The Virginia Republican convention has elected as its party's nominees for Governor and Lt. Governor two candidates whose views not only stand no chance of resonating with Virginians, but whose candidacies are further damaging the GOP's reputation. In one of the first major races since the Republican National Convention released its "Growth and Opportunity Project," a reform plan that calls for an end to anti-gay rhetoric and increased outreach to minorities, the Virginia Republican Convention selected current Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II and Bishop E.W. Jackson as their candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor.
Cuccinelli, who wants to outlaw sodomy, and Jackson, who has compared Planned Parenthood to the KKK, are reinforcing the principle flaw Reince Priebus and the RNC identified after the electoral losses in the 2012 presidential and congressional elections: "Formerly loyal voters gathered in focus groups describe Republicans as 'scary,' 'narrow-minded' and 'out of touch' and that we were a party of 'stuffy old men.'"
Among other things the Growth and Opportunity Project that resulted states that "The pervasive mentality of writing off blocks of states or demographic votes for the Republican Party must be completely forgotten."
A video recorded last June shows Cuccinelli addressing Christian conservatives, drawing parallels between the fight to outlaw abortion and the struggle to abolish slavery. "Our experience as a country has demonstrated that on one issue after another. Start right at the beginning — slavery. Today, abortion," he explained. In a similar tone, Jackson has said that "Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was."
In this video he tells black Christians to end their "slavish devotion to the Democratic party," only moments before describing the "painful history of slavery, Jim Crowe, lynching, and sterilization." He concludes: "We're going to the slave market voluntarily today."
Jackson's appeal to black Christian Democrats is particularly interesting considering this tweet:
I do not believe Obama is the anti-Christ. But "Christians" who follow Obama would probably follow the Anti-Christ. Are they Christians?
— Bishop E W Jackson(@ewjsr) September 27, 2009
Jackson, who has called gays and lesbians "perverted" and "very sick people," was chosen as the nominee for Lt. governor in what many in the GOP believe is a flawed convention process that should be replaced by a primary in order to nominate more electable candidates. Candidates like Cucinnelli and Jackson are unfortunately silencing the more pragmatic Republican candidates.
Current Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling told the Washington Post, "Bishop Jackson is certainly entitled to his views, but you should be able to express your views without insulting people, and some of the things he has said are simply indefensible … These kinds of comments are simply not appropriate, especially not from someone who wants to be a standard bearer for our party and hold the second highest elected office in our state. They feed the image of extremism, and that's not where the Republican Party needs to be."