Connect with us

Ticker Views

As Virginia goes – so goes 2022 | ticker VIEWS

Published

on

Since the Civil War, Virginia has elected its governors in the year after the presidential election.

Like by-elections here in Australia, it is a big off-year electoral “test” of how the President’s party is doing after winning office.  

What makes Virginia especially interesting is that it has become increasingly Democratic – and it has the capability of sending a sharp rebuke to the president’s party.

Barack Obama easily carried Virginia is 2008

  • In 2009, one year into Barack Obama’s historic presidency, Virginia’s governor election went Republican – signaling trouble for Obama with a sluggish economic recovery from the Great Recession, and his signature health care reform – Obamacare – still months away from enactment. In 2010, Obama lost control the House of Representatives in a Republican wave that swept 63 Democrats from Congress. 

Obama won Virginia again in 2012, and Hillary Clinton carried Virginia in 2016

  • In 2017, one year into Donald Trump’s shock presidency, the Democratic candidate kept the governorship in that party’s hands.  Ralph Northam succeeded the Democrat who won in 2013, Terry McAuliffe, a businessman and longtime associate of Bill and Hillary Clinton. This lit a fuse that would ultimately lead to war between Democrats, who won 41 Republican seats to take control of the House in 2018, and Trump, who would be impeached twice for abuse of power and violations of his Constitutional oath of office.

Biden overwhelmed Trump in Virginia last year. The booming suburbs outside Washington, and strong Black and immigration communities through the state, have diversified the electorate and made Virginia less a conservative bastion.

Will Virginia’s election on Tuesday signal something as momentous as the messages sent to Obama in 2009 and Trump in 2017?  Will Biden lose control of the House next year – ending his ability to pass any more major legislation?

Terry McAuliffe is back again, running to reclaim the governorship.  His opponent is Glenn Youngkin, a multimillionaire venture capital titan, who has welcomed support from Donald Trump.   Trump will call into a Youngkin rally later tonight, election eve.

CORRECTS MONTH TO NOVEMBER Voters leave a polling place on Election Day, in Richmond, Va., Tuesday Nov 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Biden had these political stakes clearly in his sights in July, when he campaigned with McAuliffe:

I mean this, not just for Virginia, but for the country. The country is looking. These off-year elections, the country is looking. This is a big deal… 

Look, in this election and in 2022, the question the American people are going to be asking is whether or not we’re helping them and their families — not giving them anything.  Are we giving them a shot — just giving them an even shot?  Do we understand what they’re going through?  Can we deliver for them?

As Democrats, we have to show we do understand, and we’re delivering for them, and we’re keeping our promises.  We just have to keep making the case — just as the Republican Party today offers nothing but fear, lies, and broken promises.  

But everyone is watching Virginia’s election on Tuesday to see if instead this message will be sent to President Biden:  You are not delivering.  Your big social and climate and infrastructure bills have not passed.

After a promising start in the first 6 months of this year, the inability to get fully on top of the Delta surge and the economic uncertainty has triggered – slower growth, higher inflation, supply chain shortages, higher gas prices – may well mean Virginia voters are out of patience and do not trust Biden.  

In the closing days of the campaign, McAuliffe has tried to wrap Trump around Youngkin – that Virginia is not Trump territory.  

McAuliffe has also been begging Biden and the Democrats in Congress to break their deadlock, find consensus and pass the legislation – so that he can show Virginia that billions will come to the state and its households.

But votes to pass the bills will now come too late for McAuliffe.  

One other issue has emerged to steal attention: education.  Are Virginia’s schools being taken over by a radical Democratic ideology through the teaching of “critical race theory” and curricula infused with provocative novels like Toni Morrisons’s “Beloved”?  Youngkin has made this political culture issue a hot button for suburban voters and independents whose swings can determine the outcome.

McAuliffe enjoyed a big lead over Youngkin until the Biden slump in August.  Biden’s approval is now in the low 40s and his disapproval is at 50% or higher.  The Democrats in Congress have also not passed anything on voting rights or police reform or gun control – and enthusiasm especially among Blacks appears to be waning.  

McAuliffe has called in all the Democratic big guns to join him onstage: both Obamas,  Kamala Harris, Jill Biden, Stacey Abrams and Keisha Lance Bottoms of Georgia – and Joe Biden again last week. 

But McAuliffe’s polls are at best tied; several show him trailing.

