Virginia

Will Virginia Republicans Fall for a Trump Mini-Me?

Republican candidate Corey Stewart appears to be emulating the president in his campaign for the gubernatorial nomination.

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Politicians often wrap themselves in the American flag—that's to be expected. But the Confederate one?

Corey Stewart, GOP candidate for governor of Virginia, has made the Stars and Bars his unofficial banner. The move qualifies as the most curious of his campaign, but it's far from the only odd one.

Stewart has railed against "politically correct" efforts to move Confederate statuary from their places of honor, and denounced those who would do so as "tyrants." Last week he slammed his primary opponent, Ed Gillespie, for alleged squishiness on the subject—in an ad titled "Lee Jackson Courage." By gad, sir. Just… by gad.

Why Stewart—who was born in the great Confederate state of Minnesota—pursues such a digression into the past remains a bit of a mystery. He has said he was "Trump before Trump was Trump," and is plainly trying to mimic The Donald's campaign strategy, right down to the cutesy name-calling (Stewart refers to Gillespie as "Establishment Ed").

This conceivably might earn him the Republican nomination in the June primary. But that's not looking too good for him right now: Gillespie's lead over Stewart has remained steady, measuring 26 points in February and 27 points just a few days ago.

Granted, Trump's presidential victory and Dave Brat's upset over Eric Cantor offer two reminders about the peril of political predictions. But were Stewart to win the primary, he likely would get slaughtered in the general election. Unlike Brat's district, the whole of Virginia is not gerrymandered. And Trump, who started out with far better name recognition than Stewart could ever dream of, still lost Virginia by more than 200,000 votes.

Stewart also has adopted Trump's casual relationship to the truth.

The ad about Confederate statuary features a fake-news headline altered to look as if it appeared in The Washington Post, which it didn't.

Stewart claims to have received 130 endorsements from faith leaders. But the Daily Press reports that the list includes "a reporter who asked repeatedly not to be included, a Christopher Newport student who now has 'second thoughts' and a Newport News man who's not 100 percent decided." The Stewart campaign evidently was not interested in helping to clear up any confusion.

Stewart also makes dubious claims about his prowess as a crime-fighter. He continues to assert that he is responsible for a 48.7 percent drop in crime in Prince William, where he is chairman of the Board of Supervisors. But Politifact debunked that claim three years ago: The actual decrease was less than half that, and little different from the statewide average. (Oh, and recently murders in Prince William have doubled. No word from Stewart taking credit there.)

Stewart attributes the drop in crime to his get-tough policy on illegal aliens. In an email blast last week, he said Prince William's crime-fighting success was "a direct result of our crackdown on illegal immigration." Which is nonsense.

For one thing, there is no evidence to support the claim. A drop in crime might have coincided with the immigration crackdown—but then so did many other things, including Barack Obama's march to the presidency, Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia, and the first democratic elections in Bhutan. Coincidence isn't causation.

More to the point, research by The Sentencing Project and the Cato Institute shows that immigrants, both legal and illegal, commit crime at lower rates than native-born Americans.

"If native-born Americans were incarcerated at the same rate as illegal immigrants," the Cato study finds, "about 893,000 fewer natives would be incarcerated." This suggests that, if the Prince William immigration crackdown really did drive undocumented aliens to leave, it probably pushed crime rates higher, not lower.

Finally, Stewart mimics Trump's alpha-male schtick. "I am the only candidate who has the guts to stand up to the left," he declares. He vows to make Virginia "the toughest on illegal alien crime," he has called the mayor of Richmond a "coward," and he recently called Gillespie a "cuckservative." The term is favored by the alt-right and implies not only that someone is a traitor to his creed but weak and effeminate as well.

This is the false bravado of the barroom loudmouth. True courage—think Dietrich Bonhoeffer, think Chesty Puller, think Marcus Luttrell, think Aung San Suu Kyi—does not need to proclaim itself, and most people can tell the difference between true courage and empty swagger. We'll see if Republicans can come June.

This column originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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  1. and he recently called Gillespie a “cuckservative.”

    AND he trolls libertarian message boards reading people’s minds!

    1. I’m outraged. The Jacket is no Cuckservative. He’s a Cucktarian.

  2. Fighting all this political correctness means calling college kids snowflakes and then whining incessantly that the media is asking questions about your association with the white supremacists who world view you adopted and preached.

    1. Lol. All this White Supremacy talk.

      First off. White what? White Italians? White Hispanics? White Brits? White Irish? White Canadian? White Jews* (*most of the time) White Australians? White Russians? White Catholics? White Atheists? Albinos?

