Voting in Virginia: Your Vote Counts

Voting in Virginia: Your Vote Counts
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

When assessing the voting preferences of the people in various states, a knowledgeable political watchdog will find that Virginia is always up for grabs. During its history of reliably choosing Democrats when Virginia’s Southerners were wary of the growing power of the federal government, the Virginians habitually chose Harry Byrd Sr. and then Harry Bryd Jr. for an important seat in the U.S. Senate. The trend in Virginia during the later decades of the 20th Century was full of electing conservatives for federal and state posts.

Image from pixabay by Maialisa, CC0 Creative Commons.

Things began to change over more recent decades when Virginia’s northern counties became home for large numbers of federal employees. These people have customarily voted mainly to keep their jobs, and they don’t vote as Virginians formerly did. Many of the good-paying jobs they fill are with completely unconstitutional departments and agencies (Education, Energy, Transportation, Health, Foreign Aid, etc.). The bureaucrats who fill them aren’t conservatives; they are reliably left leaning liberals and their choices on election days can be expected to be liberal Democrats. These government employees have enormous influence in Virginia’s statewide races such as those for President, Governor, and U.S. Senator.

Nevertheless, distaste for even larger government has kept the state’s legislature from falling into the hands of liberals. But the growing presence of federal employees has led to a shrinking of the conservative-leaning GOP’s once solid 32-seat advantage in the 100-seat House of Delegates. Also, no one can deny the negative effect for GOP candidates of President Donald Trump.

In Virginia’s 2017 election, GOP domination advantage disappeared and the hotly contested race for the seat in the House of Delegates sought by Republican David Yancey and Democrat Shelly Simonds became the cliffhanger of cliffhangers. What was at stake was control of the lower House of Virginia’s government. If the Democrat prevailed, there would be a 50-50 split in the House, and the newly elected liberal Democrat governor would get to choose House leaders and set the House’s agenda.

The result on election day initially saw Democrat Simonds prevail by a single vote. A recount found another vote for Republican incumbent Yancey – which meant a tie and the winner could not be named. Each candidate had won exactly 11,607 votes. So Virginia did what its law called for. That law stipulated the creation of a non-vote drawing where the names of the two candidates are written on separate pieces of paper, put into a bowl, and the election winner is chosen when an official of the Virginia State Board of Elections selects one slip of paper. On January 4th, David Yancey’s name was on the slip pulled from the bowl. The Republicans had won and their margin in the House would be 51 to 49.

So, unless some other challenge is made, incumbent David Yancey will return as the elected representative of the district where a slip of paper, not a plurality of even one vote, made him the winner. A few more federal employees in the district would have resulted in a Democrat victory, not only for the single seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates, but for expanding Medicaid, approving a call for a federal Constitutional Convention, and a lot more.

Whoever says his vote doesn’t count should be made aware of what recently happened in Virginia.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Alabama Senate Race Indicates Possible Skullduggery by GOP Leaders

Alabama Senate Race Indicates Possible Skullduggery by GOP Leaders
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

When reviewing the way some elected officials are treated by their colleagues and the mass media, it’s really no surprise to discover that the standards of conduct claimed by Democrats are less stringent than those held by Republicans. The differences show that Republican leaders seem exceedingly harsh when one of their own gets accused of something, while Democrat leaders seem willing to give a Democrat offender only a gentle scolding.

Alabama in the United States. Image from Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Consider: Minnesota Democratic Senator Al Franken abused Ms. Leeann Tweeden while they were on a USO tour in 2006. There’s even a photo showing his smirking countenance while in the act of groping his sleeping victim. Because of the photo, he couldn’t claim “not guilty” so he apologized and added that he was “embarrassed and ashamed.” Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi didn’t ask for his scalp; Pelosi simply wants a formal investigation into what was depicted in the photo and also into some other indiscretions aired by Ms. Tweeden and others.

Then there is Michigan Democratic Congressman John Conyers. Information has surfaced accusing him of harassing and seeking sexual contact with a female congressional staffer in 2015. In addition, it seems likely that he paid her $27,000 out of federal funds to keep her quiet. And, now that the lid on his conduct had been blown away, two other women have made similar charges. Conyers resigned from Congress but only after thinking resigning his position as minority leader of the House Judiciary Committee would be enough. Besides this, there was no calling for the man’s scalp from Democratic Party leaders. And it looks like according to the Democrats, “retiring” seems to erase what he has done.

