The poll averages, the experts, and the media all say that Ed Gillespie will lose in Virginia on Tuesday. Here’s how he could beat the polls and win anyway.
Dewey Defeats Truman. Via Dave Winer on Flickr.
While it is true that the polls have crunched close, and Republican Ed Gillespie has even won a few, the poll average definitely favors Democrat Ralph Northam to be the next Governor of Virginia, replacing career Democrat operative Terry McAuliffe (Virginia has a one term limit).
But there are indicators to make us believe that he can win. First, the Democrats are running frankly insane ads, showing a great deal of desperation. This makes us believe they know something that makes them worry, beyond a few Republican-leaning polls going against them.
What the Democrats may believe, is what the Republicans also seem to believe: that Ed Gillespie will in the northern Virginia exurbs, where they just brought out Marco Rubio to campaign for him. But there’s also another factor working for Gillespie and against Northam: enthusiasm.
While Ed Gillespie is no Donald Trump, and in fact beat the Trump faction in the primary, his path to victory is a lot like Trump’s. He can reach disaffected voters, and he has an opponent that is creating disaffected voters.
What disaffected voters can he reach? Well, northern Virginia has many Republican voters, but they’re not the kind who wave Confederate flags and wear Make America Great Again hats.
These are establishment Republicans, many of whom actually work in DC and move the levers of power in the party and in government. They don’t like Trump, and the chance to vote for someone who’s not Trump, and stands for things Trump opposes, may give them reason to be happy, and be motivated to go vote. Marco Rubio (who won DC, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William in the 2016 primaries) is a great man to bring out to reach voters like this.
At the same time, though, the Democrats have a real problem. They had their own contested primary, in which Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam beat hard left activist Tom Perriello. Bernie Sanders endorsed Perriello. Ralph Northam twice voted for George W. Bush before becoming a Democrat to run for office. Northam won 56-44 after a bitter contest.
Northam may have won, and Perriello may have immediately endorsed him, but this has left the party in a state much like the Democrats were left in after their 2016 primary cycle. People who are excited for extreme socialist principles just have no reason to get excited for their candidate. Ralph Northam is almost certainly to the right of Hillary Clinton even. So their voters just might not even show up, hence the crazy ads trying to pin Donald Trump on Ed Gillespie.
It all boils down to two counties. Ed Gillespie must follow in the footsteps of former President George W. Bush, and former Governor Bob McDonnell. Those are the last two Republicans to win at the top of the ticket in Virginia. They both won the two key northern Virginia exurb counties of Loudoun and Prince William, both outside the Beltway on the fringes of the Washington DC area. If Ed really is ahead there, he’ll beat the polls and win the whole thing.