Virginia Vote Has Lessons for 2014

By Jonathan Tobin, Commentary - November 6, 2013

The Virginia governor’s race was supposed to prove how the Tea Party destroyed the GOP. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli was supposed to be too extreme and too much of a right-winger to be competitive. McAuliffe, who had a double-digit lead as late as two weeks ago, was coasting to victory on the strength of the national disgust over the government shutdown that hit Northern Virginia with its large number of federal employees hit. But once the shutdown ended and the country began to take notice of the ObamaCare rollout fiasco, the dynamic in Virginia changed. While liberal pundits will probably be tying themselves in knots to discount the ObamaCare factor, there’s little question that Cuccinelli’s big comeback that wound up turning a rout into a narrow election was primarily due to the way the president’s signature health-care legislation changed the political mood of the nation. A website that didn’t work was one thing. But the last week, during which the president’s broken promises about keeping coverage were exposed (a problem made worse by the disingenuous spin by the president and his press spokesman), not only motivated more of the GOP base to turn out in Virginia but had to have lost Democrats some swing voters.


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