Contrast these cases with the ongoing treatment received by Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore, a staunch conservative Repubican. The Washington Post and New Yorker magazine have published charges that he abused teenagers 40 years ago when he was in his 30s. Some of Moore’s supposed victims have claimed that he went so far as to ask for sexual favors. He vehemently denies such allegations and wonders how come they are being made decades later when he’s involved in a political campaign. No such accusations ever surfaced in several of his other political races during his long career of serving in numerous elected posts in his home state.

The mere charges leveled against Moore have been accepted as reason enough for leading Republicans including Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, and several others to urge Moore to cancel his run for the Senate. No evidence confirming his supposed wrongdoing has been presented by anyone. Other Republican senators, Arizona Senator John McCain in particular, have been outspoken crusaders urging Moore to cancel his candidacy.

More recently, allegations have risen claiming Moore’s supposed improprieties with teen girls 40 years ago while he was roaming around a mall in Gadsden, Alabama. The claims include a charge that his disreputable conduct led to him being banned  from even entering the complex. The pile-on aimed at Moore has continued while no one has produced any evidence to back up claims of his supposed misbehavior.

What has surfaced are comments from two former mall employees who completely deny the charges aimed at Moore. Johnny Adams was the manager of the mall during the time of the supposed banning and he denies any such ban was ever aimed at Moore. He would have issued any prohibition of that type. Johnnie Sanders worked at the mall’s cafeteria during the same period, was always aware of any such action taken against anyone. He claims that, if such a banning had been issued against Moore, he would have known about it because he knew of some other individual who had deservedly earned such a prohibition.

Alabama voters will decide who will be their senator for the open seat on December 12. If Moore wins the election, some top Senate Republicans have suggested that they will seek to bar him from serving. All of this brings to mind the charge that there is little difference between Democrats and Republicans once they get elected to national office. In this case, the Democrats want their candidate to win the Senate seat. And, while they pose as anxious GOPers who want an ally elected to the Senate, Republican acceptance of completely unverified charges against Moore may well result in a Democratic victory in the upcoming election. All of which makes Roy Moore appear to be feared as a legitimate swamp drainer by top Republicans. Top Democrats agree.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


The White Flag Republicans: Is Surrender in Your Credo?

The White Flag Republicans
by JBS President John F. McManus

Only a few weeks ago, there was going to be a real fight over raising the debt ceiling. GOP leaders were poised to force President Obama’s hand. The U.S. government was running out of money again and, if not given a green light by Congress to borrow more, Uncle Sam would be unable to meet obligations – not only to Americans but to foreigners as well. Crisis loomed on the horizon if the debt ceiling weren’t raised!

Also, a new debt ceiling could have been set to occur before the November elections. It could have been created to show the public that Democrats running for office this Fall are members of the reckless spendthrift party, the party that is most responsible for piling up debt for today’s and tomorrow’s children. And that would be good for the Republicans, even good for the nation. All this would occur if the need for another raise in the debt ceiling before Election Day 2014 could be blamed on Democrats.

But it didn’t happen. When decisions had to be made, Republican leaders gave their opponents in Congress a blank check extending into 2015 – well past the date when the mid-term elections would be held. Credit GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and GOP House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio for caving in. They engineered a deal whereby increasing the debt ceiling could continue – without even a limit! – until early 2015. The November 2014 elections will be over by then and federal indebtedness will hardly be the issue it could have been.

As of March 5, 2014, the admitted National Debt stands at $17,449,362,830,163. That’s $17.5 trillion, and the figure does not even include huge unfunded obligations (Social Security, Medicare, etc.). The debt total for each person in America is $54,912. And the accumulated debt rises by $2.65 billion every single day.

Stopping this madness is imperative. A giant step toward needed sanity could have been taken by extending the allowable debt figure only so far, making any further increase occur prior to the 2014 elections, and beginning to cut back on spending. But McConnell and Boehner folded, 28 of the 230 House GOP members went along, Republicans in the Senate weren’t numerically strong enough to resist, and Congress produced so-called “clean” debt ceiling increase. The term “clean” meant there would be no real actual ceiling, and reckless spending could continue with no one shouldering obvious blame.

The golden opportunity Republicans had to increase their numbers in the House and take control of the Senate died. Subsequent cries for replacing both McConnell and Boehner have grown stronger. Many have decided that the McConnell-Boehner opposition to the suicidal course our nation has adopted amounts to no opposition whatsoever. Is surrender in your credo, too?

Not ours.