There has been much analysis of the Virginia governor’s race in which Clinton crony Terry McAuliffe edged out Republican Ken Cuccinelli by two points. Liberals have portrayed the outcome as heralding the death of the Tea Party, while conservatives have, among other things, blamed the GOP establishment for failing to provide the financial backing that could have put Cuccinelli over the top. But the truth?
The Virginia race bodes well for the Tea Party in 2014.
One problem with most of the analysis involves a common human failing: people want simple, one-dimensional explanations and don’t truly wrap their minds around the fact that an outcome can reflect multiple factors. So we hear that Cuccinelli’s loss was due to establishment GOP neglect or even hostility, or media bias or poor Republican tactics or vote fraud or Fluke-foolish young women or Robert Sarvis the libertarian vote siphoner.
Replace every “or” with an “and” and you have close to a complete explanation.
Having said this, I’d like to focus on Sarvis and his seven-percent vote share. As you probably know by now, it has been revealed that an Obama bundler was helping to finance the Sarvis campaign in order to split the conservative vote.
And it likely worked.
Election analysis seems to indicate that if the conservative votes won by Sarvis had gone to Cuccinelli, the Republican would have won this very close race. This is why even libertarian stalwart Ron Paul said that voting for Sarvis would be “insane.”
Now, I’m not indulging sour grapes, nor am I descending into the error of single-factor analysis. My point is this: the Democrats obviously believed that despite their media advantage and war-on-women propaganda and the GOP’s tactical timidity, they couldn’t win without splitting the conservative vote. Theirs was not the behavior of people confident in the strength of their ideology and record.
It was an admission of weakness.
This bears repeating. The Democrats have tacitly acknowledged that they could not win without splitting the conservative vote — which was the majority.
To buttress this point, consider what American Thinker’s C. Edmund Wright wrote about Michael Barone’s statistical election analysis: “Barone's figures show that Virginia voters disapprove [of ObamaCare] by 53-45%, strangely close to the vote tally of Cuccinelli and quasi-libertarian Robert Sarvis combined.” In other words, the Democrats had an eight-point ideological disadvantage with respect to the main issue of the day and likely could not have won a head-to-head race against Cuccinelli.
So what will happen in November 2014? It’s hard to predict outcomes a year before an election, and the Democrats’ dirty-tricks specialization is always a factor difficult to quantify. But they just may need all the tricks they can muster to hold their own, as the GOP’s ideological advantage will likely carry over into the next election.