- - Sunday, November 3, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

On Nov. 5, Virginia will hold its Tuesday Night Football game. Might be on Spike. Check your TV listings.

Why the Land of Presidents holds its gubernatorial elections in off years — no presidential or congressional races on the ballot — is anyone’s guess. Maybe state lawmakers want to see just how few voters will go to the polls.

And this year, turnout could well set a new record low. The latest polls show Virginians virtually hate the two candidates running for governor. Many will be casting their votes against one, rather than for the other (aside from, of course, the Kool-Aid-drinking true believers on each side — you know who you are).

Terry McAuliffe, 56, whose claim to fame is that he raised hundreds of millions of dollars for Bill Clinton and then for his first lady, has never held any elective office. (And he wants to start off as governor? Yes. Yes, he does.) He’s involved in not one but two federal investigations, and, most recently, stories emerged that he might have made even more money off terminally ill people (seriously). What’s more, he lives in McLean (a suburb of Georgetown).

Then there’s Ken T. Cuccinelli II, 45, a homegrown, up-from-the-bootstraps, blah blah blah. Good God, he’s boring. That monotone! And he walked into the buzz saw of the Obama Playbook on women’s issues like abortion and reproductive health. Oh, and you’re also against divorce? Wonder how the local media (read: Washington Post) will play that!

So, Tuesday’s game will go like this: McAuliffe will score at least six touchdowns, maybe seven. Cuccinelli will score five, and maybe a field goal or two. Book it.

But wait, that’s 42-38, or 49-41. Where’s the rest?

With the other guy: Robert Sarvis. Never heard of him? Too bad. You should have.

Mr. Sarvis, 37, was born in Fairfax, the son of an English- and Irish-American and a Chinese immigrant. After attending one of the best high schools in the country, just miles from his home, he went to Harvard to study mathematics, then attended the University of Cambridge. He got a law degree at NYU, then earned a master’s in economics from George Mason University.

In the middle of a legal career, he left to join a software development business and founded a company that developed apps for Google’s emerging Android operating system. In between, he married a black pediatrician from Greenville, Miss., and fathered two children.

Although he ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for a state Senate seat in 2011 (out-raised by the Democrat 72-1, with a war chest of just $26,000), he left the party to become a Libertarian.

“I realized that the Republican Party, at least in Virginia, in the current era, is not a good vehicle for liberty candidates,” he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which this year has refused to endorse a candidate. “Republicans are very strident on personal issues.”

Him, not so much. On abortion, he sidesteps, saying it’s “counterproductive to try to settle the matter through the coercive power of the state.” He’s also a vocal advocate for gay marriage and calls for the legalization of marijuana. So much for the out-of-step Republican.

“When they talk about liberty,” he said of Republicans, “they don’t mean any personal issues. There is very little respect for personal autonomy.”

On other issues, he favors: protecting civil liberties; returning health care regulation to the states, upholding gun rights, eliminating Virginia’s regressive “car tax” and overhauling the tax code. Run-of-the-mill Republican stuff.

The latest poll puts him at 13 percent — not bad for a third-party candidate, not good for a guy trying to become governor. But Mr. Sarvis lays out a simple path to victory over the two universally despised candidates: “If everybody who’s voting against the other guy actually voted against both of them, I would win in a landslide,” he said with a laugh last week in an interview. “People feel locked into a two-party system, but the fact of the matter is — we don’t have to do it that way.”

Most Americans agree: A Gallup poll in October found that 60 percent say the Democratic and Republicans parties “do such a poor job of representing the American people that a third major party is needed A new low of 26% believe the two major parties adequately represent Americans.”

Is a vote for the third-party candidate Tuesday futile and stupid, a wasted vote? Probably. And more, Mr. Cuccinelli has worked his way up the ranks and remains the most qualified candidate in the field.

But then again, the situation is dire. How long will Americans put up with choosing between two terrible candidates?

Virginia’s plight brings to mind “Animal House,” and the conclusion reached by Delta Tau Chi frat leaders when faced with a do-or-die decision.

“We gotta take these bastards,” Otter says. “Now, we could fight ‘em with conventional weapons, but that could take years and cost millions of lives. Oh no. No, In this case, I think we have to go all out. I think this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part!”

Says Bluto, with total commitment: “And we’re just the guys to do it.”

Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times and is now editor of the Drudge Report. He can be reached at josephcurl@gmail.com and on Twitter @josephcurl.

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