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The face of Republicanism repudiated?

By       Message David Kagro X Waldman       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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Yesterday, kos put up a piece reacting to a story in the LA Times that ran under the headline, "Housing crisis tests GOP loyalties."

The article's story was actually set right where I live, in Loudoun County, Virginia:

STERLING, VA. -- Every afternoon, when Karla Schroeder walks her two boys home from school, she takes note of the new real estate signs springing up on neighborhood lawns. These days, they're not what she's used to seeing, and she's not happy about the change.

Along with a great many "For Sale" signs are new ones that say "Foreclosure." A few weeks ago, she was startled by a bright orange sign that said "Auction."

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The national downturn in the housing market has arrived in Loudoun County, a once-largely rural area on the western fringes of Washington that has become one of the fastest-growing regions in the United States. In addition to the economic effect, it's stirring anxiety and discontent that have begun to change the climate in which people consider politics -- especially some Republicans.

So what's happening out here? A once solidly-red area is trending blue. That's what.

For Republican strategists, the change is particularly troubling because, as recently as 2004, high-growth exurban areas like Loudoun County were fertile ground for GOP organizers, who rallied conservative volunteers from churches and community groups to turn out new voters. It was primarily in such areas that Republican strategists beat Democrats at their own game -- registration and voter turnout.

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The shift away from the GOP is partly the result of more liberal voters moving into the county from Washington and Democratic suburbs. But the housing crisis is also playing a substantial role, eroding the loyalty of some longtime Republicans.

As Schroeder assays today's vote for members of the county board, she says that for the first time in her life, she is considering voting for a Democrat.

And one of the things she's unhappy about is those foreclosure signs and the threat she sees in them to her family's financial security.

Loudoun County, the article notes, is the fourth fastest-growing county in the nation. It also sits atop the lists of American counties with the highest median household income.

That makes it pretty much the fastest-growing, wealthiest county in America.

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So why did its voters last night take its nine-member Board of Supervisors from six Republicans, two Independents (who were formerly Republicans) and one Democrat, and turn it into a Board comprised of two Republicans, five Democrats, and the same two Independents?

Growth? Check!

Wealth? Check!

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David Waldman is a Contributing Editor blogging as Kagro X at, the largest and most visited political blog in the world. A non-practicing attorney, a former Capitol Hill aide, his online work includes a comprehensive study of the Senate's "nuclear option," written at (more...)

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