The Republican Tax Plan Will Crush These Housing Markets

For the past few weeks, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have screamed to anyone who would listen that the GOP tax plan is nothing more than a tax break for millionaires and an attack on middle class working families.  But, as the Wall Street Journa…

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Fourth Turning’s Neil Howe: Why Millennials Aren’t So Unique

Authored by Marianne Brunet via AdvisorPerspectives.com,
The conventional wisdom is that Millennials are a generation with unique needs and buying habits, but Neil Howe says that they are very similar to the Greatest Generation.
Howe, who coined the te…

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Michael Lewis Reveals His Shocking New “Big Short”

When the award-winning author of “The Big Short,” “The Blind Side” and “Moneyball,” stopped by Yahoo Finance yesterday to discuss his latest book, “The Undoing Project,” he was predictably asked for his next “Big Short” idea.  And, after downplayi…

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America’s “Abject Servitude” Is Now Exposed

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

These are the poisoned fruits of a neofeudal system in which power, wealth and political influence are concentrated in the apex of the wealth-power pyramid.

Stripped of pretense, ours is a culture of rape. Apologists for the system that spawned this culture of rape claim that this violence is the work of a few scattered sociopaths. The apologists are wrong: The system generates a culture of rape.

The engine of our culture of rape is the elevation of the entitled-insider class to untouchability: they are above the law, and more equal than others in their freedom to impose every sick sociopathology known to humanity on the powerless peasants imprisoned in our noxious neofeudal system.

For the true sickness of our society and culture is measured not in the vile crimes of our entitled-insider class: it’s measured by the armies of enablers, protectors, enforcers and apologists who protect the entitled-insider class from exposure and justice. After 25 years of blatant abuse of power and crimes that have yet to enter the court docket, 25 years during which the cream of the American media purposefully ignored his blatant abuses of power, the moldering putrid remains of American journalism has finally emerged from its fetid nests, trembling in the unaccustomed brightness of day, to “report,” 25 years too late to save his innumerable victims, Harvey Weinstein’s Army of Spies (New Yorker).

You know how incestuous and cowardly our entitled-insider class is, and how they operate: for 25 long years, editors in the self-glorifying citadels of American journalism killed every story that would have exposed Mr. Weinstein’s actions to the world.

The same can be said of all the other predators hiding beneath the cloak of secrecy that protects the entitled-insider class from exposure.

Voracious predators like Bill Clinton mastered the fine art of forcing consensuality on their innumerable victims, considering the act of forced sex as little more than a standard perquisite of power, much like having the hotel door opened by servants.

The armies of spies, informers, PR flacks, security guards, attorneys, thugs, sycophants and handlers didn’t just enable predatory exploitation of the peasantry: they actively recruited victims and set them up, just as powerless maids were trapped in the chambers of lords in feudal times.

The truly sick reality of our culture of rape is that nobody involved reckoned they were doing anything wrong. The sociopathological predators reckoned they were simply exercising their droit du seigneur, their right to take any woman they desired as a privilege of belonging to the entitled-insider class.

Every single individual in the vast armies of spies, informers, PR flacks, security guards, attorneys, thugs, sycophants and handlers were simply doing their job, doing what they were told to avoid reprimand or being fired. In other words, every one of these individuals was a good German, pulling the trigger, defending predators from justice, protecting the most vile, sick abusers of power from exposure and attacking any victim who dared speak the truth, because, well, they were paid to do so.

Were there no other jobs in America other than protecting evil predators from exposure and justice? Or did these good Germans secretly revel in their proximity to power, much like the SS reveled in their proximity to Nazi power? All you good Germans who served your overlords so well: please don’t deny the thrill of being close to sociopathological power. Or were you just too afraid of losing your own pretty perquisites?

These are the poisoned fruits of a neofeudal system in which power, wealth and political influence are concentrated in the apex of the wealth-power pyramid, a system so corrupted that predators don’t just get off scot-free, they are celebrated as wunnerful guys because their abuses of power are so well hidden, their victims so well marginalized and their PR flacks so relentless in painting over the rotting flesh of their corruption.

While tens of thousands of men and women rot away in America’s teeming Drug War gulag, the exploiters and predators of our entitled-insider class are free to ruin and rape. It’s time we stop making excuses for the predators of our entitled-insider class, stop accepting the cover provided by the worm-ridden decaying corpse of our corporate media, and stop the armies of Good German executioners who have bludgeoned every attempt to expose the truth of our pervasive culture of rape, exploitation and pillage.

