How to Save Virginia

It’s hard to deny a growing federal government isn’t seriously altering the landscape of formerly red Virginia. So how would we go about saving it? I’d suggest a compromise. In exchange for DC earning representation in Congress, Arlington County and the City of Alexandria gets returned to the District of Columbia. Representation is essentially solved by treating it as part of the state it was carved out of for purposes of federal representation (this is how it was originally.).  That would take a nice chunk of reliably Democratic voters out of Virginia.

But would it be enough to swing the state back? I don’t have time to run the numbers to see whether it would work, but it’s worth looking at. You’d also have to presume GOP control of Virginia and Congress for this to work. Downside? No more carry in Arlington or Alexandria, and they’d get DC’s crappy gun laws, but we came very close to fixing DCs gun law as part of a voting rights deal once, so I don’t see why that couldn’t also be part of a potential deal to re-expand DC, or at the least only solve that issue for the part of Virginia granted back to DC.

Of course, this is in the realm of ideas that just might be crazy enough to work, but probably too crazy for the GOP. But if the Democrats could gain advantage through a maneuver like this, they’d do it in a heartbeat.

27 Responses to “How to Save Virginia”

  1. Joe says:

    Understanding the satire of this post, I’ll take a serious crack at it.

    Sure, you can cede Arlington and Alexandria back to DC, which are the liberal hotbeds of NoVA. Many smart-growth yuppies living there that will never vote Republican, in fact one candidate running for office this last go-around polled over 30%…under the Green Party.

    But you’re still leaving places like Fairfax and Prince William, the top 2 counties in all of VA population-wise, and Fairfax with its large immigrant population has gone from a swing county to pretty much a safe Dem one. Prince William still has conservative pockets in the western end (where I used to live), but the eastern end, which has the more populous I-95 and Rt. 1 corridors (with many latinos), is safely Dem as well.

    The biggest problem with your theory is that the sprawl in NoVA is still full-speed ahead. Loudoun was a very slow developer for years and then got a BOCS that unplugged the drain, and it is now the fastest-growing jurisdiction. The eastern end of the county (Sterling, Ashburn, etc) votes Dem, with the western end (Leesburg, Purceville), still being more rural in nature, voting Republican. It’s gotten so bad there that the western end tried unsuccessfully to secede and form a new county altogether (Cactocin).

    In conclusion, I believe only a more moderate Republican will be able to carry VA from here on out. Like I’ve said a couple times past few days, McDonnell was able to win in NoVA because he campaigned on jobs and transportation and quietly ignored his socially-conservative credentials, never allowing Deeds to latch onto them. Cuccinelli’s biggest enemy was himself.

  2. dustydog says:

    DC should be returned to Maryland. Give DC voters a say in Maryland’s senators, Maryland gets one more seat in the House.

    A lot of folks would be happy attaching Arlington to DC & Maryland, attaching Maryland’s eastern shore to Virgina or Delaware, and attaching Western Maryland to Virginia, West Virginia, or PA.

    A lot of New York would be happy spinning NYC off as its own state. Many Californians would be happy to see their state split into 2 or 3 states.

    • David says:

      I’ve said the same thing regarding DC. The land that remains is land taken from Maryland. Just draw a line around the actual seat of Government (Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court) and give the rest back to Maryland. You would have a few people still remaining that live on Capitol Hill but there are not enough of them to matter and if they really want to have representative in Congress, they can move to Maryland (we don’t need anymore libs in VA). The government has been moving agency offices to Maryland anyway so it won’t make any difference that all those department HQs would now be in Maryland than officially DC.

      • mikee says:

        Asa MD resident for an entire decade, 1990-2000, I speak with some authority in saying that MD has in the past had the opportunity to take DC back, and has refused. MD already has Baltimore, and does not need another crime-ridden city under its administrative rule.

  3. Other_Dave says:

    I rather think that the pro-gun residents of Arlington & Alexandria – all 6 of them, would be pretty ticked off at this idea.

    Keep in mind that we have McAulliffe now, because the R party backed Cuccinelli the backstabber over Bill Bolling who was solidly pro-gun without Cuce’s baggage.

