By letting the Tea Party caucus force a government shutdown, GOP leaders sealed their party’s fate. And Virginia will prove it on Nov. 5.
That’s when Virginia, once a swing state, will elect Democrat Terry McAuliffe as governor in next month’s off-year election.
But it won’t stop there. Angry government employees, government contractors and their families will turn purple states blue, reduce the GOP to minority status in the House, and install a Democrat — probably Hillary Clinton — as president in 2016.
Don’t believe me … or don’t want to see that happen?
Given the current situation on Capitol Hill, this looks like the beginning of our new reality.
Thanks to this government shutdown, Virginia could very well take Ohio’s place as the state to win in every presidential election going forward. Without Virginia, contenders for the nation’s highest office will never see the Oval Office without a visitor’s pass.
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The government shutdown is causing pain all over the country, but Virginia is hurting the most.
The Old Dominion was the single-largest recipient of federal contracts in FY 2013, bringing in more than $38 billion. Virginia beats out much larger states like New Jersey, California and Texas, according to government figures. Nearly 175,000 Virginians — most on furlough — work for the federal government.
No amount of GOP advertising will convince this deep-purple swing state’s well-educated population that Democrats caused this government shutdown. Contractors are already announcing layoffs. Many unemployed Virginians hold Senator Ted Cruz and House Speaker John Boehner responsible.
Many of these same citizens are already suffering because of the "sequestration" squeeze. They won’t forget.
And there’s more …
- Influence-peddling scandals were already dogging current Governor Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate to replace McDonnell.
- Social issues have both men lagging badly among likely women voters.
- Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis scores surprisingly well in polls — and pulls right-leaning voters away from Cuccinelli.
At least four of Virginia’s House Republicans recognize the danger. They know an angry coalition of women, federal employees and government contractors can sweep them out of office next year.
Fearing their defense-heavy districts could pay a hefty price for the gridlock in Washington, they are pushing their colleagues to end the crisis swiftly.
- Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.): "Time for a clean [continuing resolution]." [Official Twitter, 10/1/13]
- Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.): Aides say Wolf agrees with Rigell and wants a clean continuing resolution. [The Hill, 10/1/13]
- Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) is telling constituents he would vote for a clean funding bill but hasn’t had "an opportunity to do so at this point." [Huffington Post, 10/1/13]
- Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) told reporters that he supports the Senate’s six-week clean funding bill. [The Virginian-Pilot, 10/2/13]
Others in the Virginia delegation are pushing behind the scenes to end the shutdown.
While Speaker Boehner looks for a way out of the shutdown mess, he seems oblivious to Virginia’s heavy dependence on defense contracts.
Northern Virginia is home to top military contractors including Northrop Grumman (NOC), General Dynamics (GD) and Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH). The Pentagon itself is in Virginia with a massive civilian workforce. Hampton Roads has a huge Navy presence.
Virginia is uniquely dependent on the federal government, especially the Defense Department, for jobs and economic growth. The shutdown would put Virginia’s House and State politicians in peril at any time.
Combined with a feminist backlash against conservative social stands and scandal clouds around the party’s candidate, the Republicans face political disaster in Virginia.
What I find especially amazing is House Majority Leader Eric Cantor seems oblivious to the danger. Yes, Cantor’s district around Richmond has the state’s smallest federal presence. But does Cantor really believe Democrats will miss the opportunity to use the shutdown against every Republican?
In many ways, Cantor takes the same position as Senator Cruz — promoting their own interests at the expense of their party. His "me-first" strategy could put a Democrat in the governor’s mansion and cost the Republicans several House seats next year.
(photo credit Gage Skidmore)
Amazingly, even knowing that Cruz helped to engineer this incredibly damaging shutdown, gubernatorial candidate Cuccinelli is still using Cruz to raise money. At an Oct. 5 event, Cuccinelli avoided being photographed with Cruz, didn’t mention Cruz in his speech, and left the room before Cruz took the stage.
Cuccinelli knows how much trouble he is in, but he desperately needs the Tea Party money Cruz attracts.
I grew up hearing "whoever wins Ohio wins the Presidency." Now a Virginia loss will take all hope of winning a national election from Republicans.
Investors need to pay attention, too. Unless the shutdown ends soon, lost contract revenue will hurt the bottom line at public companies. Financial analysts on Wall Street will start reducing earnings estimates.
A big hit to 401(k) and IRA accounts could seal the Republican fate. Swing voters around the nation could put Hillary Clinton in the White House with a Senate supermajority on her side and Nancy Pelosi in the Speaker’s chair.
How will Republicans who think life is unbearable now deal with that consequence?
Good luck and best wishes,
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