If you're one of Virginia's many independent voters, next Tuesday's elections--especially for state Senate races--should be of great interest to you.
Virginia has a large group of mostly moderate independent voters. They tend to be fiscally conservative and socially libertarian, i.e., they don't want the government telling them what to do in their bedrooms or with their guns. Their primary interest is in getting good government services as efficiently as possible. Not surprisingly, these sensible folks are disgusted with both major parties.
For those of you who fall into this large category of independent voters, Tuesday's election is important because if the Virginia state senate swings to a Republican majority, the Commonwealth will be--for the first time in many years--a single party state, with the GOP controlling both houses of the legislature as well as all the major constitutional offices (governor, lt. gov., AG, etc.)
That will, in turn, unleash social conservatives to push--and enact--a flurry of regulations on conduct, as well as to turn on the spigots for spending on conservative programs. No, it turns out that Republicans are not against regulation, nor are they against welfare spending--it's just a matter of who/what they want to regulate (sexual mores) and who they want to reward (businesses, churches).
As long as Democrats continue to control the state senate, neither party can go too far off the rails with its agenda. The current stalemate is not ideal--on some issues, particularly transportation funding, the legislature has gotten nowhere for years. Virginians increasingly pay a higher and higher price each year for the lack of investment in transportation infrastructure. But it's not like Gov. McDonnell's solution of sticking a tollbooth every few miles and pretending its not a tax is going to solve the problem.
In any event, independent voters have an important stake in how this election goes. Republicans bill the election as a "referendum on Pres. Obama," but Obama's got nothing to do with it. The real issue is whether Virginia is going to retain the balance that has served it so well over recent years.