[Sun Gazette editorials represent the viewpoint of Sun Gazette Newspapers, which provides content to, but is otherwise unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]
Imagine for a moment if, last fall, an interest group began dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign coffers of County Board member John Vihstadt, allowing him to swamp voters with mailings and other advertising in an unprecedented spending spree.
Just taking a guess here: The Arlington County Democratic Committee and prominent Democrats across Arlington would be up in arms, calling it a perversion of the electoral process while making demands for stricter campaign-finance laws to ensure elections are won on the merits, not by he (or she) who has the most cash.
And yet, in the recently concluded Democratic primary for commonwealth’s attorney, many of those same Democrats stood by, with nothing to say, as one candidate (Parisa Tafti) was bankrolled to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars by a left-wing national political-action committee.
(It sometimes seems moral indignation can be pretty selective, can’t it? Funny how that works.)
This is being written before the results of the primary are known, but the winner is, for the purposes of our discussion, beside the point. Arlington politics has now changed, perhaps irrevocably – and not for the good.
And it is those prominent Democrats who did not speak out against the excessive use of outside money on a purely local race who will have only themselves to blame for what might come next.
Because, in politics as in life, the only sure kind of consequences are the unintended ones.