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Here’s how Comstock beat Bennett in purple Northern Virginia (Opinion Column, Washington Post)


By Stephen J. Farnsworth and Stephen Hanna

Opinion Column, Washington Post, December 4, 2016

Rep. Barbara Comstock, reelected on Nov. 8 in the battleground communities of the District’s western Virginia suburbs, really knows the 10th Congressional District.

With roughly 70 percent of the district’s voters residing in Fairfax and Loudoun counties, the first-term incumbent had to walk a careful line during this year of Donald Trump. For most of the campaign, Comstock neither broke with the Republican nominee nor sang his praises, hoping to avoid losing the support of both potential swing voters and Trump loyalists.

Without considerable approval among those in each group, Comstock might not have won the district, which four years ago had split 50 percent for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and 49 percent for President Obama. With its decidedly purple hue, both Democrats and Republicans recognized Virginia’s 10th as an unusually vulnerable seat in the nation’s highly gerrymandered Congress, where nearly every district was drawn to be either safely Democratic or safely Republican.

Link to rest of column

Experts Say Trump’s Words, Tweets May be Taken Literally, Whether He Likes It or Not (WJLA)


The specifics of the call or the tweets may matter less than the symbolism that Trump is bringing a different style of domestic and international governance to the White House.

“I think the main message that people in the U.S. and around the world are getting…is that there’s a new sheriff in town, or there will be on Jan. 20,” said Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and international affairs at the University of Mary Washington and author of “Spinner in Chief: How Presidents Sell Their Policies and Themselves.”

It may not be clear until weeks or months into Trump’s presidency just how much of what he is currently tweeting he means, but other world leaders may not have the patience or ability to wait and see.

“Everybody appreciates that presidential candidates exaggerate, say things that they may not mean, or that they will not be able to enact, but when you become to president-elect, things change completely,” Farnsworth said. “At that point, you’re going to be taken much more seriously, both by businesses in the U.S. and foreign leaders who might not have the luxury of dismissing what the president-elect of the United States has to say.”

Link to report