      Second. Either all collective self interest is impermissible, or none is impermissible. Bitching about a group that had been the target of collective outrage for nearly fourty years, who became “literally Hitler’s followers,” and whose members saw 50% of their demographic become the persona non grata for the Left over the last decade, i.e. Straight White Males, … bitching about that group is hilariously hypocritical under the implication that their cause, “supremacy” as you see it, is illegitimate but the others are in fact legitimate, i.e. BLM, Women’s March, etc. Practice your Inquisitorial Powers, Redcard. Try: “BE SILENT WHILE WE CASTIGATE YOU!”

      Third. Unless you believe that three Jews and five Roman Catholics are going to find it constitutional to change the Equal Protection and Due Process components of our Constitution, you have absolutely nothing to worry about, alarmist. In fact, I would wager a guess that the most that happens is States get to decide more than they currently can regarding political issues. Move to the Coasts if you feel threatened, honey.

      1. Mmmm… white Russians.

        1. ‘Nother Caucasian, Gary.

          1. Right? It works either way.

            1. Interestingly, the Russian racial slur for people from the Caucasus is “chyornie,” which means “black.”

      2. Three Jews and five Roman Catholics walk into a bar…

        1. And apparently all of them passed with flying colors?

      3. OK, count that as one vote for Stewart

        1. You are persuaded by your own hypocrisy?

          Mighty big of you! And they say humility is dead.

      4. Self determination is only racist when Whitey does it.

  3. This is the false bravado of the barroom loudmouth. True courage?think Dietrich Bonhoeffer, think Chesty Puller, think Marcus Luttrell, think Aung San Suu Kyi?does not need to proclaim itself, and most people can tell the difference between true courage and empty swagger.

    Bigot. True Courage is chopping off your tallywacker and wearing a dress.

    1. I’ve heard that it’s even more courageous if you don’t get your dick hacked off.

      1. Real men rock a skirt so short you can see the whole package, swingin’ free.

  4. All I want to know is where will he be abuildin’ his wall…

    1. Along the Mason-Dixon line?

    2. If he started east of Fredericksburg and then looped north to about Front Royal, i could actually support that. There will be no Making the Old Dominion Great Again until we successfully secede from Northern Virginia.

      1. If he started east of Fredericksburg and then looped north to about Front Royal, i could actually support that.

        I support this as well.

      2. I have been suggesting this for some time-won’t happen though. Richmond depends too much on NoVa for tax revenue. Personally, I would like to see NoVa, MoCo and PG counties in MD, and DC form a state. That way, DC would get its statehood and continue to support its vast city bureaucracy and crappy schools from the taxes it collects from the white suburban proggies. I have been looking for a reason to move out of NoVa.

  5. He has said he was “Trump before Trump was Trump,” and is plainly trying to mimic The Donald’s campaign strategy…

    Winning campaign strategy.

    1. Watch that Ed-itorial point of view! Can’t have the Commentariat’s panties all bunched after lunch!

  6. Is that all there is to say about him & his opponents?

  7. Corey Stewart, GOP candidate for governor of Virginia, has made the Stars and Bars his unofficial banner.

    Nice. This election is gonna be fun.

    1. Actually something just occurred to me. The flag he is pictured with is the flag of the army of northern virginia. The “Stars and Bars” is the first national flag.

    2. The Virginia governorship is a joke anyway (the house of delegates and speaker hold the real power) and the election serves no purpose other than as an early indicator of how much Virginians hate the other party on a national level. That changed though in 2013 when Cuccinelli lost and we ended up with the Clintons’ used car salesman as governor.

      1. Did you see Cucc’s ads, though? Nobody came across as more terrified that Ken Cuccinelli might become governor than Ken Cuccinelli.

        1. Didn’t see the ads, then again I don’t watch a lot of TV. I do know that the dems carpet bombed NoVa with mail ads to get out the vagina voters. Meanwhile, the GOP was shitting its pants over Rob Sarvis.

          1. I’ve seen middle school class treasurer elections that were more polished and professional than Cuccinelli’s campaign. Also, in hindsight, the whole transvaginal ultrasound thing was a particularly stupid hill to try to reach the governorship from.

            Also also, The Transvaginal Ultrasound Thing was my nickname in college.

  8. Unless he thinks he can somehow find enough stars & bars voters to best Trump’s 5 point loss to Hillary in Virginia, he doesn’t have a chance. Maybe he’s counting on the progs who will vote for him in the primary to throw a turd in the punchbowl to at least say he ran. The dem candidates equally suck-thankfully no governor here can serve more than a single 4 year term.

  9. RE: Will Virginia Republicans Fall for a Trump Mini-Me?
    Republican candidate Corey Stewart appears to be emulating the president in his campaign for the gubernatorial nomination.

    Oh, good!
    That’s what we all need.
    Another asshole in public office.

  10. He may not be a better choice than Gillespie, he is twice the man the democrat is.

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