ICYMI: Virginia’s full week of electoral aftershocks

DaysofWeekMy latest op-ed, title above, appeared in The Virginian-Pilot Thursday.

The resignation of Puckett, followed by the defeat of Cantor and then the passage of a budget all happened in one week. Today, we await the governor’s action on the budget.

One thing for sure: Virginia politics is never boring. Whatever the governor does is really not the end of things. The issues – particularly Medicaid expansion – will continue to be debated and elections – including the one to fill Puckett’s seat – will still occur.

Over on Facebook, I caught a debate raging on Chris Saxman’s page about the Republicans who have endorsed Mark Warner. (A couple of new names on the list came from Hampton Roads: former delegate Bob Tata and former senator Fred Quayle.) Saxman, a former legislator, argues that it is all about relationships. I agree.

Whenever I speak with Thelma Drake, who represented me in the House of Delegates and then in Congress, she always makes that point. The lack of relationships across the aisle is a problem in Washington. Increasingly, it’s a problem in Richmond, too.

The problem is exacerbated by partisan redistricting. Our reps end up talking mostly only to those with whom they already agree, because there really is no need to hear views from the opposite party. There simply aren’t enough voters in the vast majority of districts that are from the opposite party to make a difference. The only dissenting views are intra-party ones. The fear of being taken out by a member of the opposite party is, for too many electeds, nonexistent.

I’ve no doubt that fear drove a lot of the actions last week.

Once thing is certain: Our single-term governors have no fear of losing their next election. Whatever Gov. Terry McAuliffe decides to do about the budget may be based on political calculus but not fear.

My column appears in The Virginian-Pilot every week, usually on Thursdays. You can see the columns as they are published here, or navigate to them from the PilotOnline.com homepage by clicking on Opinion and then choosing my name at the bottom of the dropdown list. You can also see the columns by liking my Facebook page. Although my column appears weekly, I am not and have never been an employee of The Virginian-Pilot nor am I paid for my contributions to the paper.

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