Our abject servitude is now exposed. We are peasants and debt-serfs imprisoned in a deeply corrupt and oppressive neofeudal society. Will we ever tire of worshiping our predatory entitled-insider class exploiters?

*  *  *

If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com. Check out both of my new books, Inequality and the Collapse of Privilege ($3.95 Kindle, $8.95 print) and Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle, $8.95 print, $5.95 audiobook) For more, please visit the OTM essentials website.

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Real Motive Behind Saudi Purge Emerges: $800 Billion In Confiscated Assets

From the very beginning, there was something off about Sunday’s unprecedented countercoup purge unleashed by Mohammad bin Salman on alleged political enemies, including some of Saudi Arabia’s richest and most powerful royals and government officials: it was just too brazen to be a simple “power consolidation” move; in fact most commentators were shocked by the sheer audacity, with one question outstanding: why take such a huge gamble? After all, there was little chatter of an imminent coup threat against either the senile Saudi King or the crown prince, MbS, and a crackdown of such proportions would only boost animosity against the current ruling royals further.

Things gradually started to make sense when it emerged that some $33 billion in oligarch net worth was “at risk” among just the 4 wealthiest arrested Saudis, which included the media-friendly prince Alwaleed.

One day later, a Reuters source reported that in a just as dramatic expansion of the original crackdown, bank accounts of over 1,200 individuals had been frozen, a number which was growing by the minute. Commenting on this land cashgrab, we rhetorically asked “So when could the confiscatory process end? As we jokingly suggested yesterday, the ruling Saudi royal family has realized that not only can it crush any potential dissent by arresting dozens of potential coup-plotters, it can also replenish the country’s foreign reserves, which in the past 3 years have declined by over $250 billion, by confiscating some or all of their generous wealth, which is in the tens if not hundreds of billions. If MbS continues going down the list, he just may recoup a substantial enough amount to what it makes a difference on the sovereign account.”

Then an article overnight from the WSJ confirmed that fundamentally, the purge may be nothing more than a forced extortion scheme, as the Saudi government – already suffering from soaring budget deficits, sliding oil revenues and plunging reserves – was “aiming to confiscate cash and other assets worth as much as $800 billion in its broadening crackdown on alleged corruption among the kingdom’s elite.

As we reported yesterday, the WSJ writes that the country’s central bank, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, said late Tuesday that it has frozen the bank accounts of “persons of interest” and said the move is “in response to the Attorney General’s request pending the legal cases against them.” But what is more notable, is that while we first suggested – jokingly – on Monday that the ulterior Saudi motive would be to simply “nationalize” the net worth of some of Saudi Arabia’s wealthiest individuals, now the WSJ confirms that this is precisely the case, and what’s more notably is that the amount in question is absolutely staggering: nearly 2x Saudi Arabia’s total foreign reserves!

As the WSJ alleges, “the crackdown could also help replenish state coffers. The government has said that assets accumulated through corruption will become state property, and people familiar with the matter say the government estimates the value of assets it can reclaim at up to 3 trillion Saudi riyal, or $800 billion.”

While much of that money remains abroad – and invested in various assets from bonds to stocks to precious metals and real estate – which will complicate efforts to reclaim it, even a portion of that amount would help shore up Saudi Arabia’s finances.

A prolonged period of low oil prices forced the government to borrow money on the international bond market and to draw extensively from the country’s foreign reserves, which dropped from $730 billion at their peak in 2014 to $487.6 billion in August, the latest available government data.

Confirming our speculation was advisory firm Eurasia Group, which in a note said that the crown prince “needs cash to fund the government’s investment plans” adding that “It was becoming increasingly clear that additional revenue is needed to improve the economy’s performance. The government will also strike deals with businessmen and royals to avoid arrest, but only as part of a greater commitment to the local economy.”

Of course, there is a major danger that such a draconian cash grab would result in a violent blowback by everyone who has funds parked in the Kingdom. To assuage fears, Saudi Arabia’s minister of commerce, Majid al Qasabi, on Tuesday sought to reassure the private sector that the corruption investigation wouldn’t interfere with normal business operations. The procedures and investigations undertaken by the anticorruption agency won’t affect ongoing business or projects, he said. Furthermore, the Saudi central bank said that individual accounts had been frozen, not corporate accounts. “It is business as usual for both banks and corporates,” the central bank said.

