In about a week, it will be Election Day in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Although undoubtedly many people have already voted, others of us, myself included, have decided to wait to cast our votes on Election Day itself as it is traditionally done. As such, I thought I ought to share my thoughts of the candidates for this year’s ballot and offer suggestions of who the best candidate is if any.
The highest-profile election is that of the governor. Only two states are holding gubernatorial elections and Virginia, as is typical, is getting a lot of attention given how close the polls say the election is. On our ballot, we will find three choices, our former governor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, the Republican newcomer, Glenn Youngkin, and the relatively unknown Liberation Party candidate, Princess Blanding. As I wrote in a previous article, this election is a race to the bottom, with both of the major party candidates flooding the airwaves, our mailboxes, and our inboxes with material mostly designed to demonize their primary opposition. I have received nothing, either positive or negative from the Blanding campaign.
In many ways, Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin represent opposite sites of the same coin. They are both safe choices for their respective parties that are unlikely to rock the boat with any sort of ideological underpinnings. As such, I’ve read statements from party activists on both the left and right who aren’t particularly enthusiastic about their party’s nominee but will most likely vote for them due to the fear which is being whipped up by their own campaigns. Both McAuliffe and Youngkin represent the interests of big business and cronyism and seem to care little for what they perceive as antiquated notions such as liberty and limited government. I’ve read Republican activists rake Youngkin over the coals for being too weak on abortion and when it comes to gun rights the NRA refused to endorse him.
Nevertheless, I expect most Republicans to vote for Youngkin and Democrats to do likewise for McAuliffe as they consider their candidate to be the lesser of two evils. According to my ISideWith.com results, as I posted above, Youngkin is marginally closer to my values as compared to McAuliffe. Nevertheless, I intend to write in as a protest vote to these awful choices. I wish I could vote for Blanding but she is far too socialist for my taste. None of the candidates have earned my vote and I refuse to vote out of fear which has become all the rage in American politics these days. Keep in mind that if Youngkin wins it is likely that he will run in the future. Sure, he may be slightly better than McAuliffe but do you really want a bland, unprincipled candidate like him to be your party’s nominee in the future? After all, with the exception of Bob McDonnell (who ran into a host of corruption issues), being Virginia governor is almost a sure ticket to higher political office. Wouldn’t you prefer a candidate who actually shares your values as opposed to voting for him or her out of fear? I know I would. For example, I thank God that Ed Gillespie lost his two statewide bids for office because I certainly don’t want to see him one day in the halls of Congress. Don’t mortgage the long-term future of the Commonwealth and our country for some short-term lesser of two evils.
When it comes to the Attorney General race, there isn’t too much to say. Democrat Mark Herring has been our Attorney General since 2014. Although promising to uphold and defend the Virginia Constitution, he only does so when it is convenient for him. Delegate Jason Miyares is the Republican candidate. Even though some Republicans will deny it, he sponsored a red flag law while a member of the House of Delegates. Miyares voted to raise the age for tobacco use to 21 in Virginia and also voted against marijuana legalization. All of these issues show a pattern of infringement on liberty. Neither candidate is acceptable. I suggest writing in a pro-liberty candidate for this office.
Here in the 26th district House of Delegates district, we have two candidates. Republican Tony Wilt who was elected in a special election in 2010 is facing off against Democrat Bill Helsley. I’m pleased to say that I’ve spoken with both men and they both seem friendly and personable. However, one of the hallmarks of any democratic society is free and fair elections where all candidates compete under the same rules and regulations. Presently, in Virginia, we have a system whereby 3rd party and independent candidates have to collect the signatures of registered voters in order to appear on the ballot while often Republican and Democratic nominees are excluded from this requirement. Unfortunately, both Wilt and Helsley favor these barriers to entry in order to protect Republicans and Democrats’ stranglehold over our elections. Want to know why you only have two choices for most offices? This is a big reason why. I also want a delegate who puts principle ahead of partisanship and won’t be a cheerleader for his party and whoever they nominate for office. Therefore, I recommend writing in if you live in the 26th district.
Lastly, you may be asking about the lieutenant governor’s race. Usually overshadowed by the governor’s election, you don’t hear too much about this contest. Democratic Delegate Hala Ayala is facing off against former Republican Winsome Sears. This contest has given me the most trouble as I have gone back and forth as to how to vote. I’ve been tempted to write in Delegate Sam Rasoul who lost the Democratic nomination as he is quite favorable to ballot access reform in Virginia. I hear that some Democratic activists are doing so. However, during the one chance I had to speak with Winsome Sears, she told me that ballot access reform would be one of her top priorities if she were elected to the LG office. Although I haven’t voted for a Republican since 2018, for the reason listed, I think Sears deserves a chance.
So, there are my suggestions for the pro-liberty, pro-limited government slate appearing on my ballot. It stinks that we don’t have better choices this year, but, we must resist the temptation to vote for candidates who are hostile to our values; if we do so, hopefully, the next election cycle will be better. As the late, great Professor Anthony Downs says in An Economic Theory of Democracy, a voter “may temporarily support a hopeless party as a warning to some other party to change its platform if it wants his support…(this action is) rational for people who prefer better choice-alternatives in the future to present participation in the selection of a government.”