Ed Gillespie, the Republican running for governor of Virginia, seems to be surging in the polls as of late, with some showing him comfortably ahead of his Democratic opponent, Ralph Northam. Gillespie, according to Hot Air, has seized on three issues in order to pull off an upset win - sanctuary cities, restoring voting rights to felons (he is against it) and the war on statues. He has even cut an ad accusing his opponent of wanting to pull down “civil war monuments.” The left is reacting as if Gillespie had just done a goose step in public, which is likely all part of the plan.

Could the war on statues backfire?

As the gentle reader may recall, the war against the statues started with a push to pull down every image of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and company wherever they could be found.

The campaign spread to include monuments to such luminaries as Christopher Columbus, Teddy Roosevelt, and even Union heroes such as Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant. The controversy flared into violence when competing groups of extremists squared off in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Gillespie thinks he may have found a way to make the war on statues work to his advantage. He has polling data on his side. Roughly 57 percent of Virginians are opposed to pulling down statues. Those voters who are eager to get rid of the monuments are likely not going to pull the lever for a Republican anyway.

Statues ad triggers Democrats

The Democrats are, understandably, not pleased by Gillespie raising the monuments as an issue. Brian Fallon, Hillary’s former campaign spokesman, posted a tweet that suggested that the Republican candidate has joined the alt.right movement.

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However, if the Democrats go too far in hitting this theme, they run the risk of alienating voters who do not consider themselves to be neo-Nazis and yet agree with Gillespie on the statues issue.

What happens next?

As of this writing, just a little more than a week remains before the Virginia governor’s election. The Democrats have spent most of the campaign thinking they have this one in the bag. However, Gillespie’s last-minute surge is starting to spook them.

If Gillespie pulls an upset, mainly if it is based on cultural issues such as the statues, Democrats are going to be incandescent with rage. They could comfort themselves with the thought that Donald Trump’s victory was an anomaly. If Ed Gillespie beats them with the help of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, that view will have to be discarded. How did it come to this?