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The buffets are closed and smorgasbords may be a permanent casualty of the COVID crisis, but at least Virginia voters are going to have a cornucopia of options to choose from in the 2021 gubernatorial race.
And heaven help us all!
From one prospect (Del. Lee Carter) so far out to the left that even most of his fellow Democrats wish he would just go away and give them a break, to another in the mix (Republican state Sen. Amanda Chase, now apparently running as an independent) who appears to be channeling her inner Sarah Palin (yeeeeee-haw!), to a number of wannabes who seem to be jumping the line and angling for the top job having made barely a ripple in their current positions – hey, it worked for Barack Obama – the potential field on is something of a mish-mash.
And as we all have learned over the last decade or so both in Virginia and nationally, you get what you pay for (literally and, as in this case, figuratively) in politics. So while we’d ordinarily encourage voters who are worn out by the 2020 spectacle on the national stage to just go to sleep until the two parties have their statewide tickets in place next summer, this time around we have to reverse course and encourage every eligible voter who has some sanity remaining to stay engaged and participating.
The reason is simple: Given their druthers, Virginia Democrats will tack to the hard left and Republicans will veer to the wild and woolly right. Come Election Day 2021, the mainstream electorate may find itself again confronting a choice between two unpalatable options. Those who are not engaged in the nomination processes will have no one to blame but themselves for such a sorry eventuality.
Plus, for those with a macabre sense of humor, the 2021 nomination contests promise a good dose of entertainment. If Terry McAuliffe opts to try to regain his old perch as governor, will he be able to muscle out a new generation of Democratic politicians not so eager to get out of his way? On the Republican side, will the party be able to rebuild from the fugly schism between the grass roots and the insiders that occurred during the Trump era?
Oh, how lovely it would be to end up with Democratic and Republican gubernatorial nominees who represent common-sense, pragmatic leadership. You know, like Virginia used to have, not too terribly long ago.
It would be equally lovely to have competent options for lieutenant governor and attorney general, as well, rather than hyperpartisans or whackadoodles on both the left and the right attempting to use the posts as stepping-stones to something bigger.