However, this is problematic: first, not only is the list of names of detained and “frozen” accounts growing by the day…

The government earlier this week vowed that it would arrest more people as part of the corruption investigation, which began around three years ago. As a precautionary measure, authorities have banned a large number of people from traveling outside the country, among them hundreds of royals and people connected to those arrested, according to people familiar with the matter. The government hasn’t officially named the people who were detained.

… but the mere shock of a move that would be more appropriate for the 1950s USSR has prompted crushed any faith and confidence the international community may have had in Saudi governance and business practices.

The biggest irony would be if from this flagrant attmept to shore up the Kingdom’s deteriorating finances, a domestic and international bank run emerged, with locals and foreign individuals and companies quietly, or not so quietly, pulling their assets and capital from confiscation ground zero, in the process precipitating the very economic collapse that the move was meant to avoid.

Judging by the market reaction, which has sent Riyal forward tumbling on rising bets of either a recession, or devaluation, or both, this unorthodox attempt to inject up to $800 billion in assets into the struggling local economy, could soon backfire spectacularly.

Meanwhile, for those still confused about the current political scene in Saudi Arabia, here is an infographic courtesy of the WSJ which explains “Who Has Been Promoted, Who Has Been Detained in Saudi Arabia

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Trump Warns North Korea Of “Grave Danger” In Rousing Speech

President Donald Trump departed for China this morning, the third leg of his 12-day tour of Asia – his first visit to the continent since taking office – but not before delivering a “rousing speech” to South Korean lawmakers where he warned the North not to “underestimate” the US – a sharp change in tone from yesterday, when he encouraged the North to “make a deal” with the US that he said would be in their mutual interest. During his address in Seoul, Trump directed his words at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, warning him that “the weapons that you are acquiring are not making you safer, they are putting your regime in grave danger. Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face.” More details on Trump’s speech from Reuters:

“This is a very different administration than the United States has had in the past,” Mr. Trump said in an address to South Korean lawmakers Wednesday. “Do not underestimate us, and do not try us.”

 

The president called on Mr. Kim to abandon his country’s nuclear-weapons program as he contrasted the successful capitalist economy of South Korea with that of the North, whose economy is many times smaller. Both countries’ output was similar in 1953, when the end of the Korean War left the peninsula divided.

 

“North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned—it is a hell that no person deserves,” Mr. Trump said, referring to North Korea’s founding leader, Kim Il Sung. “We will offer a path to a much better future,” he continued. “It begins with an end to the aggression of your regime, a stop to the development of ballistic missiles and complete, verifiable and total denuclearization.”

Abandoning the conciliatory tone that he briefly adopted on Tuesday, Trump painted a picture of the North as a dystopian hellscape where the state forces couples to get abortions, and where citizens would rather be sold to work as de facto slaves in a foreign country than stay in North Korea.

Using some of his Trump used some of his toughest language yet against North Korea in a wide-ranging address in Seoul that lodged specific accusations of chilling human rights abuses. He called on countries around the world to isolate Pyongyang by denying it “any form of support, supply or acceptance.”

 

“Do not underestimate us and do not try us,” Trump told North Korea as he wrapped up a visit to South Korea with a speech to the National Assembly before heading to Beijing, where he was making his first official visit.

 

Trump painted a dystopian picture of the reclusive North, saying people were suffering in “gulags” and some bribed government officials to work as “slaves” overseas rather than live under the government at home. He offered no evidence to support those accusations.

 

“The world cannot tolerate the menace of a rogue regime that threatens it with nuclear devastation,” Trump said, speaking as three U.S. aircraft carrier groups sailed to the Western Pacific for exercises – a rare show of such U.S. naval force in the region.

For all its bluster, the speech included a few moments of levity. In true Trump fashion, the president, an avid golfer, also praised the success of the South Korean women who finished in the top four spots at the tournament held earlier this year at Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“What you have built is truly an inspiration,” he said.

Going back to North Korea, in his speech, Trump painted a bleak picture of life in North Korea: citizens, he said, bribe government officials to be sold into slavery rather than remain in their own country, and “ethnically inferior” unborn children are aborted, or killed after birth.

