News & Politics

Down in the Muck With Ralph Northam in the Virginia Governor's Race

Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie speaks at a campaign rally at the Washington County Fairgrounds, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, in Abingdon, Va. Establishment figure Gillespie is in a neck-and-neck race against Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam. (Andre Teague/The Bristol Herald-Courier via AP)

This certainly is an interesting view from Virginia Democrat Ralph Northam’s campaign. It’s a little hard to stomach, however. The raw sewage spewing from the state Democrats who are backing him for governor is making it difficult to keep my breakfast down.

In the race to the bottom, the Northam campaign refuses to lose:

Fox News:

The Gillespie campaign fired back at the attacks Friday.

“Northam, the entire Democratic ticket and CNN should condemn this ugly character smear that has no place in our Commonwealth’s political discourse,” David Abrams, a spokesman for Gillespie’s campaign, told Fox News.

Abrams referenced CNN because Fallon is a contributor there.

But Fallon stood by his tweet in an email to Fox News.

“Ed Gillespie should be ashamed of the ads he is running in this campaign,” Fallon said. “This is a vile and pathetic attempt to appeal to the Bannon wing of Donald Trump’s Republican party.”

He said his tweet was in reference to Gillespie’s television ads, which also have accused Northam of being soft on MS-13, violent felons and sex offenders.

Um, no… that tweet doesn’t mention the ad at all. It was a clear message that supporting Gillespie was supporting white supremacy, as the picture of racists marching in their torch-lit parade the night before the Charlottesville violence is superimposed over a photo of Trump and Gillespie.

Accusing a candidate of being soft on crime when he isn’t is typical campaign blather. Accusing your opponent of being an out and out racist is rare and, in another era, would have been judged as a blow below the belt by the supposed arbiters of fairness — the media.

But we are way beyond any notion of “fairness” when it comes to the media, especially in matters regarding race. The press agrees with Northam, which makes Gillespie’s job of countering the racist charge very difficult to overcome.

Northam’s ad, asking voters to “stand up to hate,” invites them to prove how tolerant and decent they are by voting for him. This is a powerful message that might be repeated all over the country in 2018.

Indeed, Republican candidates around the country should be studying this race closely. “Charlottesville” will be a dominant campaign theme for Democrats as will the notion that support for Trump is support for white supremacy.

Even though Northam holds about a 7-point lead over Gillespie less than two weeks before the election, it’s unclear how successful this strategy will be and whether it can be a theme that Democrats can run on nationally.