Prior to moving to Georgia this Spring, I was a Virginia resident for about a half-a-century. I was born at the Medical College of Virginia and other than living several years in Ohio and North Carolina, I lived in Virginia and know its history very well.
The Democratic party was king for over a century, dating back prior to the Civil War. The well-known Byrd Machine was made up of Democrats.
The state flipped red for a few decades after voting for Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Linwood Holton was the first Republican Governor elected, which occurred in 1969. In the governor’s race, usually there would a reaction to the President’s party for a number of decades. After Jimmy Carter’s election in 1976, Governor John Dalton, a Republican, was elected in 1977. When the U. S. would elect a Republican, Virginia would follow with a Democratic Governor in the next year’s election.
In recent years Virginia has been a much bluer state, partly due to the influx of people into Northern Virginia. But in addition to those factors, I think something else was at work in this election. Governor elect Ralph Northam is a real Virginian. His eastern shore accent gives him away.
Northam is not the wild-eyed liberal that is frequently seen today. Northam, according to Huffington Post, voted twice for President George W. Bush.
Northam is a U. S. Army veteran and a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, where Stonewall Jackson taught and Robert E. Lee is buried.
A majority of Virginians want Confederate monuments left in place. Whom would voters trust?
The out-going governor, Terry McAuliffe, was born in New York State. McAuliffe had New York values, not Virginia values. Southerners are cultural conservative. It certainly rubbed Southerners the wrong way when McAuliffe would assert his liberal Northeast values as Virginia values.
The Republican candidate for governor, Ed Gillespie, is a native of New Jersey. Knowing that, whom would traditional Virginians be more likely to trust. Another Northeasterner, or a true native born Virginian.
Virginia did not go for President Trump in the election last year. The gubernatorial election certainly was not a reaction to that.
Things are not always as they seem. I don’t know how Governor elect Northam will govern. Some liberals may be very disappointed with the man who opposes sanctuary cities. And governors are not as ideological on average as those who are elected to serve in Washington, DC.
Dr. Ashton C. Smith, © November 8, 2017, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.