Will the Virginia curse of 2009 and 2017 come back to bite Biden?  

Try these post-election messages out:

  • If McAuliffe loses: “Democrats!  You damn fools!  If you cannot govern you cannot win elections! How many times do we have to learn this lesson? You didn’t pass Obamacare early and lost the House in 2010.  So let’s pass these bills! And nothing on voting rights! If you have any hope of holding the House, what the hell are you waiting for?”
  • If McAuliffe wins: “My god, a miracle that we could win under such adversity – amazing and shows underlying Democratic strength. People want Biden to succeed – not Trump!”
  • And if Republican Youngkin wins: “We nailed McAuliffe on the radical extremism that runs rife through the Democrats! And Biden is pathetic.  His out-of-control socialist agenda is not what America wants.  But it was Trump and his support for me who sealed the deal.  Republicans:   you want to take back Congress next hear and the presidency in 2024?  Stick with Trump.  In Trump We Trust.

Bruce Wolpe is a Ticker News US political contributor. He’s a Senior Fellow at the US Studies Centre and has worked with Democrats in Congress during President Barack Obama's first term, and on the staff of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He has also served as the former PM's chief of staff.

Ticker Views

“Woman. Life. Freedom,” Iran protests now on the world’s stadium

Published

on

Protests are engulfing Iran as a revolution against oppression spills onto the global stage, with the world unable to turn a blind eye

In Iran, protests are engulfing the country as thousands take to the streets in a revolution against oppression. 

Women are cutting their hair and burning their hijabs, demanding some form of change to the strict rules that impact their ultimate freedom.

“Woman. Life. Freedom”

DONNA MILES, WRITEr, & COLUMNIST

From the Iranian Revolution in 1979 to the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the nation’s residents have witnessed their fair share of turmoil.

Many insist that religion, like Islam, is being used as a reason to violate basic human rights in Iran.

Women in the country and around the world, are now lifting the veil on Iran’s corruption.

“What is happening in Iran fills me with both fear and hope… Hope that there might be some meaningful change.”

Donna miles, writer, & Columnist

Pure desperation

For nearly forty years, women in Iran have faced a life of control and oppression. Subject to the strict Islamic Republic rules, bound by religion.

There have been protests in Iran before, but nothing like what we see today.

Women and men are filling the streets of the entire country, in a show of solidarity against the regime, putting their lives on the line.

Footage of Iranian women burning the hijabs and cutting their hair has encapsulated social media.

“People are risking their lives… The regime is very brutal. It significant that this time round that there is international focus and attention on Iran.

One thing is clear…The revolution is taking place, at least in people’s hearts and minds.”

Donna miles, writer, & Columnist

Spilling onto the global stage

The uprising against the regime in Iran and its treatment of women is openly and loudly spilling onto the global stage.

Its voice is so powerful it is even flooding into the sporting arena. In Qatar, Iranian soccer players refused to sing their national anthem before their World Cup game.

Credit: Al Jazeera

While the move from the sporting stars was seen by a global audience, a cloud of fear now looms over the safety and wellbeing of the players returning to their homeland.

“The players have been extremely brave. This is a significant issue for them. Enough to take a political stand to refuse to sing the national anthem.”

DONNA MILES, WRITEr, & COLUMNIST

As history shows us, sport has often been used as an avenue to express a political stance.

At the 1968 Mexico Olympics, U.S. athlete Tommie Smith raised his black-gloved fist, in defiance of racial segregation.

This is perhaps one of the most iconic moments, illustrating the blurred line between politics and sport.

Credit: The New York Times

UN finally calls out Iran

During the Iran protests, footage of authorities using brutal force against protestors sparked global attention and outrage.

Now, the United Nation has called out Iran’s actions.

At its 35th special session, the UN Human Rights Council launched a new investigation. It will independently investigate alleged human rights violations during the protests.

“It will be independently investigated.”

DONNA MILES, WRITEr, & COLUMNIST

Continue Reading

Ticker Views

Is Musk flushing Twitter down the drain?

Published

on

Elon Musk

Elon Musk has made plenty of changes to Twitter, but will it make or break the social media platform?

When Elon Musk walked into Twitter with a sink you knew things were about to get interesting. 

It’s been a chaotic few weeks of change for the social media platform. Musk quickly showed thousands of employees the door.

Noticeably, he also upended the iconic ‘blue tick’ hierarchy. 