That said, Trump, whose strategy has stressed sanctions and military pressure instead of diplomacy, did not spell out any new approach. This is problematic as North Korea has made clear it has little interest in negotiations at least until it develops a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland, something U.S. intelligence officials say it may be just months away from achieving.

North Korea is a country ruled by a cult,” Trump concluded his speech which was interrupted several times by applause and ended with a standing ovation.

Trump’s 35-minute address to the South Korean National Assembly was the last major event of his roughly 24 hours in the country. The president departed shortly afterward for China, the third of five countries he plans to visit on his 10-day swing through Asia.

Following the speech, the US and South Korea released a joint statement, pledging “to maintain close consultation, coordination, and cooperation on North Korea policy.

NEW: Following Pres. Trump’s visit, U.S. and South Korea release joint statement pledging “to maintain close consultation, coordination, and cooperation on North Korea policy.” https://t.co/YbIUI9FNiv pic.twitter.com/CK1X1PwxFB

— ABC News (@ABC) November 8, 2017

After Trump’s speech ended, the North’s Central News Agency responded with a statement accusing Trump of being a “political heretic” and a “lunatic old man”.

North Korea, meanwhile, said it was entirely Washington’s responsibility to control the situation to avoid a “horrible nuclear disaster and tragic doom.”

 

“The world is undergoing unprecedented throes because of Trump, a notorious political heretic,” state-run newspaper Minju Joson said in a commentary Wednesday, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

 

The U.S. must oust the lunatic old man from power and withdraw the hostile policy towards the DPRK at once in order to get rid of the abyss of doom,” it added, using an abbreviation for the country’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Trump left South Korea Wednesday morning and headed to China, where he and Chinese President Xi Jinping continued their “bromance” that began when Xi visited Mar-a-Lago back in April, where the two world leaders famously bonded over a large slice of chocolate cake. Trump and his counterpart share a mutual admiration that is strengthened by the fact that both Trump and his daughter, Ivanka Trump, are widely loved and respected by the Chinese people. In keeping with Xi’s promise to create a “state-visit-plus” for Trump, the two leaders made small talk as they toured the Forbidden City – which was shut down to tourists – with their wives before taking in a Chinese opera performance. While the sprawling palace complex in the political and cultural heart of Beijing is a regular stop for visiting dignitaries, it is rare for a Chinese leader to act as a personal escort.

During his two-day visit, Trump will ask China to abide by U.N. resolutions and cut financial links with North Korea, a senior White House official said on the plane from Seoul. He also plans to discuss with Xi the long-contentious trade imbalance. The two leaders are set to hold formal talks on Thursday, where the issues of containing North Korea and mitigating the massive Chinese trade surplus with the US are expected to dominate the conversation.

China has long encouraged the US and the North to pursue a diplomatic solution, Trump believes any talks with North Korea would require it to reduce threats, end provocations and move toward denuclearization, and that no deal can be achieved without denuclearization. The Trump administration also suspects that China has been continuing its support for the North despite the stringent UN sanctions that China, which has permanent veto power at the Security Council, voted to approve in September following the North’s latest nuclear test.

Trump, Reuters said, will try to convince Xi to squeeze North Korea further by limiting oil shipments and financial transactions. However, it is not clear if Xi, who has just consolidated his power at a Communist Party congress, will agree to do more. Because as much as the North has become a diplomatic nuisance, China believes it must continue to prop up the regime, or else lose its buffer against US forces in South Korea.

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America Cracks Up: The Anatomy Of A National Nervous Breakdown

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,
Another shooting, another day in America.
Or so it seems.
With alarming regularity, the nation is being subjected to a spate of violence that terrorizes the public, destabilizes the country&rsquo…

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Iran Slams Saudi, US Claims It Ordered Ballistic Missile Attack From Yemen

On Tuesday Iran slammed Saudi and US claims that it was supplying Yemen’s Houthi rebels with advanced ballistic missiles that Saudi Arabia says targeted Riyadh international airport on Saturday – which would be a violation of a UN resolution which ensures conformity to the Iran nuclear deal.

