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Virginia is a
state, ahem, commonwealth in the United States of el norte amerigo, named after some tramp (Queen Elizabeth I) trying to whitewash her reputation.
The two Virginias
Virginia is actually two different states, although between them they must still share two Senators:
- The real Virginia, which is part of the real America and is more Southern in nature, if you will. (editor's note: the real South doesn't claim this part either)
- The fake Virginia, which is also known as
Richmond's piggy bankthe Socialist People's Republic of Northern Virginia, consisting of Arlington, Fairfax, Alexandria, Falls Church, Reston, Leesburg (after 1995 transition from a hick-town), Ashburn, and the surrounding environs. Additionally, the Hampton Roads area is largely revered as a pocket of liberal resistance, much to the disdain of of the neo-confederatessouthern gentlemen who inhabit the rest of the commonwealth.
Virginia is the location of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America. Unlike the Plymouth Colony which was settled a few years later, the Virginia colony was an entirely profit-driven venture, funded by the London Company, an English state corporation.
- Virginia Is For Lovers. However, some say Virginia is actually for Virgins.
Virginia was one of the original thirteen colonies to escape British tyranny and form the fledgling United States. It traitorously deserted the Union in 1861 to join the Confederacy. This cost them the territory of West Virginia, where the population were more patriotic (and would rather burn couches than crosses). However, in the aftermath of losing the Civil War that ensued, Virginia once more became the proud and stalwart owner of a star on Old Glory, and home to large numbers of U.S. Government offices and employees.
Given the contemporary reputation of West Virginia, many Virginians feel that it is only right and proper that West Virginia is the southernmost state in Yankee territory, and no longer affiliated with the Old Dominion.
The Roxy Music song Virginia Plain has nothing to do with this Virginia. Neither, in fact, does the statement above, under "mythology".
Leave Virginia alone, she's not like you and me.
Swing to the left
For most of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Virginia was a conservative Republican stronghold. The Commonwealth voted Republican in every Presidential election from 1968 through 2004, & was consistently one of the most racist, anti-union, anti-LGBTQ, & fundamentalist parts of the nation. But over the last 15 years, the Commonwealth has shifted, moving from red to light-red to purple to light-blue to, finally, full-blue. The saga goes something like this:
- 2004: On its surface, this was a good night for the Virginia GOP. George W. Bush easily won the Commonwealth with 53.7% of the vote, & Republicans won 8 of Virginia's 11 US House districts. But just beneath this surface lay some stark signs of decay. Notably, Fairfax County, the most populous county in the Commonwealth & hitherto a Republican stronghold, voted for Democrat John Kerry by a comfortable margin. Other large suburban counties, like Prince William & Loudoun, continued to vote Republican, but by smaller margins than they had before. Given how large and decisive Virginia's suburban population is, this was an uncomfortable development for the GOP.
- 2006: While the cracks were below the surface in 2004, they emerged for all to see in 2006, when Democrat Jim Webb defeated incumbent Republican George Allen in the race for Virginia's US Senate seat. Not only was this significant for Virginia politics, but it was decisive for the US Senate, putting Democrats there over the top for majority control. Admittedly, Webb was a fairly conservative Democrat, & he only narrowly won the Commonwealth, but this was still a sign that Virginia had shifted.
- 2008: Upon winning the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama promptly began campaigning heavily in Virginia, believing he could ride the Fairfax-Loudoun revolt to victory. Republican John McCain began campaigning there as well, but to little avail, as polls leading up to the election consistently showed Obama beating McCain in the Commonwealth. On election night, Obama bested McCain with a 6.3% margin of victory; this was only slightly smaller than Obama's 7.3% margin of victory nationwide. This suggested that Virginia was voting in line with the United States as a whole, & had thus become a "pure" purple state. The same night, Democrat Mark Warner was elected to the US Senate from Virginia with a staggering 32% margin of victory.
- 2012: In the first few years of the Obama administration, Democrats lost ground in Virginia, notably by losing control of the Governorship and other major Executive offices in 2009. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney concluded that Virginia was still Republican at heart, & that he would win it easily. Instead, Barack Obama won the Commonwealth by a 4% margin-- virtually identical to his margin of victory nationwide, again suggesting that Virginia had become purple. The same night, Democrat Tim Kaine won election to the US Senate from Virginia with a 6% margin of victory.
- 2013: Republicans mostly did well during these off-year elections, notably by easily holding onto the governorship of New Jersey, an unequivocally blue state. Yet Virginia stood out as surprisingly blue-- Democrats narrowly won election to the Commonwealth's top Executive offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, & Attorney General.
