Tag Archives: Fairfax County

Where Does Obama’s Strength in Virginia Come From?

In a number of posts I have pointed out how difficult it is for Mitt Romney to crack the Northern Virginia stranglehold Democrats and Obama have on Virginia’s most populous region. One of the best was a study on the voting trends of Fairfax County — Virginia’s most populous — demonstrating that since 1980 the Democrat % of vote has essentially doubled from 30.76% to 60.12% over the last 30 years.  This change in voting is directly and causally correlated with the steady bipartisan increase in size of government over that period.  Whether it be Reagan’s Defense build up, the folly of Clinton’s “era of Big Government is over” when it only grew (the economy simply grew faster), or George Bush overseeing the largest expansion in federal government since LBJ’s “Great Society”. The only thing Barack Obama did was take each of those expansions and accelerate them to ludicrous and unsustainable levels.

What does all of this have to do with populous and growing Northern Virginia and its lock on the Democrat vote?  The New York Times Ross Douthat inadvertently lays out the reason which is the end result of a 30+ year expansion of the federal government where America is taxed more heavily while the imperial city of Washington reaps the benefits:

WHEN I moved to Washington, D.C., in 2002, you could sense that the nation’s capital had turned a corner after decades of decline. But the Washington of 10 years ago still looked basically like the city that had been scarred by riots in the 1960s and then emptied by white flight, with a prosperous northwest divided from a blighted south and east, and frontiers of gentrification that weren’t that many blocks from the Capitol itself.

No doubt there were boomtowns in the 19th-century Wild West that changed faster than D.C. did over the ensuing decade. But the changes to Washington have been staggering to watch. High-rises have leaped up, office buildings have risen, neighborhoods have been transformed. Streets once deserted after dusk are now crowded with restaurants and bars. A luxurious waterfront area is taking shape around the stadium that the playoff-bound Nationals call home. Million-dollar listings abound in neighborhoods that 10 years ago were transitional at best.

Now the Northern Virginia succor:

Cross the bridges into Virginia or shoot north into Maryland, and you’ll find concentrations of wealth greater than in the richest counties around New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco. Last week, new census data revealed that 7 of the 10 richest American counties in 2011 were in the Washington, D.C., region. Fairfax, Loudoun and Arlington Counties, all in Northern Virginia, have higher median incomes than every other county in the United States.

Whence comes this wealth? Mostly from Washington’s one major industry: the federal government. Not from direct federal employment, which has risen only modestly of late, but from the growing armies of lobbyists and lawyers, contractors and consultants, who make their living advising and influencing and facilitating the public sector’s work.

How did each one of these counties vote in the last election?

  • Fairfax County:  Obama: 60%, McCain 39%
  • Loudoun County: Obama 54%, McCain 46%
  • Arlington County: Obama 72%, McCain 27%

Nearly every one of these votes is bought and paid for with the public’s tax dollars through transfer payments from the country’s pockets into their employment.  The reason the Washington crowd goes to such great lengths to demean and dismiss the Tea Party is because their message of small government and reduced Federal spending puts most of these people out of their cushy, lucrative, every year get-a-raise, retire at 55 with a full pension jobs.  This is much the same reason Ohio –a 50/50 state — is stubbornly favoring Obama thanks to the nefarious actions in the bankruptcy proceedings of the auto companies. Even without Obama the auto companies would have emerged nicely from bankruptcy, only they would have been healthier companies and without the illegal transfer payments to the auto unions. He does the same thing for Northern Virginia through the unprecedented expansion of government, only this time it’s legal.  Douthat closes thusly:

In reality, our government isn’t running trillion-dollar deficits because we’re letting the working class get away with not paying its fair share. We’re running those deficits because too many powerful interest groups have a stake in making sure the party doesn’t stop. When you look around the richest precincts of today’s Washington, you don’t see a city running on paternalism or dependency. You see a city running on exploitation.

Democrats Going to Hand Virginia to Romney?

Although Virginia is an unquestioned priority for both campaigns, Washington politics may hand the state to Mitt Romney because mandated Defense Department cuts by Democrats may turn nearly 100,000 northern Virginia employees into angry anti-Obama voters:

With presidential contenders Barack Obama and Mitt Romney currently tied in the polls, the outcome of the November election is likely to be decided by how a handful of “swing” states vote.  That will make a few densely populated counties in each swing state the main battleground for the fall campaign, and the most important will be Fairfax County in Virginia. In the case of Fairfax County, its 1.1 million residents represent one in seven of all Virginians, and so it bulks very large in the determination of which slate of electors will get the most votes. In 2008, candidate Obama attracted 310,000 votes in Fairfax, which was more than his margin of victory in the state.  No other county in the state contributed even a third of that number.

When last year’s Budget Control Act mandated cutting half a trillion dollars out of Pentagon spending over the next ten years, officials were able to find most of the required cuts by simply scaling back the administration’s planned increases to military budgets in future years.  In the past, progressive administrations have not been noted for raising military outlays as overseas conflicts wound down. However, only half of the defense cuts mandated by the budget law have begun to take effect, and now another half trillion dollars in cuts is poised to trigger on January 2, cutting the Pentagon’s base budget by ten percent in fiscal 2013 and subsequent years.  Studies indicate that Virginia will be hit harder than just about any other state, with 87,000 jobs disappearing in 2013 and 115,000 in 2014.  Reporter Patrick O’Conner warned in the Wall Street Journal on July 9 that the prospect of widespread layoffs in the military-industrial complex “could undercut Mr. Obama in battleground states heavily dependent on military spending, particularly Virginia.”

