elephant

How do you know when you’ve gone too far? Here’s one clue: You get called out for bad behavior by Corey Stewart.

Stewart — a Republican candidate for Senate who has hung out with alt-right leaders, glorifies the Confederacy, rails against political correctness, and promises to wage a “vicious” campaign against Tim Kaine — recently blew the whistle on Mark Kevin Lloyd, an aide to one of his primary opponents. Lloyd has made several social-media posts describing women as “b####es,” or variations thereon. It’s ugly stuff.

Lloyd posted the comments before he signed on as a field organizer for Del. Nick Freitas. Freitas says he doesn’t have time to read through the social-media history of everybody he hires, and he’s probably right. That doesn’t render him incapable of taking action once something is brought to his attention.

This isn’t the first time the Virginia GOP has been embarrassed like this. One district leader in Northern Virginia gained notoriety when he called Islam a “death cult created by Satan.” A Mecklenberg Republican committee leader thought it would be funny to post pictures of Barack Obama dressed as a witch doctor and a caveman. There have been other instances as well; former governor George Allen lost an election in no small part because of his use of an obscure racial slur.

Episodes like these — to say nothing about those at the national level, such as campaign-rally chants of “Trump that b####!” and the recent departure of two White House aides over allegations of domestic violence — reinforce the perception of the GOP as intolerant, bigoted, and misogynistic. Virginia Republicans can’t do anything about what goes on at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But they are fully capable of cleaning their own house. The longer they put off doing so, the more elections they will lose — and deserve to.

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