Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Virginia Senate Campaign and the Sarvis Effect(?)

An image not from this campaign.  Unfortunately.
First question, from one of my students at UVA-Wise, Mr. Clark!

Do you think the Sarvis campaign in the Virginia Senator's race will hurt the Gillespie or the Warner campaign more at the polls?

Ah, an excellent question, and one that, weirdly enough, might require two answers.  Answer one, to a question you didn't really ask, which you didn't really ask, but I'm answering it nonetheless, is that honestly I don't believe that Sarvis is as relevant in this election as the last one he participated in, not because he should be irrelevant, but the media attention to his campaign seems more muted and, in general, I think that the discussion of candidates has been framed more in a more dialectical way.  I mean, heck, check out the Virginia senatorial debate on C-SPAN - simple fact of the matter is that Mr. Sarvis was just flat out left out - a pity, I'd think, just because he has a tendency to bring up issues in a way that is refreshingly different, whether you agree with his stances or not.

Secondly, I'd say that Sarvis hurts both candidates equally - he is an example of the libertarian urge as it stands in Virginia, and the broader Union, today - social libertarianism to the nth degree, deep skepticism of post-9/11 in-roads by the Feds and States on personal political liberty and privacy, and sensible economic libertarianism which is muted by a distrust of corporations as great as the distrust of the state.

Ultimate answer then - Sarvis probably won't balance the outcome one way or the other. After all, Warner has a pretty comfortable, though not mind-blowing, lead in the polls - check out RealClearPolitics for those - well within the margin of error.  I think this one is pretty much in the books.

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