The charge of bigotry has crept into one of the House of Delegates campaigns. Dan Helmer for VA (danhelmer.com) has accused Harold Pyon for Virginia | HD-40 of sending out a mailer that he calls grossly antisemitic .
- Virginia Delegate Dan Helmer says Harold Pyon flier antisemitic | wusa9.com
- Opinion | Antisemitic mailer in Virginia legislative race follows a recent GOP pattern – The Washington Post
- Black Virginia Lawmakers Decry Flyers Showing them as Puppets – WBOC TV
Consider what the editors The Washington Post observed.
We have no reason to assume Mr. Pyon, a retired federal worker and former Army medic, is himself an antisemite. But there is no doubt that his noxious mailer is an affront to decency. It also fits a recent pattern among Virginia Republican candidates in this fall’s legislative elections.Opinion | Antisemitic mailer in Virginia legislative race follows a recent GOP pattern – The Washington Post
If Pyon is not an antisemite, why would he would he approve sending out an antisemitic mailer? If the mailer is antisemitic, all the mailer is going to do is cause him to lose the election. Yet, The Washington Post says they have no reason to assume Pyon is an antisemite? Are The Washington Post just posturing, playing a partisan game, or are they serious?
Are The Washington Post and Helmer playing race card? That is just as likely as accusations of antisemitism against the Republican Party. It is incredibly naive to believe that either Pyon or the Republican Party of Virginia expect to gain anything by deliberately using antisemitic stereotypes, tropes and imagery against Helmer. However, Democrats have much to gain when they successfully characterize their opponents as bigots.
So, voters need to judge this matter carefully. Was the flier or mailer (actually sent out by the Republican Party of Virginia), antisemitic? Well, people usually run for political office because they think can do a better job than the incumbent, and incumbents tend to object to that possibility. Thus, competing candidates start portraying each other more and more unfavorably.
That raises an obvious question. Did the mailer just point to something that Helmer is supposedly doing wrong, or was it actually antisemitic? Either way Helmer and his supporters are not going to like what the mailer says, and they will condemn it as vociferously as they can.
What is a good test? Until the accusation that the mailer is antisemitic came up, how many voters knew that Helmer is Jewish? After seeing the mailer, without hearing the accusation of antisemitism, how many voters would have known Helmer is Jewish? That is, does the mailer actually contain an antisemitic message, or do Helmer and his allies seek to equate any criticism of him as antisemitism?
In addition, voters need to consider the distraction that charges of bigotry create. Instead of carefully considering and covering other issues, the news media ends up focusing on one juicy, divisive issue, antisemitism. What issues should we be considering instead?
- Are we getting our money’s worth from our tax dollars?
- Should we increase or reduce taxes?
- Are the public schools properly educating our children? Do subjects like Critical Race Theory and Transgenderism belong in our schools? What role do parents have in the education of their children?
- How can we improve the public transportation infrastructure? Are we allocating funds properly to different regions of the state? What kind of systems should we be building: roads, mass transit systems, or something else?
- What should we do about increasing crime? Defund the police? Increased the number of police? Alter our laws?
- Has the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic been sensible and effective?
- And so forth.
When charges of bigotry creep into an electorial campaign, as voters and citizens we pay a huge price. Instead of voting for someone who will do a good job, we have to vote for the least bigoted candidate.
If Helmer’s and his allies’ charges of bigotry are frivolous, we need to punish them at the polls for lying to us. If the charges have a basis in fact, then we need to punish Pyon at the polls for bringing his bigotry into the race. Either way, one of these candidates is keeping us from focusing on good government instead of shameless stupidity.
With respect to the issues, there is a huge amount of controversy, and the political contest has become surprisingly close, even in the northern part of Virginia. Consider.
- Democrats on defense as their new House majority faces its first electoral test – Virginia Mercury
- Virginia elections are once again a battle for the ’burbs | News | princewilliamtimes.com
- A Deeper Dive into Virginia’s House of Delegates Races – Elections Daily (elections-daily.com)
How are close elections decided? By turnout. To win, candidates must get the voters who would vote for them to actually take the time to vote.
How should we decide which candidate to vote for? We should study the candidates and ascertain which of them is most likely to do what we think they ought to do, and we are here to help. That’s what the rest of this post is about.
Voter Guides for the House of Delegates races are somewhat scarce, but we have our own. See the notice below. Here are some additional voter guides.
- Virginia | iVoterGuide.com, the project of a coalition of Christian organizations (see Our Partners | iVoterGuide.com), provides a Liberal/Conservative rating for each of the candidates with respect to both the statewide races (Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General) and each of the House of Delegate races. Click on the “MORE” button to find addtional information including responses to a questionnaire (when candidates choose to respond).
- Virginia Voter Guide | Your Values. Your Vote. Your Voice. (vavoterguide.com) is a product of The Family Foundation. The guide contains section with the statewide candidates (pdf file) and a link showing the positions of the candidates for the House of Delegates (View All Candidates). Alternately, you can fill in the fields and get something more personal. Note that Pyon responded to The Family Foundation‘s survey.
- PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY | Progressive Voters Guide is what it sounds like (see About | Progressive Voters Guide). This guide provides bios on the “progressive” candidates. Has nothing to say about the other candidates.
- 2021 Virginia Voter Guide: Election Day is November 2nd! – UFCW Local 400 (ufcw400.org) is a union webpage that provides union members directions on who to vote for.
- NORML – Smoke the Vote is a guide that a group advocating the legalization of marijuana has put together.
- On Election Day – Be the Voice of Small Business (nfib.com) is a guide put together by a Virginia organization that advocates for small business. Their guide contains a list of endorsements.
- VCA Voter Guide (virginiachristianaction.org) is a Christian voter guide that makes use of the votes the incumbents made in the House of Delegates. So, there are quite a few “unknowns” with respect to the positions of some of the candidates, but there is also quite a bit of information.
Helmer, because he is an incumbent has a voting record, is a relatively well known quantity. Pyon positions, because of poor news coverage and the fact he has not answered many surveys, are more slightly more difficult to discern. Hence, we can compare Helmer’s votes against our own beliefs (see the scorecards below), but we may be a little less certain where Pyon stands. So, if you are unhappy with Helmer and leaning towards Pyon, you may wish to visit his website, attend one of his events, and/or try to call him.
- 2021_TFF_ReportCard_Digital-Final.pdf (familyfoundation.org): Legislators are scored based on their voting record on issues that affect the family.
- NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia: Legislators are scored based on their voting record on reproductive issues.
- The Family Foundation of Virginia: Legislators are scored by the Family Foundation on their votes on bills related to “principles of life, marriage, parental authority, constitutional government and religious liberty.”
- Virginia Citizens Defense League: Legislators are scored on their votes on bills related to the Second Amendment.
- Virginia Education Association: Legislators are scored on their votes on bills related to education.
In addition, consider two other sources.
- Dan Helmer – Ballotpedia and Harold Pyon – Ballotpedia. Unfortuately, neither of these gentlemen filled out Ballotpedia‘s survey, but Ballotpedia still has useful information on the candidates.
- Elections: House of Delegates District 40 (vpap.org) contains useful information on who is funding each of the candidates. Helmer has gathered much more in campaign donations, but Pyon has done quite well relative to othe Republicans.
Please post our flyer on public bulletin boards or leave copies on tables so that voters can pick it up and share it:
Want a second opinion? We encourage you to do all the research you can. Check out COMPILING A LIST OF VOTER GUIDES | Prince William-Manassas Family Alliance (familyallianceonline.org).