Local Commentary

Editorial: Our Area’s Huge ‘16 Election Year

Whoa! Not only is the region going to be in the 70s, weather wise, on Christmas Eve this week, but it is also forecast to have daily highs in the low 50s going into the New Year, and for Falls Church’s annual Watch Night celebration that shuts down traffic in the 100 block of W. Broad to anticipate the countdown to 2016.

According to Weather.com, the most reliable forecasting entity on the Internet, the unseasonably warm temperatures will persist well into the New Year, as well. For not a single day, the website forecasts, will a daily high fall below 43 degrees in January, and 45 in February and above 50 every day heading into March.

Of course, the accuracy of forecasts that far in advance is always suspect and with plenty of opportunities for it to be thrown off. But wouldn’t it be nice if it all just stayed as mild as they’re currently suggesting through the entire winter?

There are a lot of reasons why this would be a great development, beyond holding heating costs down. It means that there will be little to prevent folks in the region to gear up for one of the most important election years of our lifetimes.

Just look at how things are winding up this month going into the presidential election year of 2016! Donald Trump is appearing to be almost unstoppable among the candidates seeking the GOP nomination, and the better he does, apparently, instead of toning down his insults and rhetoric, he’s doing the opposite. This man is presenting all of us with the challenge to stand up to his bigotry, bullying, lying and hateful sexism.

In this context, as has become the norm, Virginia will be a key swing state in the presidential election next November, and has also been the case more than a few times in the last 15 years, Northern Virginia, and even more specifically, the region that constitutes Eastern Fairfax County (the Mason, Providence and Dranesville districts) and the City of Falls Church, in combination with Arlington and Alexandria, will be most pivotal. Here, in other statewide races since Mark Warner’s successful election as governor in 2001, more than the margin of victory statewide was found to be right here.

The same outcome occurred with Tim Kaine’s election as governor four years later, and with Jim Webb’s election to the U.S. Senate, and the first and second elections of President Obama, and the Warner and Kaine elections to the U.S. Senate. In all these statewide elections, the margin of victory, or almost the entirety of it, was achieved in these most pivotal areas.

So in 2016 it comes down to the fact that while everyone will need to be mobilized to keep Trump or someone like him away from the White House, the challenge will especially be there for the readers of this very editorial. This is not campaign hype, this is hard demonstrable fact.