The Roanoke Times speculates on whether or not pipeline opponents are all bark and no bite vis a vis Ralph Northam:
In between, Northam has been dogged by people upset over his position on the pipeline — which is basically to take no position on the grounds that it’s a federal issue. A writer on the liberal website Blue Virginia said she was “seething angry” about Northam’s non-position. The vice chair of the Waynesboro Democratic Party said she wouldn’t vote for Northam “unless he has a change of heart about this issue.” Two Nelson County activists told a Richmond magazine they intend to write in “no pipeline” rather than vote for Northam. All this raises the obvious question: Just how big a problem is the pipeline for Northam?
The editorial’s bottom line? Who cares about those rubes anyway:
Next, let’s look at the map. The two pipelines go almost exclusively through counties that vote Republican — usually heavily so. If voters along the pipeline routes are upset, why wouldn’t Gillespie suffer the most? The answer is that Republican voters aren’t particularly moved by environmental concerns; Democrats are. Still, the Democratic vote in some of these so counties is so slight — McAuliffe couldn’t even win 25 percent of the vote in Augusta County last time — would it matter?
In short, the Roanoke Times (and the Northam campaign) are making the logical choice to ditch what appears to be a regional fetish. Northam didn’t want anti-pipeline votes, Northam didn’t campaign for anti-pipeline votes, and Northam doesn’t need anti-pipeline votes to win along the I-95/I-64 corridor: Northern Virgniia, Richmond, and Hampton Roads.
So if cold hard math is against the anti-pipeline crowd, then is there any solace for environmentalists?
Indeed there is. Should environmentalist voters choose to punish Ralph Northam for his unwillingness to even reconsider his position, it may very well cost him more than the 73,000 Democratic votes along the proposed route. Moreover, if environmentalists in say, Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia see Northam as Republican-lite on issues of concern? The very real possibility stands that Northam may not be able to bring them back home:
So just how many “environmental voters” are there? The recent Monmouth University poll, which showed the race tied, asked respondents what their top two concerns were. Of those polled, 37 percent said health care, 25 percent said jobs, 20 percent said the economy, another 20 percent said schools. The environment didn’t even make the top ten. It was ranked 11th, cited by just 5 percent of those survey. That doesn’t sound like very much.