The new boss is adamant in making the platform a place of free speech, often using public Twitter polls to dictate his next move.

It’s not very often you have a billionaire and CEO of a tech giant communicate with people everyday via a tweet thread.

“As far as communicating with people, that is something we haven’t seen. You don’t see Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates out there communicating like this or any other billionaire.”

greg nibler, tech expert

While people have been quick to judge Musk’s changes, he remains one of the most successful businessmen in history.

He lead the charge on flying to space with his SpaceX empire and was ahead of the game in the electric vehicle market.

Perhaps, the changes to the platform are a smart move for the company to succeed, despite the abruptness of them.

Proof is in the pudding because the numbers show Twitter has added 1.6 million daily users this week alone, which is an all-time high.

“It is a reality show on Twitter and people want to see it…
Is that going to turn into profitability, I don’t know.”

Greg nibler, tech expert

Plus World Cup traffic hit almost 20,000 tweets per second today, breaking another record. 

It’s likely Twitter may be more successful in private hands. Financially though, the company has declined, causing widespread concern about its economic stability.

Musk wants to vastly increase the revenue the company makes through subscriptions, but a question mark looms over its ability to triumph.

“The way in which Twitter has lost so much money in value so quickly must also be a concern to people who have lent money to Musk… Wondering has it been a good investment for them.”

KEITH SUTER, international affairs commentator

Suspended accounts debate

Previously, Twitter had banned the accounts of many users, particularly those prone to far-right rhetorics.

Former President Donald Trump’s account had been suspended for nearly a year, alongside conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and controversial Andrew Tate.

Musk asked his followers in a poll if Twitter should “offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts? As Musk says, they haven’t broken the law?”

It all follows a turbulent economic time for the social media giant as it finds its place in the ever changing cyber sphere. 

Whether or not Twitter goes down the drain, remains to be seen. 

But love him or hate him, Musk has created an entertaining platform, with millions flocking to get a taste of what is the Twitter saga.

Continue Reading

Ticker Views

Does Donald Trump need Twitter to win in 2024?

Published

on

Donald Trump is making a political comeback in 2024, but can he gain relevance without Twitter?

Donald Trump is making his political comeback, and Twitter boss Elon Musk has welcomed the former President back to the platform with open arms.

It was only a matter of weeks after taking over that Musk decided to lift Trump’s nearly year-long suspension.

Many expected Trump to jump at the offer and begin flooding our Twitter feeds again.

However, the former President may not want to return to Twitter, but why?

U.S. Commentator Susan Tehrani believes Trump’s decision to withhold his return to Twitter comes back to money.

“It might have to do with millions of dollars… [If he returns to Twitter] He may stand to lose a lot of money…

If Trump’s company goes public and only for him to go back on Twitter, start Tweeting and devalue Truth Social… He’s going to give his followers a reason to abandon Truth Social.”

Susan Tehrani, u.s. commentator

Twitter was Trump’s favourite app when he was President. He used the platform to drum up support and create buzz. Love him or hate him, Trump undeniably had people right around the world speaking about his latest thought.

In today’s society, people consume news via social media, in particular via Twitter.

With Trump absent from Twitter, it raises question about how he will maintain relevance in social media sphere in the lead up to his 2024 return.

Trump heads his own social media platform ‘Truth Social’, but it has just four million users, opposed to Twitter’s more than 200 million.

“With El on Musk at the helm it encourages a health debate…Then it going to be a place where Donald Trump can once again bypass even the mainstream media…And communicate directly with a wide audience.

Donald Trump would stand winning if he came back on Twitter.”

Susan Tehrani, u.s. commentator

Does Twitter need Trump, more than Trump needs Twitter?

With Musk at the reigns of Twitter, the social media giant is shifting its direction. Musk has made it clear he doesn’t believe in the previous ‘blue tick’ hierarchy, quickly scrapping the process.

He has been vocal about his desire for free speech on the platform. However, many are concerned that the changes may have a negative impact.

Although, change isn’t always a bad thing and perhaps Twitter needed a makeover, to keep up with today’s evolving society and array of opinions.

While Twitter is still popular, Musk’s move to reinstate Donald Trump’s account might have been strategic.

Trump is a bold politician, and regardless of his Twitter status, many are wondering what his next move will be.

Continue Reading

Trending Now

Copyright © 2022 The Ticker Company PTY LTD