Democrats claim it is racist to tell the truth about their position on issues
Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate for governor of Virginia, is in the dock. His crime, judging from outraged liberal commentary? He seems to have noticed that certain liberal positions aren’t popular.Racists and divisive seem to be the Democrats latest epithets aimed at those who complain about their policies. This looks like an admission that their policies or otherwise indefensible so they must resort to insults rather than logical argument. The Democrat tactics are likely to alienate a majority of voters who disagree with them on the issues.
His campaign is “vile and dishonest,” writes E. J. Dionne Jr. It represents “white identity politics,” tweets Chris Hayes. He’s following a “poisonous strategy for the nation and Virginia,” according to the editors of the Washington Post. Reporters as well as pundits have accepted this story line: Jonathan Martin informed New York Times readers that Gillespie is running “a racially tinged, divisive campaign.”
There are three main indictments against Gillespie. First, he supports keeping Confederate statues on public property and has run ads contrasting his stance with that of the Democratic candidate, Ralph Northam, who is currently the commonwealth’s lieutenant governor.
Until recently, Virginia’s sitting governor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, took the same position as Gillespie. It’s still the position of 57 percent of Virginians, including 44 percent who hold it “strongly.” Agree or disagree, it’s not a racist view. And it’s no more “divisive” than seeking to bring down the statues.
Second, Gillespie has run ads highlighting the menace of the MS-13 gang and portraying Northam as soft on the issue. In particular, he has noted Northam’s vote to allow cities in Virginia to set themselves up as “sanctuaries” that refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement of laws against illegal immigration.
But Virginians are right to be concerned about increased gang activity, and opposition to sanctuary laws on public-safety grounds is a legitimate view. Northam has more or less conceded the point by flip-flopping on the issue, leading one liberal activist group to accuse the Democrat, too, of being a racist.
Third, Gillespie has attacked Northam for supporting the automatic restoration of rights for felons who have completed their sentences. An ad dwelt on a (white) child-pornography convict who was eligible for those rights. The Washington Post’s outraged editorial about the ad grudgingly admits that Gillespie is “technically” right in describing what happened, but argues that the Republican is blowing the issue out of proportion.
In each case, liberals are not so much answering Gillespie’s argument as complaining that he dares to make it -- especially since, in each case, it appears to be drawing blood from the Democrats.