    Team R lost on abortion. Gun Rights needs a capital “D” Divorce from the crowd who want to tell you what you can do to, with or for your body. You can be pro life, pro adoption, pro whatever you want but as soon as you entertain the idea of taking someone’s freedom for what they do with their own body, you lose friends and alienate people.

    The compromise of which you speak did not “resolve” DC’s gun laws, it would have improved them.

    There ought to be a law ! [against passing more laws]

    • HappyWarrior6 says:

      As long as “what you do with your body” doesn’t mean killing someone else then I’m all for it.

    • Geodkyt says:

      Bill Bolling backed out when he realized he wasn’t going to be able to use his Good Ol’ Boy network in Richmond to ram his nomination down the throats of the Virginia Republican county level committees. he knew he couldn’t win the support of the people who ACTUALLY make up the working majority of the Virginia GOP committees.

      Speaking as someone who has been serving on one of those county level committees, and intensly involved in the gubernatorial nomination process this past go around.

  4. BEATBOX says:

    Never happen. No way richmond would give up the tax revenue…no matter the politics of northern virginia. No way NoVa businesses would stand for being subjected to DC taxes (which is one reason they probably went to Va in the first place.) No Va republican or dem would give up the congressional representation.

    Basically, any institution with political power would fight this.

  5. AndyN says:

    Unless I’m missing something, you’d need to amend either Article I, Section 2 & 3 (“of the several States”/”from each State”) or Section 8 (“…such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States…”) of the Constitution. I really can’t see getting enough people behind this idea to carry an amendment. Is it even remotely likely that 2/3 of Senators or 2/3 of the state legislatures would be interested in diluting their power in the Senate even a little?

    It’s also the case that there are a lot of run down neighborhoods already in DC that would be ripe for gentrification if people in a decent financial situation wanted to live under the authority of the DC government. I have a feeling that if you suddenly made all those enlightened progs in northern Virginia subject to the laws of DC, you’d see a noticeable migration further south or west. And like Joe said, 13% of all votes in the state on Tuesday were cast in Fairfax County, and it went to McAuliffe by 19 points.

    On the plus side, if your plan succeeded, my douchebag former brother-in-law would either have to move out of the condo he bought with an interest only mortgage at the height of the real estate bubble or live under DC law, so you’ve got my vote.

    • Patrick says:

      DC has already hugely gentrified. It’s not close to complete, but the demographics are at a tipping point. I know Hill staffers who used to live in moderately acceptable areas of SouthEast (not far from the real nasty parts) who were forced out because they couldn’t afford anther bedroom for their first kid. Back when they bought, they could have had three houses for the same money.

      Also, I think this year was the first time in forever that white hipsters put out more kids than all African Americans in DC, combined. PG and Maryland have been taking in DC expats for some time now, mostly because DC is costing them too much.

      The neighborhood I used to work in (the Navy Yard) was a flaming garbage pile a decade ago. That is not an exaggeration: it literally had a garbage transfer warehouse that would occasionally catch fire, and police cruisers that were getting repaired at the nearby garage would be burned overnight. Getting mugged at knife point – or by a gang of “misguided youths” – was a right-of-passage (one I avoided).

      Today it has a new baseball stadium, a Five Guys, Starbucks, hotels (nice ones) and is the regional headquarters for several multi-national firms. It also smells a lot nicer since they dumped the garbage station. I was down there last year at 2 AM for some work, and didn’t feel any more concerned sitting in my car on the open street than I would have anywhere else in DC. Contrast that from ten years ago, when a tire blew out at 10 PM in summer and a gang descended on me as I checked the damage. I jumped in and rode bag – sparks flying from the rim – to the Yard where a Navy dude with an M4 stood over me while I changed out the tire (thanks, again).

      All that, in ten years.

      Anyway, a lot of people like to live in DC. It has its charms, but the business climate for small business is bad and the climate for everyone else is tolerable only if you need to be there. Taxes are high, and the council cannot get their act together on any given day. The only upside I see from the governance standpoint is that they haven’t had a mayor caught smoking crack in a few years (they put him on the council, though)*.

      * As an aside, Marion Barry is screaming mad (literally) about gentrification in his district. He does everything he can to slow down the incoming hipsters using an odd piece of council legerdemain that lets him effectively veto projects he does not like. He even publicly complains about “all those asians” moving in. His entire power base is disappearing, and fast. Once the gentrification finally sets in, he’s done.

