Susan Swecker, Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia is having the time of her life.
She cannot wait until Saturday’s Republican Party of Virginia’s weekly State Central Committee clown car Zoom show to hit the Facebook live pages. In fact, rumor has it the VA Dems actually plan watch parties around it, with champagne and locally brewed beer to boot! They say the comments section is the best comedy show since Seinfeld.
For 10 years, I have railed against the folly of Virginia Republicans holding conventions over primaries to nominate state-wide candidates. In fact, I’ve maintained that conventions have ripped the heart and soul out of the Party, relegating it to the New York Jets style dumpster fire it is today. The RPV is broke, decrepit and rudderless.
It’s a postal permit, three beepers and a Mr. Coffee machine masquerading as a political party.
Republicans have lost around 25 straight statewide races in Virginia since their last win in 2009. In the interim, they lost control of the House of Delegates and the State Senate.
Through it all, as bad as it is, Virginia Republicans actually have a fighting chance to gain back the House this November, as they only need to pick up six seats to wrestle it away from Caucus of the Corn (Eileen Filler-Corn is Speaker of the Democratic controlled lower chamber).
What more could go wrong?
Enter the gang of 30, circus stage left, led by RPV vice chair Kristi Way, of Eric Cantor chief of staff fame.
They have decided to hold the entire Republican Party of Virginia’s voters and all the statewide candidates hostage in their quest to force a primary on the State Central Committee.
While I personally prefer a primary this June, and I lobbied passionately and vigorously for it since last July, we lost the vote to the conventioneers 39-35 on December 6. A second vote was taken and the margin grew to 42-32. I was as disappointed in the vote as anyone, but that was that. We lost. A convention was voted in.
Candidates running for office then went about hiring convention experienced staff and making fundraising and operational decisions based on a nominating convention in lieu of a primary.
Game on. Or so we thought. Instead, the primary advocates, lacking the votes to get their primary, decided to hold the whole process hostage by voting against the rules to manage the convention in light of Covid-19. The current rules call a gathering of thousands of people in one location. That is no longer feasible or lawful in Virginia. So the rules have to be amended for what is known as an unassembled convention- delegates come to designated vote drop off centers around the state on one day and cast their votes. This stays within Covid-19 rules set forth by the governor. This was known on December 6 when the votes were cast.
Simple enough, right? Not so fast. Some obscure amendment says that 75 percent of state central committee members have to approve a rule change. So the primary supporters figured out if they consistently voted “no” on the rules change, there could not be a convention and they could re-address a primary. This exact folly played out in a Zoom meeting of the SCC open to the public last Saturday. Tempers flared as the rules adoption went down in flames-well short of three-fourths needed for adoption-but well ahead of what is necessary to change it back to a primary.
So the circus continues Saturday again, with no resolution in sight. The state central committee needs to end this silly and embarrassing charade and vote for the rules change so the original vote for a convention can be implemented. It’s wasting valuable time for the candidates and party members. Let’s not continue to be the butt of Democrat jokes, and look like the F-Troop gang that can’t shoot straight. Democrats are registering new voters, while we are wasting another day arguing over a decision made over six weeks ago. Clowns to right of me, jokers to the left. That’s the current status of the Republican Party of Virginia. It’s a farce.
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John Fredericks is the host of The John Fredericks Show. He is also the publisher of The Virginia Star.