Which brings us back to Fairfax County.  Nobody seriously believes that Romney can carry a county that went over 60 percent for Obama the last time around.  There are too many government workers and liberals in the county for that to happen.  However, with hundreds of thousands of northern Virginians worried about their defense jobs in a second Obama Administration, it is quite possible Obama will receive less votes in the county — maybe enough less so that Romney can accumulate a majority statewide, winning Virginia’s 13 electoral-college votes.

The Virginia Battleground Map

Similar to the post below regarding Ohio, Crystal Ball’s Geoffrey Skelley breaks down the Battleground map of Virginia, complete with the all-important battleground counties:

The idea of Virginia being a swing state is an entirely new concept, but it’s something the Commonwealth — and the nation — is going to have to get used to. The nature of the state’s population growth since the millennium has brought about major demographic and cultural shifts. Virginia is now the New Dominion, rather than the Old.

Of the state’s 13% growth in population between 2000 and 2010, a large portion occurred in Northern Virginia, the diverse suburbs and exurbs of Washington, D.C. Examples of rapid growth abound: Prince William County grew 40% while Loudoun County led the state with a growth rate of 84%, making them the third and fifth-most populous entities* in the state, respectively. Fairfax County crossed the 1 million resident threshold, making it more than twice the size of the state’s largest city, Virginia Beach. NoVa, as it is somewhat derisively known among down-staters, is now the most powerful region in the state on Election Day. As shown on the chart below, Northern Virginia had more total two-party voters in the 2008 presidential election than any other region.

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Virginia Disaster Relief Center at Romney Headquarters in Arlington

Thanks to the blogfather, we find out the Romney campaign made relief efforts in Virginia as well as Ohio:

The people of Virginia have been struggling to find cool places to stay.  Hotel rooms are sold out and the few malls that are opened are jam-packed with people looking for some relief from the heat and some hot food.  In my area there is one gas station open.  One major mall had to close early Saturday evening due to no water.  The only thing open for miles was a McDonald’s.

The Romney campaign steps in:

The severe storms that ripped through Virginia Friday claimed at least six lives across the commonwealth and left thousands without power.  It could be several days before power is restored to those affected. If you’d like to make a donation to the relief effort, please bring supplies to the Romney for President Headquarters located at 3811 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 750 in Arlington tomorrow between 10am and 7pm. We will distribute donations to various relief centers in the area. Here’s what we need:

  • Bottled Water
  • Non-perishable food items, such as beef jerky, granola bars, peanut butter, etc.

Bring your supply donations to our headquarters tomorrow and we’ll ensure it gets to your fellow Virginians who are in need on Tuesday. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Sincerely, Sara Craig, Virginia State Manager

P.S. We know that everyone wanting to help cannot make it to Arlington.  If you would like to donate to the Red Cross, please call 1-800-Red-Cross, or visit this link to make a donation online

Contrasting the Romney campaign, Obama encourages you to buy a tee-shirt via twitter:

Keep cool while you’re canvassing this summer, Our Vote Obama Tank Top is a stylish and fun way to show your support

Death of Three Virginia Battleground Counties

Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun Counties comprise Northern Virginia. The incredible expansion of the Federal government has disproportionately benefited this region more than anywhere in America.  As such, the typical suburban voters whose politics usually reflecting the ebb and flow of election outcomes are not consistent with the government-centric Northern Virginia suburbs.  The author of the linked piece pushes the debunked “demography is destiny” trope without mentioning the region’s massive Federal subsidy through the government expansion. The growing minority and educated white influx is reflective of the skilled government jobs, rather than more typical immigration patterns and pressures like in the Southwest or Florida. But regardless of the driver behind these moves, the results are the same — this is a solidly Democrat area in the most populous region in the state:

The affluent and diverse suburbs of northern Virginia swung decisively toward Obama in 2008, providing most of his margin of victory in a state that hadn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964. Although Obama is not assured of another victory in the Commonwealth, Romney probably won’t win by rolling back Obama’s gains in the D.C. suburbs. Last cycle’s consummate swing region is likely to again vote decisively for Obama in 2012, and Romney will need to look elsewhere for big gains in Virginia.

Since 2000, the demographic composition of the region and the national Democratic coalition changed dramatically. According to the 2010 census, Prince William and Loudoun counties grew by 43 and 84 percent respectively, with minority groups representing a disproportionate share of new residents. Today, whites make up just 56 percent of residents in northern Virginia.

Over this period, Democrats accelerated big gains among college-educated white voters.In Fairfax County, Democrats gained ground in every election since 1980, with Kerry becoming the first Democrat to win since LBJ.

Year Dem % Year Dem %
2008
2004
2000
1996
60.12
53.25
47.49
46.58
1992
1988
1984
1980
41.58
38.28
36.83
30.76

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The Battle for Virginia

Scott Conroy at real Clear Politics takes a look at one of the election’s most important states: Virginia.

In what both sides regard as one of the election’s three or four most critical swing states, Obama has opened up a slim yet significant three-point lead in the latest RCP average of Virginia polls.  Though he shows strength in other regions of the state, the president largely has the expansive D.C. suburbs to thank for that advantage.

Where the votes are: Fairfax, County:

In Fairfax, the Old Dominion’s most populous county, Obama bested John McCain by 61 percent to 39 percent in his seven-point Virginia victory in 2008. While he may not have to win the county by that wide a margin this time around, he is counting on Northern Virginia’s increasing diversity and its large federal workforce to provide a critical edge once again. “The economic influence of the federal government is probably outsized here,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Democrat who represents Virginia’s suburban 11th District, where residents are among the wealthiest in the nation. “We [also] look a lot more like the face of the country as a whole than ever before, and what’s interesting about that is it tends to favor Democratic candidates.”

The changing face of Virginia:

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