The dramatic and profound shift in both the demographics and social attitudes of Virginians in just the last half-dozen years threatens to leave the state’s GOP in the dust in this year’s elections. Despite some lame attempts by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican standard bearer as its candidate for governor, to shift gears on some issues, there’s simply way too much out there in his record and those of his slate to dismiss or ignore.
This week, the Internet has been sizzling with a combination of outrage and derision over Cuccinelli’s repeated calls for the re-criminalization of sodomy, encompassing a range of sexual behaviors without regard for whether they involve same-sex or opposite-sex partners. Notwithstanding his personal views on the matter, to the extent his stand is based on the passage of the statewide Marshall-Newman amendment writing a ban on gay marriage into the state constitution, Cuccinelli is in for a big surprise.
That is, while that divisive, prejudicial amendment passed by a 57% – 43% margin in 2006, Virginia has changed a lot since then. In a recent Quinnipiac University poll, a plurality of citizens, 50% – 43%, here now favor the legalization of gay marriage!
As with his Neanderthal positions on women’s rights, labor and immigration reform – all extreme even among most Republicans – Cuccinelli’s anti-gay and anti-sodomy agendas are throwbacks to the era when Virginia held out for some of the most racist laws in the nation, including against interracial marriage as recently as 1967.
Without a doubt, there are still plenty of areas in the state where views akin to Cuccinelli’s remain popular. But more and more, as the young struggle to break free from the grip of such idiocies and move to more enlightened, promising regions, and as their remaining populations age in place, their influence is diminishing, and with no prospect, at all, of recovering.
In more urban, faster-growing regions of the state, the populations enjoy an increasing influx of diverse races, ethnicities and cultures that enrich their lives and expand their appreciation for the benefits of justice, equality and fair play for all. These are the areas that are on the rise, and that will dominate the state’s political landscape in the future. The back-to-back victories of President Obama in Virginia are evidence the process is already well underway.
These areas are growing, too, not only in population, but in geographical spread. In Northern Virginia, they’re heading deeper into Prince William and Loudoun counties and beyond. It was indicative that Democratic U.S. Senator Tim Kaine won his election last November by carrying 51 districts where Republicans currently hold the seats in the House of Delegates.
While few Democrat politicos think that can translate into a major shift in the House of Delegates’ makeup this November, how can they be so sure? The more Cuccinelli talks, the better the chances of that become. If it were up to us, we wouldn’t be conceding a thing.