Iran’s state-run IRNA news cited a letter sent to the UN Security Council signed by Iranian ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo, saying that Iran “categorically” rejects Saudi Arabia’s “baseless and unfounded accusations and considers it as destructive, provocative and a ‘threat to use of force”’ against a UN member state in defiance of the UN charter. Iran’s foreign minister further called the Saudi claims “contrary to reality and dangerous”.

Iran’s state-run PressTV file photo purporting to show a missile being fired from the direction of Yemen toward Saudi Arabia earlier during the conflict. 

Though Saudi Arabia has mounted an aggressive aerial bombing campaign of deeply impoverished and disease-ridden Yemen for over the past two years, killing and wounding tens of thousands of civilians, it is Iran that is coming under intense pressure this week. Yesterday Saudi Arabia charged its regional rival Iran with “an act of war” while stating through its military coalition executing Yemen operations that, “Iran’s role and its direct command of its Houthi proxy in this matter constitutes a clear act of aggression that targets neighboring countries, and threatens peace and security in the region and globally.”

However, the Iranian ambassador’s letter to the UN responded directly to the charges with, “Such provocative statements by the Saudis are nothing but an attempt to shift the blame and to distract attention from its war of aggression against Yemen.” Other Iranian officials, according to various reports, called the Saudi claims “fake news”. 

Saudi Arabia has cast itself as the victim of external Iranian and pro-Shia plotting after its internal weekend of chaos which included a missile attack from Yemen, the deaths of two princes and other high officials within a mere 24 hours, and an aggressive crackdown against dissent in the royal family which saw close to a dozen princes placed under house arrest. While lashing out at Iran’s supposed campaign of destabilization in Yemen and in the region, it appears that the Saudis are set to step up proxy skirmishes with Iran across the Middle East, possibly with the support of regional allies

Predictably, the US immediately backed Saudi claims of direct Iranian involvement in the Yemeni conflict while citing no specific evidence. US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley pointed to a prior missile fired in July which she said was an Iranian Qiam, and likened the previous attack with Saturday’s missile launch, saying it “may also be of Iranian origin,” and added that the ballistic missiles were not “a type of weapon that had not been present in Yemen before the conflict.”

Haley further claimed that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp‎s had violated UN resolutions on Yemen and Iran, and said, “We encourage the United Nations and international partners to take necessary action to hold the Iranian regime accountable for these violations.”

Why don’t these congresspeople want to talk about the war in Yemen? pic.twitter.com/ghp82AtnMS

— NowThis (@nowthisnews) November 4, 2017

Above: Why is Yemen ignored in US politics? The US itself has been an integral part of the coalition (also including Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt, Sudan, and with the UK as a huge supplier of weapons) fighting Shia Houthi rebels, which overran Yemen’s north in 2014. Saudi airstrikes on the impoverished country, which have killed many thousands of civilians and displaced tens of thousands, have involved the assistance of US intelligence and use of American military hardware.

Regardless of the degree to which Iran may or may not be involved in advising and assisting Houthi rebels, it is astounding that in the rare moments that US officials actually make reference to the humanitarian disaster in Yemen, it is nebulous “Iranian agents” that are blamed even while American and British bombs are dropped from Saudi-piloted jets on a civilian population. 

Saudi Arabia has in recent years managed to use the UN to protect and enhance its image when it comes to questions of both domestic human rights abuses and rampant war crimes in Yemen. Absurdly, the autocratic country which has Wahhabi Islam for its official state religion continues to serve its 3-year term on the UN Human Rights Council.

But it appears that for now that the Saudi “but Iran did it” line is enough to satisfy Nikki Haley and the US administration. 

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Trump Blames Gillespie For Virginia Defeat: “He Did Not Embrace What I Stand For”

Update (8:45pm EST): In a somewhat terse tweet, President Trump wasted not time apportioning any blame squarely on the shoulders of establishment Republican Ed Gillespie for his loss

Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for. Don’t forget, Republicans won 4 out of 4 House seats, and with the economy doing record numbers, we will continue to win, even bigger than before!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 8, 2017

*  *  *

 

Update (8:10pm EST): MSNBC has called Virginia’s Gubernatorial Race for Democrat Ralph Northam

For now the spread is narrower than the 5.4pt spread Hillary won over Trump

There is however a strong tendency shifting more democratic across the counties that have results in…

*  *  *

Here’s a live feed of the results:

* * *

After a hard-fought campaign, one which turned downright vicious in recent weeks, Virginia’s race for governor is now just hours away from being decided with polls set to close at 7pm EST.  The race pits Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) against former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie (R) and will undoubtedly be spun as a referendum on the Trump administration no matter which side emerges victorious later this evening. 

