The Battle for the New Virginia

Conventional wisdom states that in an off-cycle election, the voting population will be whiter and more conservative than it was during last year’s presidential race. But neither party’s nominee is acting like it, and with good reason.
August 8, 2013

Can Terry McAuliffe flip that tortilla for you?

 
During a recent campaign swing, the answer was a resounding “si,” as the former Democratic National Committee chairman swept through Todos Supermarket in Woodbridge, Va., momentarily wielding a spatula behind the counter (“If the governor thing doesn’t work out, I can do this!”), vowing to pass a state-level DREAM Act, and repeatedly hailing the supermarket’s San Salvador-born owner, Carlos Castro, as an example of “the American dream.”
 
“We can’t grow our economy unless we ensure that Virginia is an open and welcoming state to everyone,” McAuliffe proclaimed, flanked by Democratic Del. Alfonso Lopez, the only Hispanic member of the state legislature. “I’d love to see thousands of more Carloses by the end of my term as governor. We need to help the Carloses of the future grow and diversity this economy.”
 
The campaign stop was one of dozens that McAuliffe and his Republican opponent, state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, have made in an intense effort to court Virginia’s rapidly diversifying electorate. Indeed, take the event locations off the schedules of the two candidates and you might think they were running for mayor of New York City - a feature of the campaign that’s likely to be replicated in more and more elections, as demographic change transforms the American political landscape.
 
Conventional wisdom states that in an off-cycle election, the voting population will be whiter and more conservative than it was during last year’s presidential race. But neither party’s nominee is acting like it, and with good reason.

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