VIRGINIANS are used to the president intruding on their lives: when Donald Trump played golf at the course that he owns in the leafy Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., boaters and paddlers were briefly banned from a two-mile stretch of the Potomac River that hugs the course. The policy, ordered by the Secret Service, was abandoned in late July after news reports that among those inconvenienced by the presidential security perimeter were veterans wounded in combat, about whom Mr. Trump has gushed.
But in another way, Mr. Trump continues to intrude on Virginia. The state’s gubernatorial election, due on November 7th, looks set to become a miniature referendum on his young, controversial administration.
Races for governor in Virginia used to be largely insulated from the national events that shape politics in other large, prosperous states. The state’s quirky tradition of off-year elections tended to reduce turnout, magnifying the strength of the most reliable voters: conservative whites. That gave the upper hand to…Continue reading