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Monday, March 27, 2023
ArlingtonOpinionEditorial: Voters, please deliver us divided government

Editorial: Voters, please deliver us divided government

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As we move into the heart of election season, here’s a friendly reminder from the Sun Gazette editorial-page team to the voters of Virginia.

There are three possibilities when it comes to state-level governance:

• Democrats control the levers of both executive and legislative power in Richmond.


• Republicans hold total power.

• The parties share the rule, with Democrats and Republicans each controlling some, but not all, statewide offices and majorities in the legislature.

We’ve been around long enough to have seen all three options in play at various times. We’ve come to the conclusion that Virginia government works best when the two parties have to work with one another.

Why might we say that? Our rationale:

• Let Republicans have total dominance, as was the case for a number of years, and either nothing gets done at all, or the far right of the party seizes control and gives us whackadoodle legislation on social issues that doesn’t move the commonwealth forward.

• Let Democrats run the show, as has been the case in recent years, and you get too much legislation, much of it of dubious value to maintaining the quality of life of Virginians. And in a reverse of the Republican scenario outlined a paragraph before, when Democrats control everything, the far left of the party comes out of the woodwork and subsumes voices of moderation.

• The years when we had split governance, there seems to be an equilibrium. The two parties have shown, when this was the case in the past, an ability to work together (to a degree) for the common good.

We’re not particularly interested exactly how this might shake out. Maybe it means letting Terry McAuliffe have a second time in the Governor’s Mansion, but give him a Republican House of Delegates and Republicans as lieutenant governor and attorney general to balance things out. Or let Democrats hold the House of Delegates but install Republican Glenn Youngkin as governor.

But, voters, if you want sanity in statewide government, divided government is the way to go. Now you just have to go out and make it happen.

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