RatS 17: Taibbi – Loudoun County: A Culture War in Four Acts

This one is a bit old now, and it’s more an American thing. It’s such a crazy story, however, it is still compelling reading. Aspects of this nonsense also appear to be taking hold in Australia, so one should not be too quick to dismiss it as one-of-those-crazy-American-things.

Last November, the Democrats screwed up, throwing away the Governorship of Virginia. In ways this was just a typical Democratic screw-up, just like their screw-ups over many decades. In other ways, however, the screw-up demonstrated how things are getting way, way screwier. The political battle was largely played on the fields of education and race, and in both respects the Democrats were the Bad Guys. (Well, the Worse Guys.) That takes some heavy-duty doing.

Matt Taibbi wrote a great series of articles on an insane education battle in Loudoun County, which underlay the general gubernatorial campaign. He lays out in excruciating detail how the Democrats screwed up, and how the American media screwed up. This is how Taibbi’s four-part report begins:

November 2, 2021, Election night, town of Sterling, Loudoun County, Virginia. Thanks to a years-long media furor over what one former school official here described through a fatalistic laugh as “all the things,” this wealthy northern Virginia county is ground zero of the American culture war tonight. The nation’s most-watched race this evening is a fight for the Virginia governor’s office between a favored Democrat, longtime Bill and Hillary Clinton aide and oft-flummoxed oratorial liability Terry McAuliffe, and the Republican underdog, an aw-shucks private equity vampire turned earnest education advocate named Glenn Youngkin. The contest between the two will be decided at places like this little polling station, at Lowes Island Elementary School.

Democratic and Republican volunteers flank the school entrance, waving YOUNGKIN – GOVERNOR or MCAULIFFE AYALA HERRING signs while attempting to hand out sample ballots. Voters look in foul moods, meeting most of the pamphlet offers with road-rage stares or no-look, “talk to the hand” pleas for space, with one conspicuous exception. The fourth or fifth time I see the same thing happen, a Youngkin supporter standing nearby comments.

“See that?” whispers Raj Patel. “Another Indian who would never vote Republican before just took the Republican ballot.”

Read the whole series, and then scream.

PART 1. Loudoun County Virginia: “The Inconvenient Minority”

PART 2. “The Incident”

PART 3. The Holy War of Loudoun County, Virginia

PART 4. Epilogue: A Worsening Culture War, and the False Hope of Decorum

EXTRA. Freedom of Information Request #1

(The articles are paywalled, but you can get a good taste for free. You can also sign up for a free seven-day trial and then cancel immediately. Or not: Taibbi is great.)

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