabler of child sex offenders. He did so in an attack ad blaming the Democrat for restoring voting and other rights to convicted felons who have served their time, spotlighting an ex-convict who completed his sentence years before his rights were restored by Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D). It's true that Mr. Northam supports that policy; it's unclear how it differs from that of Mr. Gillespie, whose own support for rights restoration does not exclude sex offenders.

Moreover, by flooding the airwaves with an advertisement featuring an image of a hooded Hispanic gang member, and linking it to Mr. Northam's supposed backing of sanctuary cities — which don't exist in Virginia — Mr. Gillespie descended into ethnic scare-mongering.

The Republican candidate insists he is proud of his detailed position papers, which he carries around in a binder featuring titles such as "Collective Impact Model as a Framework to Solve Complicated Problems." But who is the real Mr. Gillespie — the man who wants to solve such "complicated problems" or the one content to sow hatred, suspicion and dread?


But Why Northam.

Part II. Coming later in the day.


November 5, 2017

Post Script. Live In Virginia? Vote on Tuesday and remind family and friends to Vote. Live elsewhere? Sign up to Get Out The Vote in Virginia from Your Home State.

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