David Reynolds: The Electoral Mirror

Elections are not just about winners and losers. They are about you and me, the electorate who voted for those who won and lost. Thus, an election is a mirror of ourselves.

So, what did we say about ourselves? We laid out a comfort zone. If a candidate was outside of it, he or she was not able to catch the brass ring. We said that how we feel about a candidate is how we like to feel about ourselves. We prefer to speak and live softly. If you want to win, we tell our candidates don’t come on too strong, find a quiet, friendly spot off a back road and we will likely vote for you. In-your-face controversy is out, but experience is in. No experience, no trust, no vote. It’s all good. Here in the valley, our physical comfort zone, our neighbors are free and friendly.

There are other comfort zones. We call them academic communities. I have finally come to the conclusion that it would be a mistake for such communities, usually independent cities, to be swallowed up by the surrounding county. Blurring city lines makes no sense. If you doubt this, examine the election results for any recent year, including this November. And while you’re at it, check out the Alleghany County/City of Covington merger vote. Both jurisdictions have decided to allow their citizens to continue their separate ways. Isn’t federalism wonderful? We can live as we vote. Yes, but it’s expensive.

What about the newly elected? Allow me to answer this way: Does putting wine from old bottles change its taste?

Did you notice that the Democratic Party in the Rockbridge area has proven once again how to play the great game of politics? Simple — forget local endorsements. When will Republicans learn that backing candidates falls under the Law of Unintended Consequences?

And how about the man who lost the governorship by a landslide (20 percentage points) keeping his state senate seat by another landslide, winning 64-36. His GOP opponent can now go back to helping clients decipher the tax code. Welcome home, Creigh.

Besides personalities, you might be wondering how the issues fared in the past election? What issues?

One last point on the importance of voting. Two hundred and twenty-four voters in the 17th Senate District determined the legislative agenda for over 8 million Virginians. The GOP now controls both houses of Virginia’s General Assembly.

Column by David Reynolds

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