Citing Democratic candidate for governor Terry McAuliffe’s pragmatic governing style, the Washington Post and the Daily Press both endorsed Mr. McAuliffe for governor in lieu of his opponent, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Ultimately, it was Cuccinelli’s less-than-moderate political tactics that lost him the moderate Virginian vote.
Come this November, then, Virginia could serve as important model for the rest of the country dealing with radical right-wing candidates for political office (assuming Terry McAuliffe wins the election for governor). Virginia and its citizens could be the dose of political moderation that some of our country so desperately needs.
In each of their endorsements for Terry McAuliffe, the Washington Post and the Daily Press cite a few reservations about Terry McAuliffe’s ability to effectively govern. McAuliffe has no governing experience, for example, a proposed weakness that has been held against the one-time superstar Democratic fundraiser. Each recognized, however, the perilous shift in political culture that could result from a Ken Cuccinelli governorship.
For Cuccinelli, governing has consisted of putting his own social agenda ahead of his duties to uphold the laws of Virginia, ‘doubling down’ on a number of social issues ranging from abortion to what sexual acts individuals can perform in the privacy of their own homes. Furthermore, not only did Cuccinelli’s decision to stay on as attorney general while running for governor fly in the face of Virginian political etiquette, it also flew in the face of the political positions that Cuccinelli has claimed he supports (e.g., fiscal conservatism).
Virginia hasn’t been a bastion of moderation throughout much of its history. But when it comes to electing representatives to public office, the moderate vote has more often than not declared victory in a state that still hosts sizable pockets of radical right-wing political beliefs. That is, Virginia is far from perfect.
While Virginia may be a far-cry from perfection, however, it does given the rest of the country struggling with issues of political moderation a model to at least provide a glimpse of a political environment not completely upended by partisan fighting. If McAuliffe does win the election in November, the country will see that moderation can still be a winning formula in politics.