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McAuliffe Eyes White House After Virginia Dem Victory

Outgoing Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a long-time Clinton ally and former fundraiser, may have gotten a boost for his eventual 2020 Presidential run with the Virginia election results last week. McAuliffe is term-limited since Virginia allows only a single four-year term for Governor. The timing sets him up nicely to announce pursuit of the 2020 Democratic nomination.

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The Washington Examiner reports on McAuliffe’s rising stock:

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who has been stuck at the bottom of all the 2020 presidential polls, saw his political stock soar last week when his party scored huge election victories, cementing his legacy and giving him a platform to run on.

“Certainly Tuesday night was a triumph for McAuliffe, who looks like a potential if not likely presidential contender. His pitch is simple: ‘We took on Trump in Virginia and won,’” said Kyle Kondik, the managing editor of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics Sabato Crystal Ball.

While an anti-Trump wave certainly helped Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam succeed McAuliffe, several insiders credit the governor with restoring a broken party organization and keeping many of his promises for the big win.

“I think he can make just as compelling a case as anybody at this point. He was consistently a popular governor, he followed through on a lot of his promises, he found a way to work with an overwhelmingly Republican General Assembly where he could and did battle when he needed to,” said one-time aide Mo Elleithee, the director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Policy at the McCourt School of Public Policy.

McAuliffe’s approval ratiing in Virginia has been in positive territory for the duration of his term, and he’ll leave office with no major scandals, but also no major legislative accomplishments. McAuliffe has been somewhat of a placeholder during his tenure as Governor, picking and choosing battles with the Republican-led general assembly.

However, McAuliffe achieved what he needed to achieve, which was to help Hillary Clinton win the state of Virginia in 2016, and help Democrats retain the Governor’s mansion in 2017. With those electoral successes, McAuliffe is fairly well-positioned to make a case that he should contend for the Democratic nomination in 2020. After all, he is one of a handful of Democrats who can now claim they’ve essentially beaten Donald Trump twice.

It’s also worth noting how strongly McAuliffe worked to downplay the allegations of a rigged primary coming from Donna Brazile in the days leading up the Virginia election last week. Here’s a flashback of the “nobody cares” clip with an NBC News reporter during an interview on MSNBC last week:

McAuliffe’s name was already on our page of Democrats possibly seeking the 2020 nomination, but maybe his name should move up the list.

Nate Ashworth :Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

View Comments (13)

  • "Certainly Tuesday night was a triumph for McAuliffe, who looks like a potential if not likely presidential contender. His pitch is simple: ‘We took on Trump in Virginia and won,’” said Kyle Kondik, the managing editor of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics Sabato Crystal Ball.

    Wow if McAuliffe has as his accomplishments that of having beaten Donald J Trump in Virginia, that isn't really saying much. Virginia after all is a Blue state, not much to brag about. If he had delivered say Mississippi to the Democratic party, now that would be something to crow about. As is McAuliffe is like most other Democrats and that is in a delusional state of mind.?

    And as far as Donna Brazile's allegations that the Clintons and the DNC rigged the election in the Wicked Witch's favor, you are dead wrong. The Independent voters who lived and died with Bernie Sanders most certainly DO CARE that the Democrats disenfranchised them. People have a long memory and the Democrats will feel their wrath.?

    • Exactly.

      Also, the Democrats are supposed to be the party that supports/includes minorities. Yet they continue to just have an all white potential democrat presidential ticket. I guess we can see they are all talk.

      Also, where is the outrage over the obvious sexist and racist rhetoric the democrats have used against Donna Brazile? I guess those charges are only used against GOP politician's/ supporters.

      I've noticed that Nate and Berkley have been quiet about this issue. I wonder why?

      Of course they could say it is a non issue. Just like Bill and Hillary say there is nothing to the charges. Or they could say we just had Obama as president. Which worked out really well for the wealthy.

      • Straight Shooter & hgb

        “Wonder why” no longer. Can’t speak for Nate but I am ready to answer. First, you must tell me what sexist and racist rhetoric was used against Donna Brazile? She wrote a finger pointing book and presently she is back peddling bigly to contradict what she wrote in her book. So, which Donna is telling the truth? The credibility of Brazile's many allegations and work ethics have long been under scrutiny. This book is a career-ending move for Brazile, so let’s hope she makes a few shekels out of it.

