January 9, 2017

Divisive Democratic Primary In Virginia Could Be A Replay Of 2016 Schisms

The emerging Democratic civil war in Virginia is fitting because it looks to mirror many of the conflicts that so divided Democrats during the 2016 presidential race. In the primary between establishment figure Lt. Governor Ralph Northam and progressive insurgent former Congressman Tom Perriello, Democrats get to replay some of the worst moment from 2016 all over again.

Already, according to Politico, Perriello has adopted “slogans reminiscent” of socialist Senator Bernie Sanders:

“Of course, the primary won’t be nearly that simple. In the space of a few sentences after launching his campaign, Perriello invoked both Warner, a model moderate Democrat, and slogans reminiscent of Bernie Sanders’ democratic-socialist campaigns. ‘One of the nice things about Virginia politics is that we sort of do our own thing,’ Perriello said. ‘People are able to create their own brands and styles of leadership. Before Mark Warner came along, people didn’t know what a Warner Democrat was. And then they did. And I think what people know, who followed my work in various sectors, is that I’m a problem solver. But I do think that the system is rigged against the middle class.’”

In fact, top Virginia political watcher Larry Sabato has already dubbed the former congressman “Virginia’s Bernie Sanders.”

In order to better position himself to the left of Northam, Perriello has also flip-flopped his position on the government’s funding of abortion. In 2010, Perriello voted for the Stupak amendment, yet he has since ditched that moderate position:

“Perriello, in an interview with The Huffington Post, said that he has not actually evolved on the issue of abortion rights and has always been pro-choice, but rather his evolution has come in his position on the use of federal funds for abortion services. ‘I’ve always believed in a woman’s constitutional right to choose and have marched for it when I was in college and in law school, but evolution came on the issue of the Hyde Amendment and access more broadly, with better understanding of the structural inequalities that it entailed,’ Perriello said.”

The fact that Perriello now supports the use of “federal funds for abortion services” shows how far to the left he’s willing to position himself.