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.
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.
- He continues to trail Democrat Ralph Northam in polls as Virginia’s election season is about to kick into post-Labor Day high gear. Trump’s dismally low approval ratings in Virginia and Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s consistently solid numbers are additional anchors dragging on Gillespie’s campaign.
When the going gets tough, Gillespie gets … scared and desperate, apparently.
- First, there’s his drastic shift in position on Virginia’s Confederate monuments.
- After weeks of resisting calls to take a more extreme position and after calling for “discussion” about keeping Civil War monuments but placing them in “proper historical context,” Gillespie is now reaching out to his supporters with an explicit pro-Confederate monument plea that no longer calls for conversation but rather opposition to any efforts to remove them.
- 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.
- For months, Gillespie resisted calls from “top Republicans from the White House on down” to hire Trump strategists and take more extreme policy positions designed to court more Trump voters. But Gillespie finally caved, as demonstrated by the hire of former Trump field staffer Jack Morgan to help with “grassroots outreach and coalition coordination.”