        Take another look at just a FEW of Barrack Obama’s accomplishment as president that helped people such as you two. President Obama rescued the country from the a Severe Recession, cutting the unemployment rate from 10% to 4.7%. He saved the U.S. auto industry from bankruptcy. He reversed the Bush-era torture policies. President Obama normalizing relations with Cuba. He negotiated the landmark Iran Nuclear Deal. The Fair Pay Act to combat pay discrimination against women. Oh yes, and I forgot to mention President Obama ordered the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden.

        While Donald Trump through executive actions, and with the assistance of the Republican Congress, is wiping out the initiatives of a half century of work by both parties. Actually, Trump is discarding many Republican ideals and principles such as the Clean Air Act of 1970; the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

        Trump is the only US president with absolutely no military or political experience. It doesn’t take a political expert to conclude that Trump’s unpredictable actions indicate he has no foreign-policy doctrine either.

        If anyone can defeat Trump south of the Mason Dixon that person will be bigly. Trump’s most enduring legacy will be that he has taught America how bigoted it still is, and the many who are not intentionally bigoted are still willing to tolerate racism in others.

        • You don't understand why President Trump won the election at all. But I'll get back to "why" we have President Trump instead of lying Hillary after I discuss Donna Brazile.

          Liberals have called the Millions who supported Trump racists, bigots, sexists, and every other adjective that they can come up with. So, if liberals can call someone a racist or a sexists when it isn't true why can't conservatives call liberals racists and sexists for condemning Brazile?

          What Donna Braille originally wrote was the truth. You said "This book is a career ending move for Braile. Why? Don't you believe in free speech? She held very high profile positions in the Democrat party. Certainty she knew what was going on. Certainty she knew a lot more than you do. Are you questioning her because you are a sexist? Or are you a racist?

          I can imagine the threats she's received. No wonder she has walked some things back. You would too. In fact you even said what she wrote was career ending. So much for her freedoms.

          President Trump has had a lot more foreign experience than any recent President. I'm talking about Bushy boy, Clinton, or Obama. His foreign experience was mainly with his businesses but that is what's important. The contracts that he and Tillerson are responsible for will be with the US for years.

          Your comment about America being bigoted is just plain wrong. You don't know anything about those who voted for Trump.

          I proudly voted for Trump. I taught on the Navajo Indian Reservation. I taught in South America. I taught in the inner city. In fact the majority of my teaching was in the inner city. And you call me, and millions of others, bigots. No you are the bigot.

          • Conservatives certainly have the right to call liberals racists and sexists but their true obligation to their country is to tell the unvarnished truth. Lumping others into a category, in which they may or may not belong, is racism.

            How does one know Donald Trump is a total racist? Because he said so. Here are a few (of hundreds) that that came from Trump’s own lips:

            Trump began his presidential campaign by calling Mexicans rapists and criminals. He said he couldn't be treated fairly by the judge assigned to the Trump University fraud case, because "he's a Mexican."

            Trump publicily demanded Barack Obama's school transcripts — again, on the theory that a black man couldn't have been qualified to be admitted to Columbia University and Harvard Law School on his own merit.

            Trump proposed banning Muslims from the United States, and spread the libelous story that American Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the 9/11 attacks.
            Trump’s twitter feuds with prominent African-Americans, whom he sometimes refers to as "ungrateful." In case you haven't been following along, "ungrateful" is the new word for "uppity".

            I question Donna Brazile because, however you cut it, she is a liar. It is doubtful anyone will ever know which of her stories are factual. Your imagined threats can’t be used as a reality.

            Trump’s foreign experience with foreign countries was about filling his pockets with cash, nothing barred or off limits. The US government doesn’t do business in that manner. It belongs to all US citizens and is responsible for equally helping and protecting every citizen regardless of race or creed.

