This week in statehouse action: I hurrican’t even edition

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

The disaster in Texas is on all our minds right now—and hopefully will be for some time, frankly. The crisis won’t be over when the floodwaters recede. Folks will be working to rebuild their homes and lives for many months, even years, to come. 

(Looking to help out? Check out this list of great charities! Anything you can give makes a difference.)

But statehouse action pauses for no crisis, so here’s a look at what’s happening around the country that’s not hurricane-related but is still plenty, um, dark and stormy.

Campaign Action

Fear and loathing in the Commonwealth: Fear’s a bad look on any candidate, and Ed Gillespie is wearing it especially poorly.

Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial nominee couldn’t help but have been spooked by his own flaccid primary performance against crazypants Confederate apologist Corey Stewart—not to mention his own party’s overall abysmal turnout, especially relative to Democratic primary numbers (about 350,000 vs. 540,000 voters, respectively).

  • Heck, in winning the GOP nomination, Gillespie earned almost 80,000 fewer votes than the guy who lost the Democratic primary.

Gillespie had significant ground to make up post-primary, but he really hasn’t made any headway since June 13.

When the going gets tough, Gillespie gets … scared and desperate, apparently. 

  • First, there’s his drastic shift in position on Virginia’s Confederate monuments.
  • Next, there’s Gillespie’s crappy new ad.
    • This piece of fearmongering video artistry is full of racist dog whistles and targets Northam as weak on immigration policy and for allegedly supporting “sanctuary cities.” The ad claims that Gillespie will keeps us “safer” by “get[ting] tough on illegal immigration” and uses racially charged language and tropes often used to smear members of the Latino community.
    • But here’s a fun fact: The vote Gillespie hits Northam for in the ad was almost certainly engineered by GOP lawmakers to force Northam to break a tie in the state Senate—solely to give the Republican an anti-immigration talking point, because, well, Virginia doesn’t technically have any “sanctuary cities” to ban in the first place.
  • And finally, there’s Gillespie’s latest campaign hire.