Bipartisanship and Political Alchemy

The transmutation of bi-partisanship into non-partisanship, as witnessed in the case of the duopoly dialogue, is a common discursive mechanism of bipolar ideology in the two-party state. Examples abound. In the race taking shape for governor in Virginia, duopoly candidates have reached a consensus on the need for reform of the district rigging process. A headline on the story at Fredericksburg News reads: "McDonnell now backs nonpartisan redistricting" (emphasis added). But in its first line, we find: "Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell says he now supports a bipartisan redistricting panel instead of letting the majority party draw new legislative district lines" (emphasis added).

As the Virginian Pilot points out in an editorial, redistricting reform is long overdue in the commonwealth:
In four House elections over the past decade, the highest number of competitive races for any given year was 14 out of 100 seats. Competitive races were defined as those won by 55 percent of the vote or less. The 40-member Senate's most competitive election cycle yielded only eight real contests. In every election for the previous 10 years, a majority of all legislative seats were uncontested or featured only one major-party candidate and a third-party opponent. Voter turnout was 7 to 12 percentage points lower in uncontested races.
On a side note, Ralph Nader and his former campaign manager Theresa Amato have caused some waves in the politics of the race by revealing, according to the Washington Post, that "Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe offered his campaign money to stay off the ballot in key states during the 2004 elections -- a disclosure timed to raise questions about McAuliffe's fitness for public office." Nader quipped: "Terry McAuliffe is slipperier than an eel in olive oil."

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