            The Navajo reservation is the largest in America and is home to about 170,000 tribespeople. Today 40 percent of people on the reservation still live without running water or electricity. If you taught there, did it not occur to your that this was inhumane treatment?

            Trump just used an event honoring Native American veterans to take a shot at Senator Elizabeth Warren, whom he derided as "Pocahontas." Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said in a statement that Trump’s remark was an example of "cultural insensitivity. All tribal nations still battle insensitive references to our people. The prejudice that Native American people face is an unfortunate historical legacy."

          • You've conveniently left off Trump's entire quote about Mexican/Americans. That doesn't surprise me at all.

            Why would you question whether I taught at the Ganado Unified Schools in Ganado, Arizona? The Navajo tribe has their own government. I have no right telling them how to use their money. If fact I could have been removed from their land had I gotten involved in their politics.

            Their government chooses how to spend their money. I doubt that today 40% of the people have no running water. Still I have no say so in how they use their money.

          • I am very surprised that you did not know the Navajo tribe survives under centuries of treaties and federal policies that established most reservations as lands held in trust for Indians by the US federal government. Indian housing is administered through the US government’s HUD Office of Public and Indian Housing. To put roofs over their peoples’ heads, federally recognized tribes are largely dependent on Indian Housing Block Grant funding. Native households have made up for the massive housing shortage on their reservation by piling friends and relatives into small homes so loved ones aren’t left out in the cold. In 2017, HUD found that between 42,000 and 85,000 Native people in tribal areas would be homeless if they didn’t make these arrangements. They also confirmed that about 40% of the people have no running water. What’s remarkable about Indian Country’s massive and forgotten housing crisis is that it would not exist if our federal government and society simply cared enough to devote adequate resources to putting roofs over the heads of people who need and deserve them. The troubling reality is that unless that roof makes someone money, no one cares. So, as a US taxpayer, you are equally responsible for allowing America’s first people to live confined in small areas and in squalor.

            Here’s the full quote you spoke of: "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

            Days later, in an interview with CNN, he insulted them further. "I love Mexico," Trump said. "I love the Mexican people. I do business with the Mexican people, but you have people coming through the border that are from all over. And they're bad. They're really bad. You have people coming in, and I'm not just saying Mexicans - I'm talking about people that are from all over that are killers and rapists, and they're coming into this country."

            During the first Republican primary debate of the presidential race, Trump was asked what evidence he had of the Mexican government sending criminals across the border. Trump replied: "Our leaders are stupid, our politicians are stupid, and the Mexican government is much smarter, much sharper, much more cunning, and they send the bad ones over because they don't want to pay for them, they don't want to take care of them. Why should they, when the stupid leaders of the United States will do it for them? And that's what's happening, whether you like it or not."

            Just confirms what everyone knows—Trump is a racist and seemingly proud of it.

          • At no time did I say there weren't any treaties. You made that up. You really need to get out and experience life more.

            I know you have no idea about life on the Navajo Indian Reservation. You assume everything you read on the internet is the truth. You are sadly mistaken. I know as I lived in Ganado, Arizona for about 15 years.

            I traveled extensive throughout the reservation. I lived, and taught, in AZ public and US government run schools.

            Every, not some, but every Navajo receives land and a house. These homes are primarily 3 bedroom homes. The fact that families choose to live together is a cultural way of life. It has nothing to do with them not having a place to live. Many choose to live as their ancestors did in Hogans.

            You are obviously to young, and immature, to understand that "governments" like in Cuba "sent" us people from their prisons. That is what President Trump was talking about when he made reference to Mexicans/illegals bring "sent" by their "government. " He was not talking about those who sadly cross illegally our borders. But those that are being "SENT" by their government.

            It must be frustrating for President Trump to have to spell out each and every verbal action that he takes. But he had too.

            Here is another example: I am a strong supporter of unions. However, I cringe at how too many members, like you, lack the ability to think.

          • If you knew there were treaties why didn’t you familiarize yourself with the contents?.

            Please bear in mind that you are not the only person who has set foot on the Navajo Reservation. I also know that only an ancient member might choose to live in a Hogan. Those 3 bedroom homes you spoke of. The ones I saw on the reservation were the prefabricated type and some less than 1000 feet of living space.

