Virginia GOP’s Embarrassing Inquisition – WSJ

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Dr. Larry J. Sabato, founder and director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, in 2016.



Photo:

Andrew Shurtleff/Associated Press

It’s election season in Virginia, where Republicans have been hemorrhaging support for more than a decade but have a shot at winning the governorship in November. What’s the state GOP up to? Tattling to the University of Virginia about a liberal professor’s anti-

Donald Trump

tweets.

Last Thursday the Virginia Republican Party chairman sent a letter to the state university’s president declaring that “

Dr. Larry J. Sabato,

founder and director of UVa’s Center for Politics, has been engaging in behavior that appears to violate UVa’s Mission Statement, the Center for Politics Mission Statement, and UVa’s Code of Ethics for Faculty and Staff.”

The letter lists eight tweets Mr. Sabato sent over the last year—mostly typical Democratic invective, such as, “Trump, who governed on the edge of insanity for four long years, has gone over the edge. Yet millions of people and 90%+ of GOP members of Congress, still genuflect before this false god.”

The Virginia GOP wants an “investigation” into whether Mr. Sabato’s “public display of bitter partisanship” broke the rules. But public university administrators, as state actors, can’t lawfully punish students or faculty for First Amendment expression.

Some conservatives want to deploy progressive silencing tactics for their own ends. Good luck achieving that in the liberal university. Inviting bureaucrats to exercise more control over political speech on campus will further cement liberal dominance.

Republicans have every right to use the political process to discourage critical race theory in K-12 public-school curricula. That’s a very different project from trying to cow university professors who criticize a President.

The irony of this attack on Mr. Sabato is that academia’s progressive excesses are a political gift to Republicans. Yet the Virginia GOP has managed to make itself the cancel-culture aggressor ahead of an election, and on behalf of an ex-President who lost the state twice.

Main Street: America’s top public high school, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, shows us what discrimination looks like today. Images: Coalition for TJ Composite: Mark Kelly

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