According to The Hill, given that this is an off-year race, strategists in both camps expect a low-turnout affair in which only about 41% of the state’s electorate is expected to cast a ballot.  And while small variations in voter turnout assumptions can have monumental impacts on polls (in addition to the already built-in liberal bias), the Real Clear Politics average shows a slight advantage for Northam headed into tonight.

Of course, polls showed a similar advantage for Jon Ossoff heading into Georgia’s special election earlier this year and we all know how that turned out (see:  The Russians Do It Again: Democrats Get Crushed In Georgia Election Despite 7x Spending Advantage).

Not surprisingly, at least not in today’s political climate, Virginia’s governor race started off as a contest between two fairly moderate candidates but has quickly morphed into what a former Republican congressman described as a choice between “an MS-13 member and a Nazi.”

Northam’s campaign has spent the final weeks before Election Day tying Gillespie to President Trump, and Democratic outside groups have portrayed Gillespie supporters as white supremacists sympathetic to the white nationalists who rallied in Charlottesville.

 

Gillespie has accused Northam of voting to allow sanctuary cities — though no Virginia jurisdiction counts itself as a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants — and therefore exacerbating a rising crime wave fueled by the MS-13 gang.

 

Both pitches are aimed squarely at firing up the two sides’ respective bases.

 

“We’re two one-party states,” said Tom Davis, a former Republican congressman from Northern Virginia. “This comes down to who shows up their base, which is why at the end of the campaign I’m having to choose between an MS-13 member and a Nazi.”

Meanwhile, the need to rally the base sparked the following mini tweet storm from President Trump earlier this morning attacking Ralph Northam as “weak on crime, weak on our GREAT VETS, Anti-Second Amendment…and has been horrible on Virginia economy.”

….and has been horrible on Virginia economy. Vote @EdWGillespie today!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2017

.@EdWGillespie will totally turn around the high crime and poor economic performance of VA. MS-13 and crime will be gone. Vote today, ASAP!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2017

As the Washington Post points out, the key to a Northam victory will be high voter turnout in deep-blue, urban Northern Virginia cities while Gillespie will be relying on the more rural towns in the Southwest.

Northam and the Democrats are concentrating on a deep-blue urban crescent that runs from Northern Virginia to Richmond and Hampton Roads and has been key to Democratic wins for statewide offices since 2009.

 

Gillespie has been courting Republicans in white rural Southwest and Southside Virginia but also needs to peel away moderates and independents. He particularly needs votes in Northern Virginia, where he lives, to overcome Northam’s built-in advantage with Democrats in the most populous part of the state.

 

African American voters are an important bloc for Democrats and have been pivotal in their ability to win statewide elections. Northam comes from Hampton Roads, home to a large African American population, and is backed by scores of black elected officials statewide, relationships that he cultivated over 10 years as a state lawmaker and lieutenant governor.

Meanwhile, The Hill notes that just one Virginia county, Prince William County in North Virginia, has managed to pick the winning candidate in every race since 2004.

Observers in both parties are zeroing in on a handful of key precincts in bellwether counties and cities, crafting base appeals aimed only at turning out their core voters.

 

In the last nine closely-fought statewide elections — the presidential contests in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016; Senate contests in 2006 and 2014; and gubernatorial races in 2005, 2009 and 2013 — only two jurisdictions have picked the winning candidate every time: Prince William County, just south and west of the Washington Beltway, and tiny Radford City, on the I-81 corridor west of Roanoke.

 

Six other jurisdictions have picked the winner in eight of those nine close elections: Albemarle County and Harrisonburg City, both near Charlottesville; Henrico County, in the Richmond suburbs; Northern Virginia’s Loudoun County; Northampton County, on the eastern shore; and Sussex County, south of Richmond.

As a reminder, here is how Virginia’s results turned out in the 2016 Presidential race.  Hillary won the state by nearly 5.5 points with large victories in Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

Of course, in the end, tonight’s race will all come down to just how effective the Russians have been at manipulating the ignorant masses across Virginia who couldn’t possibly form their own opinion without some nefarious Facebook advertisements to tell them how to vote.

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