  6. Countertop says:

    Terrible idea, and it wouldn’t fix the problem. Arlington and Alexandria would still vote the way they do. McLean and Tysons and Great Falls, being immediately outside the jurisdiction of DC would thus turn into Arlington and Alexandria, making Fairfax even more liberal (I live in the D precinct in Mclean, but the rest of it is largly republican).

    I think a smart Republican can easily win Virginia. But, and this is a cruel way to put it, its goign to take a lot of old people – who make up the large part of the party – dying. Ken should have walked away with this election. Kaine should never have been elected either. The Problem isn’t the population, or even changing populations and immigrant populations (the Koreans and Indians and Latinos by me are as entrepenurial as they come) but rather the idiots in the Republican party. George Allan is an asshole. And he’s incompetant. But not only did they elect him the first time as Governor, and then the second time as Senator, but after the Macaca incidient those idiots went and re-nominated him.

    That is a serious serious issue. Our neighbor, who’s son is one of my son’s best friends, is an Indian guy. He’s lived here in the US for 40+ years. I think his wife was actually born here. He’s a Senior Sales Exec focused on the federal government for a major major major major major Seattle based operating systems company. He is an across the board Republcian voter. But he didn’t vote last time for Allan (He did vote for Romney), and he didn’t vote at all this time, because he’s still so pissed over George Allan getting the nomination.

    That’s a much bigger problem (which is a Republican Party volunteer problem) than anything else, in my mind.

    I was seriously considering a run for the Virginia House of Delegates. Our long time delegate ran unopposed. And in the neighboring district, (where my inlaws live and I used to live), another guy retired and his hand picked successor ran unopposed. I was going to run to their left, and would have cleaned their clocks, as a Republican. As I laid out my plan, one of my goals was to outfreedom them and point out how hostile they had been as little as 10 years ago to Gay Marriage while I was lobbying and marching for the rights of gays to marry in the mid 90s. I also intended to focus on the futility of associating with the Mayor of New York calling for Gun Control and pointing out that Virginia can handle its own affairs just fine (and in the process, use that MAIG suport to tie them to Bloomberg’s racist Stop and Frisk campaign in New York). Finally, I had a full on approach for immigration tied to my families story of coming over (both from Sweden and from Italy) and comparing their challenges and the reaction of the entrenched WASPs to what todays immigrants face).

    Well, the party was thrilled initially that I was going to run. When I explained how I saw an opening to be a Republican that ran far to the left on important issues in the district I was told in no uncertain terms Id be left on myown, no one would fundraise for me, nor would they help find volunteers.

    And that, right there is the core of the issue.

    • Sebastian says:

      I think one reason that Democrats are at an inherent advantage electrically is that, if you strip away all the bullshit, it’s a coalition of people who want things from government. When that’s your overarching goal, winning becomes a lot more important than petty things like ideology.

      Republicans are much more concerned about ideology than they are about winning, and that’s why they win a lot less often. I don’t know what the solution for this is, because I don’t think the GOP can replicate a coalition that is only concerned about raw power. But at the same time, you have to win elections if you want to move things in your preferred direction.

    • Archer says:

      So in other words, you tried to run against the establishment, and the establishment smacked you down.

      It’s stuff like this that makes me think the GOP as an established party is in a suicide spiral. It’s commonly thought that it’s in a death spiral, but I think it’s self-inflicted. They won’t allow new blood. They won’t allow economic conservatives who are social liberals (a.k.a. Libertarians or Tea Partiers) to run on their ticket, even if that person is infinitely more electable in a given district than the establishment nominee.

      We (gun owners) been accused of “bitterly clinging to our guns and Bibles,” but I think it’s the GOP that’s bitterly clinging to overly-strict anti-gay and anti-abortion agendas. It’s costing them elections, but they refuse to give them up.

      I think your plan would have worked. EconCon and SoMod, but mostly Pro-Liberty. I’d vote for that – I believe it’s an electable and desirable platform, and I’m sure I’m not the only one – but the Powers That Be will never allow such an individual on the ticket.

    • Geodkyt says:

      Agreed — and Bill Bolling was going to use the SAME process that got Allen the nomination. Once he couldn’t force that down our throats, Bolling basically bailed out of the race, because he knew he had ZERO chance of getting the nomination if he had to convince the people who actually follow politics.

