Bloomberg's Big Money Shenanigans in Virginia

Bloomberg's Big Money Shenanigans in Virginia
(Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)
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Virginia is a petri dish for liberals and far-left Democrats to develop strategies that advance their progressive agenda and strip individuals of their Constitutional freedoms through legislative and executive fiat. 

Republicans currently hold 59 out of 99 state legislative chambers. Backed by George Soros and other leftist donors, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee has already pledged at least $50 million to try to turn state houses blue. Virginia was their first test case before 2020 national elections. 

In Virginia’s November 2019 cycle, the balance of legislative power flipped from Republican to Democrat. The General Assembly is now comprised of 55 Democrats and 45 Republicans, and the State Senate has a slim margin of 21 Democrats over 19 Republicans.

Even though the demographics of northern Virginia counties have experienced significant changes in recent years, this political success did not happen by accident. It was purchased in part by Michael Bloomberg’s millions. Bloomberg used Virginia’s newest voters as political lab rats for a nationwide progressive campaign strategy. Conservative candidates’ fundraising couldn’t touch the non-state liberal money pouring into the Commonwealth.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam emerged unscathed (thanks to the liberal press) from scandals that would have brought most politicians to their knees. His stunning 2019 comment that an infant born as the result of a botched abortion “should be made comfortable” and kept alive “if that’s what the mother desired” was not enough to force his resignation, nor was the revelation that he appeared in blackface next to fellow students in Ku Klux Klan hoods in his 1984 medical school yearbook.

Northam demonstrated he was untouchable. Virginia’s 2019 off-year elections, in a state with more national delegates that New Hampshire or Iowa, was the perfect place for presidential candidate Bloomberg to spend millions testing whether his anti-gun dollars could turn a state blue. 

Bloomberg’s anti-Second Amendment organization, Everytown for Gun Safety, spent $2.5 million in Virginia’s 2019 elections, and he personally donated another $110,000 to state Democrats. 

In early 2019, Bloomberg appeared at a press conference in Richmond with former Virginia Governor and senior Clinton strategist Terry McAuliffe who noted, “Mayor Bloomberg has been a steady force here in Virginia.” In reality, Bloomberg’s checkbook was the steady force in Virginia, begging the question whether Northam and majority legislators now answer to their constituents or to a New York billionaire.

Even though 105 Virginia cities or counties recently approved Second Amendment Sanctuary protections, Virginia Democrats already passed three anti-gun bills with dozens more in the pipeline. Governor Northam and his media friends did everything they could to vilify Virginia’s lawful gun owners ahead of a January 20th pro-Second Amendment rally in Richmond. Northam declared a state of emergency, designated the rally area a “gun free zone” in a state with open carry, and the media yelled “white supremacists!” and “extremists!” for weeks ahead of the event. 

The state’s lawful gun owners outsmarted them at every turn. They avoided the “gun free” zone and marched peacefully outside its confines. No one was hurt and no gun went off. The only arrest was a counter-protestor. 

There are currently 156 pieces of gun legislation sitting in the U.S. Congress. If the House majority ever gets back to governing and not impeaching, these are likely to be some of the first bills to see sunlight. Virginia demonstrated that anti-gun money can elect a liberal majority and protect them from consequences when they attempt to overturn the Constitutional right to own a firearm. 

The Virginia experiment is not limited to anti-Second Amendment provisions — legislators are threatening property rights, suborning voter fraud, tipping elections, feeding union bosses and protecting themselves against public criticism. 

The day after the gun rights rally, the legislature advanced a flawed, rights-suspending red flag law. In December, Virginia Democrat Ibraheem Samirah proposed bills that would essentially eliminate single-family zoning in the state, noting suburbs were too “white and wealthy.” Both legislative chambers have bills removing photo ID requirements for voters. A House bill aims to remove Virginia from the Electoral College and another, pushed by a teachers’ union quest for increased dues, requires teachers to be paid “above the national average.”.  

Shifting from the Second Amendment back to the First, House Bill 1627 essentially criminalizes free speech for anyone speaking against Governor Northam or his legislative colleagues.  

The actions of Virginia’s political majority mirrors the agenda of liberal legislators in other states and on Capitol Hill. It gives conservative constitutionalists their first glimpse of where the battle for freedom will be waged — even before liberals find more Amendments and freedoms they don’t like.  

The messages could not be clearer: Virginia’s politics should be monitored as an incubator for oppressive progressives; money talks; and citizens still rise up against tyranny.

Kerri Toloczko is a resident of Virginia and a Senior Policy Fellow with American Civil Rights Union Action Fund, an organization dedicated to defending the Constitutional rights of all Americans.

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