The Republican case against Virginia's Ken Cuccinelli

Virginia Republicans should reject Ken Cuccinelli and throw their support behind Robert Sarvis, and for good reason. Photo: Associated Press

OCALA, Fla., November 1, 2013 — Ken Cuccinelli wants to be the governor of Virginia much in the same way that Bill de Blasio wants to be the mayor of New York.

Both are textbook cases of ideological zealotry; young radicals who never outgrew their crusades. While de Blasio was a Sandinista —  literally — Cuccinelli took up with the fundamentalist Christian-dominated religious right.

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Today, de Blasio is a shoo-in for Gracie Mansion, while Cuccinelli is locked in a surprisingly competitive bid for the Old Dominion’s executive office. 

This is bad news all around.

Obviously, de Blasio’s fiscal ideas will cause serious troubles in the world’s, let alone the country’s, financial capitol. It is no exaggeration to say that this, combined with his penchant for racial grievance politics, might send New York into an irreversible downward spiral.

Cuccinelli, meanwhile, supports a host of terribly destructive causes. From instituting anti-sodomy laws to supporting legislation which would criminalize all abortions and certain forms of birth control to forsaking environmental conservation, there can be no question that he is out of step with Virginia’s mainstream.

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As reality has it, though, neither is his opponent.

Terry McAuliffe has spent his adult life in the gray zone between shady business practices and government malfeasance, if not corruption. A master fundraiser and public-private venture capitalist, he is the sort of person who voters think of when they ponder what is wrong with American politics.

Not one of these men deserve to be Virginia’s next governor.

Fortunately, there is a third choice for Commonwealth voters: Robert Sarvis, a libertarian who merges economic progress with social tolerance. He has been polling almost unbelievably high for a third party candidate, which serves as a testament to widespread disgust with Cuccinelli and McAuliffe.

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Virginia Republicans should support Sarvis not only because of Cuccinelli’s radicalism, but also because of his followers’ influence on GOP politics.

Earlier this year, a narrow band of hard-right activists gathered at the Republican Party of Virginia’s convention to nominate candidates for statewide office. Originally, the nomination was to be held via primary, which would have allowed the public to choose a nominee.

This also would have given moderate GOPers a fighting chance. If not for the brazenly undemocratic convention process, center-right Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling would likely be cruising to an easy win now.

The conservative wing wanted to flex their muscles, however, and they put up not only Cuccinelli, but an obscure minister named E.W. Jackson. He is after Bolling’s job, and has next to zero chance of getting it. 

If the entire VA-GOP statewide ticket goes down to defeat, which includes State Senator Mark Obenshain, an antiabortion extremist who is running for attorney general, then a strong message will have been sent. This message will resonate with voters, donors, campaign strategists, politicians, and special interest groups alike: Radical Republicans cannot win outside of select constituencies.

Such an event would almost definitely make Virginia’s GOP more inclined to adopt the primary system. It would surely diminish the influence which culture warriors, who have long since lost their national battle, hold over the Party.

When all is said and done, the differences between men like de Blasio and Cuccinelli are quite negligible. At heart, both are authoritarians who, in a deep struggle for some kind of personal validation, want to see their respective life philosophies imposed on the masses.

Opposing de Blasio’s ascendancy is a lost cause. There still is time for Virginians to stop Cuccinelli, thankfully.

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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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