- 2014: This was a low point for the Virginia Democratic Party-- Mark Warner nearly lost his seat in the Senate, clinging to victory by a margin of less than 1%. But even this weak performance had a silver lining. See, 2014 was a terrible year for the Democratic Party all over the country. Democrats lost lots of winnable Senate races, including in blue-leaning states like Maine & Colorado. In this environment, the fact that a Democrat managed to win reelection in Virginia, however narrowly, suggested that if anything, Virginia had become blue-leaning.
- 2016: Donald Trump's surprise presidential victory was, of course, bad news for Democrats everywhere. Yet even as traditionally-Democratic swing states like Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, & Wisconsin all flipped to Trump, Hillary Clinton not only won Virginia, but did so by a comfortable, 5-point margin. Virginia, then, voted considerably "more" Democratic than the country as a whole, reinforcing its status as a blue-leaning Commonwealth.
- 2017: The 2017 Virginia governor's race was the first statewide election after Trump took office. Democrat Ralph Northam & Republican Ed Gillespie appeared roughly tied in their race for this office. But on election night, Northam unexpectedly won easily, defeating Gillespie by a 9-point margin. Democrats also won Virginia's other Executive offices that night while gaining 15 seats in the House of Delegates. This surprisingly resounding victory served as a massive rebuke to the Trump GOP & made Virginia a symbol to progressives across the United States.
- 2018: As part of the Blue Wave election of November 2018, Democrats had massive success up & down the ballot in Virginia. Democrat candidates Abigail Spanberger, Elaine Luria, & Jennifer Wexton each flipped a Republican-held US House seat in Virginia, giving the Democratic Party control of a majority of the Commonwealth's congressional delegation. Further up the ballot, Democrat Tim Kaine was easily re-elected to his US Senate seat, defeating Republican Corey Stewart by a punishing 16-point margin.
- 2019: Aided by an anti-gerrymandering court ruling and an energized base, Democrats flipped both houses of the Virginia legislature & thereby gained full control over the Commonwealth. Democrats also won lots of local races, notably flipping several County Boards of Commissioners. This cemented Virginia's status as heavily blue-leaning, if not outright solid-blue.
Virginia's leftward shift is attributable to many causes: from immigration to Yankee migration to changing attitudes among its longstanding suburban population. What's noteworthy is that many of these changes are also underway in other southern states like North Carolina, Georgia, & Texas. If the Commonwealth can go blue, so too can these other states, setting the stage for a New South no longer dominated by racism & conservatism.
Education, especially universities, in Virginia is a tale of two extremes. Many of its public colleges and universities are considered amongst the best in the nation. Private universities, however, are a mixed bag. Here is a guide:
- The College of William and Mary
- University of Virginia
- Washington and Lee University
- Virginia Military Institute
- University of Richmond
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (a.k.a. Virginia Tech)
- George Mason University if you avoid the ASS Law School
- University of Mary Washington
- James Madison University
- Old Dominion University
- Christopher Newport University
- Mary Baldwin College
- Virginia Commonwealth University
- Radford University
- Longwood University
- Regent University
Avoid like the plague
- Liberty University — Located in the heart of Lynchburg.[No, not The Onion] Finally, a university where they walk to graduation in Klan robes.
- Patrick Henry College
Though Virginia is classified as a Bible Belt state, it is actually home to two great extremes: The central and southern regions of Virginia are home to Jerry Falwell, Liberty University, and generally rampant fundamentalism. Northern Virginia is home to extremely well-educated godless liberal communists who commute to Washington, DC. Each is equally ashamed of the other and wish to become an independent nation.
- Replace the "ir" with an "a". Snigger.
- Q: If Virginia gave Maine her New Jersey, what would Delaware? A: I dunno, Alaska.
- Wacky terbacky
- Commuters to Washington, DC
- Slugs (a peculiar subspecies of said commuters to Washington, D.C. that don't feel like paying for the bus)
- Firearms. Virginia is a conveniently located place to easily purchase guns to sell in northeastern cities, where they are typically heavily regulated.
- Cigarettes (See: Firearms, Terbacky). Virginia's considerably low tax on cigarettes (~$0.30/pk) has led to a burgeoning and profitable trade in illegal cigarette smuggling to high-tax northeastern cities, such as Philly (~$3.60/pk) or NYC (~$5.85/pk)
- Bruce Hornsby and the Range