Off-year elections can often seem like after-thoughts for voters, national parties, and political donors exhausted by big national election years. But next month's gubernatorial election in Virginia should be anything but an after-thought. Far from a sideshow to this year's epic dysfunction in Washington, Virginia's election offers a path forward for rejecting the Tea Party's destructive ideology. It's a test of whether extreme Tea Party ideology is a winning strategy for their side or if it's our chance to splinter what the Republican party has become. And Virginia's unique place on the chessboard of national politics can't be understated. Who wins Virginia will signal whether the GOP can win a state that could determine presidential elections far into the future. The election in Virginia presents one of our clearest opportunities yet to fight and win against the unhinged Tea Party faction that has wrested control of our federal government and ground it to a halt. Republican Ken Cuccinelli is the distillation of Tea Party politics:
- He's so anti-gay that he's tried to reinstate "sodomy laws."
- He's so anti-woman that he supports radical "personhood" bills that would ban abortion in all circumstances and even some common forms of birth control.
- He's so anti-immigrant that he's compared immigration enforcement to "pest control" and immigrants to rats.
- He's so anti-science that he's launched a legal campaign against climate scientists.
- He has so little regard for average American families that he led the unsuccessful crusade to overturn the Affordable Care Act.
- He also has a Tea Partier's penchant for conspiracy theories: He's expressed skepticism about President Obama's birth certificate and reelection and considered not getting his son a Social Security number "because it is being used to track you."