Un­mod­er­at­ing

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

It has of­ten been ob­served that the Repub­li­can mod­er­ate is an in­creas­ingly en­dan­gered species. The same could be said of the Demo­cratic mod­er­ate, if re­cent in­di­ca­tions are any­thing to go by.

The other day, three can­di­dates com­pet­ing for the Demo­cratic con­gres­sional nom­i­na­tion in the First District met at a fo­rum in Fred­er­icks­burg, where they “took sev­eral left-of-cen­ter po­si­tions,” as the Free Lance-Star re­ported.

All three agreed on the need to im­peach Pres­i­dent Trump for “in­com­pe­tence or just bla­tantly crim­i­nal things” (as one put it) and “a lot of things” (in the words of an­other).

All three agreed that the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion is the mother of all evil, or some­thing like that. “I be­lieve it’s a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion,” said Ed­win San­tana. Vangie Wil­liams “said the NRA should be dis­banded,” the pa­per re­ported. But not just dis­banded: “Let’s all sue the NRA for the men­tal stresses caused to all of our chil­dren,” she told the au­di­ence.

And all three can­di­dates “ex­pressed their sup­port for sin­gle­payer in­surance, also known as ‘Medi­care for all.’”

Keep in mind that the First District is not ex­actly Berke­ley by the Bay. It went for Trump 53-40 and the in­cum­bent, Repub­li­can Rob Wittman, won re-elec­tion in 2016 by 60-37. A few years ago a Demo­crat who held such views could not win a Demo­cratic district in Vir­ginia, let alone a Repub­li­can one. If this is what Vir­ginia Democrats are putting for­ward as rep­re­sen­ta­tive, then the party’s cen­ter of mass has moved sharply to the left.

Then there’s the re­cent fo­rum for Demo­cratic can­di­dates run­ning against Rep. Bar­bara Com­stock in the 10th District, which was mod­er­ated by bil­lion­aire en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivist Tom Steyer (and which in­cluded Dan Helmer, the man re­spon­si­ble for the worst cam­paign ad of all time). Steyer has spent mil­lions sup­port­ing Democrats in Vir­ginia and is spend­ing mil­lions more this year; his group, Nex­tGen Amer­ica, has nearly 50 paid staff mem­bers in the com­mon­wealth al­ready. None of this seems to em­bar­rass Democrats in the slight­est.

Repub­li­cans en­joy the back­ing of their own bil­lion­aire class, no­tably the Koch Broth­ers and their ad­vo­cacy group Amer­i­cans for Pros­per­ity. If Charles or David Koch were to mod­er­ate a Repub­li­can can­di­date fo­rum, the howls of out­rage would echo through the hills. That Steyer played mas­ter of cer­e­monies to Democrats in the 10th caused nary a rip­ple. Which, in a sense, is too bad: His em­cee per­for­mance might be the only mod­er­at­ing Democrats in Vir­ginia do this year.

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