Jackson Miller’s Ironic Umbrage

According to Potomac Local, Delegate Jackson Miller (R-Manassas) and his supporters have taken umbrage at a personal Facebook post of Prince William County Democratic Committee (PWCDC) Chair, Harry Wiggins. In the post Wiggins writes, “Trump and Jackson Miller two unqualified bigots and white supremacists.” In response to questioning from Potomac Local, Wiggins said that his Facebook post was based on Jackson Miller’s repeated votes in support of voter identification and disenfranchisement laws that disproportionately and adversely affect minorities, and that amount to institutionalized voter suppression.

During his tenure Jackson Miller has indeed been a significant force in such efforts. He has strongly opposed the restoration of voting rights for felons who have served their time and made restitution. Virginia, in fact, has one of the worst records in the United States in that regard, being one of only four states with a constitutional prohibition. This unusually restrictive approach is a legacy of lawmaking and prosecutorial practices that were consciously designed and implemented during the era of Jim Crow to prevent blacks from voting. Miller and a number of his fellow lawmakers in the General Assembly have consistently sought to preserve such discriminatory policies from the Jim Crow era.

Additionally, as a high-ranking member of the Republican Caucus in the House of Delegates, Miller has played a role in the controversial gerrymandering of both U.S. House of Representative and House of Delegate seats in Virginia. The courts have ruled that Republicans engaged in illegal racial gerrymandering when drawing the districts for the House of Representatives, and challenges to the House of Delegates districts are still working their way through the legal system.

Furthermore, as Vice Chair of the Privileges and Elections Committee in the House of Delegates, Miller has consistently opposed bipartisan attempts to implement nonpartisan redistricting in Virginia. In fact, during the 2017 session he voted against two bipartisan redistricting bills passed by the Republican-controlled Virginia Senate (SJ 231 and SJ 290), causing both to die in committee.

Even before becoming chair of the PWCDC, Harry Wiggins was a long-time critic of some local Democratic candidates who he believes play by a different set of rules than Republicans and thus campaign with one hand tied behind their backs. Since Republicans in local elections often and repeatedly launch personal smear campaigns and issue false statements about their opponents, Democrats, he has argued, should at least be willing to call Republicans out for the differences between what they say in the community and what they then do in the General Assembly, on the Board of Supervisors, or on School Board. This is particularly the case when it comes to hypocrisy about voter suppression and civil rights, where some delegates have a history of saying one thing in front of constituents and then doing something else when in Richmond.

Miller and his supporters responded to Wiggins’ comments (we say “Miller and his supporters” because the quote from Jackson Miller in Potomac Local refers to Miller in both the first and third persons, which seems, well . . . weird, so we’re not sure if it’s Miller talking about himself in the third person or someone else). “Yes, I’ve seen Harry Wiggins’ disgusting Facebook post. My hope was that the media would not report on his shameless political stunt. Mr. Wiggins is getting exactly what he wanted. He is a seasoned politician who now has the media reporting his false accusations. Instead of our campaign talking about how important the Clerk of the Circuit Court is to our community, we are now defending ourselves against his baseless and false narrative. Any unbiased account clearly shows that Jackson Miller is more qualified for this position than his opponent. Creating fake news and attacking his character is the Democrats’ best chance of winning.”

Apparently unsatisfied with his position as Republican Majority Whip in the Virginia House of Delegates, Jackson Miller is running for the Prince William Clerk of the Circuit Court position in a special election against popular Democrat, Jacqueline Smith.

In this context, there is a quite a bit of irony in Jackson Miller’s umbrage. Residents may remember that during his first run for elected office, Republican Delegate Rich Anderson ran multiple mailers and television commercials falsely asserting that his opponent, then Delegate Paul Nichols, was guilty of a DUI infraction. Of course, the truth was that Paul Nichols not only was not driving the car involved, Nichols wasn’t even in the car involved. Instead, a friend in another car was pulled over and Nichols got out, as his lawyer, to assist him. Not only were charges dropped against Nichols, but the officer involved was ultimately disciplined. Rich Anderson was aware of all this, but nevertheless went forward with the mailers and television commercials insinuating that Paul Nichols had been arrested for DUI – it was a disgraceful tactic that the prior Republican candidate against Nichols, Faisel Gill, had refused to employ. In his materials Anderson even went so far as to publicly disseminate Nichols’ social security number.

At that time Delegate Jackson Miller was fond of boasting about how Paul Nichols was one of his very best friends. Miller often used the friendship as evidence of his bipartisanship. Understandably, when faced with the false ads by Rich Anderson, then Delegate Nichols contacted his friend, Delegate Jackson Miller, requesting that he speak out about how Anderson’s mailers and ads were untruthful. Miller responded to Nichols by saying that he could not do so because it would “anger my base.” Nichols’ campaign staff at the time thought it was a particularly cowardly move by Miller, given that he was in a district that was overwhelmingly Republican and which Miller thus stood virtually no chance of losing.

The rest is history. Thanks to his false smear campaign, and Miller’s reticence, Anderson unseated Nichols by a very slim margin and then with Miller’s help proceeded to redistrict himself into an overwhelmingly Republican seat.

In the meantime, both Anderson and Miller have gone on to take particularly vicious stances on illegal immigration and LGBTQ rights, and work diligently to gerrymander districts and pursue voter measures that disproportionately and adversely affect minority voters.

Now that’s something that should generate umbrage.


2 comments on “Jackson Miller’s Ironic Umbrage

  1. -

    I don’t think Jackson Miller, regardless of how repugnant I find many of his political positions, is a white Supremacist. That kind of hyperbole undercuts some of the real issues I have with Jackson.

    His vitriolic stance on whom he perceived to be illegal immigrants has certainly been questionable. His hard-line stance on voting rights, especially for felons who have served their time shows a lack of empathy and a certain vindictiveness. His bullying tactics to those he politically disagrees with is well-known in the community.

    Harry needs to think before he speaks. He creates situations that are difficult to defend for those of us who support Democratic candidates.

  2. -

    Raven is right. In my opinion Miller’s actions have been bigoted but there’s no way to figure out what’s in his head so better off to just cite the actions. Unless someone uses the N word, you’re not allowed to call them a bigot. Conservative political correctness, maybe, but it’s reality now.

    It would have been nice, however, if some of the community blowhards on Facebook had spoken out against name calling and smears in the past when people their friends and people they supported were doing it.

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