All About Politics: Gun Control in Virginia, Alabama Senate Race

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The Virginia State Capitol in Richmond. Photo by Anderskev.

Gun Control

The horrific event in Las Vegas has created a palpable mood of enormous sadness for the victims and their families and the entire nation.

The subject of “gun control” has once again emerged as a campaign issue in the closely watched Virginia governor’s race. Democrat Ralph Northam did not hesitate to speak his mind. He said the following:

“We as a society need to stand up and say it’s time to take action and stop talking.”

Northam wants mandatory universal background checks for firearm purchases. He also wants to reinstate the Virginia law that limits gun purchases to one a month. That law expired in 2012.

In contrast to Northam’s forthright stance, Republican Ed Gillespie refused to answer any questions about whether or not Virginia should revise its gun laws. Gillespie, in a cowardly attempt to dodge the issue, said the following:

“There will be ample time for conversations and policy discussions and politics over the course of this campaign.”

This response from Gillespie is because he fears retaliation from the National Rifle Association. Gillespie has received an “A” rating from the NRA.

Northam, to his credit, has received a “F” rating.

Gillespie is desperate to prove he is a true right-wing conservative. He will do about anything to appeal to this wing of the GOP.

University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato accurately states that Democrats are very worried about turnout in this off-off-year election. Those who are most likely to turn out are white, older and GOP voters.

The Democratic base turns out in presidential elections and dramatically drops off in off-off-years. Terry McAuliffe barely beat Ken Cuccinelli four years ago, though Cuccinelli was considered far too right even for Virginia by many.

Alabama Senate Race

It should not have surprised anybody that Roy Moore won the Republican primary run-off against 6-foot-9 “Big Luther” Strange. “Big Luther” is what Donald Trump affectionately called him. Trump was convinced by the GOP establishment to go down to Alabama and do a campaign rally for Strange.

It didn’t help one bit. Strange got beat by 10 points.

Democrats believe they have a chance to pick up this seat with a very solid and attractive candidate named Doug Jones.

The last Democrat to occupy a Senate seat in Alabama was the highly respected Howell Heflin. That was way back in the mid-’90s. Heflin, like Moore a former state supreme court chief justice, was the deciding vote against Jeff Sessions becoming a federal judge.

Jones is a former U.S. attorney; he successfully prosecuted and convicted Ku Klux Klan members responsible for the bombing and killing of four African American girls in the 1964 Birmingham church bombing.

Joe Biden went to Alabama on Oct. 3 to campaign for Jones and Bill Clinton is being asked to help Jones as well.

Even with all this star power, Jones is definitely in an uphill fight.

Yes, Moore has many negatives and embarrasses many GOP voters with his extreme and some say bigoted views, but this state in the heart of Dixie is overwhelmingly Republican.

If Jones should beat Moore, it would be considered a major upset, even a miracle. It would also show that if you find a “quality candidate,” sometimes a Democrat can win in the South.

In addition, the Democrats’ best hope for the midterms in 2018 is a profusion of extreme right-wingers who take over the GOP and make the party vulnerable to defeat.

Political analyst and Georgetowner columnist Mark Plotkin is a contributor to the BBC on American politics and a contributor to thehill.com. Reach him at markplotkindc@gmail.com.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I know you guys in the media desperately want to paint Virginia as a “swing State” so that you can crow when the Democrat candidate inevitably wins, but that hasn’t been the case for over a decade. Virginia has two Democrat Senators, a Democrat governor, and has voted for the Democrat Presidential candidate since 2004. Northam will win, and no one with a modicum of political insight is giving Gillespie a chance.

    And as for Gillespie being a “coward,” I can see how sticking to one’s principles would appear cowardly to those who have none.

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