      At teh STATE level, the VA GOP runs like a concentrated version of teh national GOP — politicians get the nod because “it’s their turn” in large part. At the COUNTY level, the VA GOP is a very different animal — and the county committees held firm that they DIDN’T want a taxpayer funded primary this time around, where name recognition and money are 100% of the game.

      The Good Old Boy network was pissed that the peasants revolted. The lackluster GOP support for THEIR OWN CANDIDATE was the result. Screw blaming the Libertarian (actually bought-and-paid-for Liberal) candidate — had teh GOP lifted a finger when it was apparant that the McAuliffe run was a major Dem target, they would have closed the gap and gotten a Cuchinelli win.

  7. Archer says:

    Arlington and Fairfax (next one over) counties carried the state in the gubernatorial election. The Dems won those two counties and Alexandria by a combined 121,000 votes, but only won the governor’s race by 55,000. Ceding both to D.C. would leave a red state.

    Ceding just Arlington county and Alexandria would leave a solidly purple state, as they went blue by 53,000 combined. Depending on where Falls Church (blue by 2,400) sits, that might have been enough.

    Of course, I’m armchair quarterbacking at this point. This was just one election, and not necessarily indicative of historical voting tendencies.

    • Joe says:

      Yes, losing Arlington and Fairfax would most likely leave a borderline red state (remember, we still have places like Richmond and the Tidewater), and losing Arlington and Alexandria would leave a purple one…maybe for another few election cycles.

      Ceding these left-leaning areas aren’t going to turn VA red from here on out because of the increasing population. If growth was stagnant or declining (say DC is a rust belt city 20 or 30 years ago) then this theory would work. But the exurbs of Prince William and Loudoun are projecting record growth, and I guarantee all of these transplants (most are from the northeast and west) aren’t going to become born-again conservatives.

      As long as the monster that is the federal government and its supporting private industry continues to grow, it’s going to attract the types of people to VA who tend to vote Democrat. They know which side butters their bread.

  8. Rod says:

    We could make a similar improvement by giving Philadelphia to NJ. It’s good for everybody: Philly would get the gun regulations they want, PA would be “in play” in Presidential elections, and Jersey would have greater representation.

  9. Sebastian says:

    I should note that I accept a proposal like this wouldn’t really be workable, because too many diverse interests would oppose it. But it’s something to think about.

  10. ern says:

    I’m wondering if eventually the disparity between Northern Virginia and the rest of the state might eventually prompt some of the same discussions going on in other states like Colorado about splitting the state in two. The demographic and ideological differences between Northern Virginia and the rest are so wide and intractable that such a division would probably make everyone happier. Won’t happen either, but still interesting to think about. Truth is, polarization can’t get much worse than it is without something bad happening, and all these solutions are band-aids. We need an honest-to-goodness leader, and neither party is providing one.

  11. Andy B. says:

    How much of VA would we have to include in the new Washington, DC, to encompass all of the Religious Right front organizations that have clustered close to the Capitol, the better for their strident voices to be heard? And their stealth political consultancies and “communications” outfits?

    Thrown into DC itself, they could then confront Satan himself on a daily basis — rather than making forays to show their flags and then retreating to sing to the check-writers of their choirs — and in theory should be gloriously happy. And so busy they would leave the rest of us alone.

    • Sebastian says:

      Pretty far out. DC can be no more than ten miles square constitutionally.

      • Andy B. says:

        Well, if you’ve seen how congressional districts can be gerrymandered, including a block or two of Seattle wouldn’t be out of the question. ;-)

  12. Barry Hirsh says:

    The most efficient way to do that is to exile all voters with a political position left of center-right. AAMOF, we should pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting leftism in politics anywhere in this country, and what is now “centrist” should be the furthest left constitutionally accepted.

    Under the First Amendment, they can still talk all they want. But they should be prohibited from holding any public office.

  13. Andy B. says:

    “a constitutional amendment prohibiting leftism. . .”

    I’m savoring leftism being prohibited by an amendment that would be, by definition, leftist.

  14. Bram says:

    Significantly cut spending and deflate the spreading malignant government tumor that is DC (and now northern VA).