            Cuban and Mexican citizens have totally different entities. Cubans ancestry derives from Spain. Cubans are Spaniards and speak Spanish. Mexican heritage comes from the Aztec Indians mixed with Spanish and thus have their own language, Mexican, spoken only in Mexico.

            Cuba’s legal system and laws do not correspond with US laws. We did get people from Cuba that had prison records. Senator Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz served prison time in Cuba. Yet, today he ministers a church in Dallas, Texas.

            The government of Mexico has never ordered or sent any citizen to steal across the border or to live in the USA.

            England transported its convicts, political prisoners as well as prisoners of war from Scotland and Ireland to its overseas colonies in the Americas from the 1610s until early in the American Revolution in 1776. So be careful researching your genealogy or you might find you are a descendent of one.

            As president of the US, Trump has a responsibility to the people for each and every verbal or governmental action that he takes.

            I have never belonged to a worker’s union. Not anti-union because I do believe people will once again need strong union leaders to save the working class financially from the Trump/Republican crusade against the common man.

          • Who is to say that I didn't familiarized myself with the treaties. It wouldn't matter if I was completely familiar with, or had no knowledge of, the treaties. Non Navajos are Not to participate in their Navajo government actions/decisions. That includes any type of demonstration.

            A fellow Navajo teacher had a stick built home. It was not a prefabricated house. Prefabricated houses still exist but the newer generation, this started at least 20 years ago, are living in regular stick built homes. It simply isn't true that only ancient members might choose to live in Hogans. Navajos love to follow tradition. Which is their right. So many would much rather live in Hogans like their ancestors. Many of the Hogans are really nice inside. Beautiful decorations.

            The language spoken in Mexico is Spanish not Mexican. The same language that is spoken in Central and South America and Cuba. Mexico's Spanish is as formal as some other countries. Still it is Spanish.. Brazil does speak Portuguese so that country has a different language.

            You hate President Trump so your perspective of whether he uses proper verbal presidential actions isn't the same as mine. You probably want him to be politically correct. The millions that voted for him are tired of political correctness.

            The Canadian PM said President Trump was authentic.

          • If you really believe the small Hogan dwelling with no windows and only one door to enter and exit is good living conditions, then enjoy.

            Come on down Mexico way, along the Texas border or even Mexico City and try conversing in Spanish. You will need an interpreter to hold a conversation. You might get by if you speak a little TexMex along the border or on the Texas coastline. You’re right that most central American countries list their official language as Spanish. However, that doesn’t mean it is the language used by the majority of it’s people.

            I gave up the word hate a long time ago. However, we each have the right to disagree in speech and in writing about our beliefs. Exchange of ideas is good for the mind. I may never change your thinking pattern but it is not personal.

            Neither do I believe in being politically correct. It is a bad habit used mostly by politicians and citizens who do not have the fortitude to plainly speak the truth.

            Yes, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau did call Trump authentic. That was month’s back. Trudeau is slowly backtracking as he sees the North American Trade Agreement being under minded by Trump.

          • When I taught in Bolivia they spoke Spanish. When I lived in AZ and traveled to Mexico o had no problem conversing with the people I'm Mexico. I generally didn't talk to many near the border.

            I would never try to change your mind but those that wanted to live in hogans did so by choice. Maybe not all. But I certainly wouldn't disagree with their decision to follow their ancestors. Would you?

            Example: In Bolivia I wanted what i thought was best for the poor people. I suggested to a poor woman that she should think about not having anymore kids. She had 4 at that time. She was probably 25
            Someone said to me great thinking. They continued to say to me you realize that woman only has life to give. Boom! That changedy holier than thou attitude. You say?

      • The Hill, a conservative publication, notes the top 15 Dems for 2920. The list includes Elizabeth Warren, Corey Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, Michelle Obama, Kamala Harris, Hillary, Deval Patrick, and (seriously) Oprah Winfrey.

        That's seven out of the top 15 are women, and four are Africa-American.

        The Boston Globe's list adds two Latino--Julian Castro and Thomas Perez, and adds another woman, Tulsi Gabbard.