How to Win in Virginia as a Liberal Democrat

No one would confuse Terry McAuliffe with a policy wonk. The Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Virginia is more likely to be found slapping backs than cracking books. He has ascended in the political world through prodigious fundraising, not breakthrough thinking. All of which makes it even more telling that in his race against Republican Ken Cuccinelli, McAuliffe has almost completely embraced President Obama’s agenda on social issues and the environment.

Virginia Democrats historically have sought a cautious middle ground on such questions, largely in hope of holding culturally conservative blue-collar, evangelical, and rural white voters long considered indispensable to statewide success. But McAuliffe has repeatedly adopted liberal social positions that ensure repeated conflicts with those voters—while providing fuel to energize the Democrats’ new “coalition of the ascendant” centered on minorities, the millennial generation, and white-collar white voters, especially women. [cont.]

Ron Brownstein, National Journal