Virginia is not a deep blue state; we are a red state that just can’t get its act together… and if we intend to preserve the things that make us Virginians, we’d better get our act together ASAP.
Let’s put the election results in context. In the post-war era, midterm elections typically shift 35 seats in the U.S. House towards the party that doesn’t have the White House. As of this writing, it appears as if the Democrats will achieve mediocrity and obtain a 10+ seat majority.
In the opposite chamber, Republicans stand to solidify an already strong majority in a chamber with 49 Republicans who identify as pro-life — which means that the U.S. Senate will not only continue to appoint conservative justices over the next two years, but should Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg go home to God? The next U.S. Supreme Court nominee will have an easier time than Justice Brett Kavanaugh — with four Democrats (so far) going down hard as a result of their opposition to a well-qualified nominee.
NBC’s Chuck Todd wisely has observed that there are no signature wins for the Democrats during the 2018 midterms. CNN’s Jake Tapper confirmed suspicions early that the results were no “blue wave” by any stretch.
What should concern Democrats in the long run is that for the next two years, Republicans will have Speaker Nancy Pelosi to define themselves against. If the promises of over a hundred investigations are any harbinger of what is to come? Do not expect a Democratic-controlled U.S. House to govern… expect it to engage in politics in an effort to recapture control of Washington.
Yet in seats such as VA-02, VA-07, and VA-10? All three Democrats will have to walk the tightrope in Republican districts where both the national narrative and the progressive base will demand concessions their constituencies may not be ready to give.
So here is the gambit.
(1) Virginia Republicans need to determine whether or not a majority in Richmond is worth fighting for. There are 51 delegates and 21 state senators who will all be under attack. Every dime spent attacking one another is a dime that could be spent taking back one of the 15 HOD seats we lost in 2017.
(2) If it is worth fighting for, then we need to set down the intramural fights for another day. It’s not that Medicaid expansion isn’t worth fighting for — it’s that the fight is done. We are no longer in a contest over policy issues, but rather whether the Democrats will succeed in transforming Virginia into a northeastern liberal state.
(3) Your local committee needs desperate help. Don’t worry about RPV. Don’t even worry about your unit chairman — get a cup of coffee with 20 of your closest friends and start assigning precincts. We can outwork the left; we just have to do it.
(4) Consider becoming a monthly donor to the Republican Party of Virginia. Look, $10/mo is a hell of a lot cheaper than socialism, isn’t it? Click here and just do it. With 10,000 Republicans, the state party would be funded to the tune of $1.2 million dollars. That would increase the pie of Republican state campaign dollars by about 20% if we had those resources available by 2019, folks…
(5) Quit condescending to rural Virginia; start recognizing what Northern Virginia brings. Former Delegate David Ramadan recommended men such as Linwood Holton (Big Stone Gap), Caldwell Butler (Roanoke), and John Dalton (Emporia) as leaders we should emulate — all of them from rural Virginia, one might add. In contrast, business leaders in Northern Virginia want good schools, good roads, and an excellent business environment. Fairfax and Hampton Roads are set to become international hubs for technology and trade; rural Virginians just want to make sure our investments work for all of us — not just for the same handful of people in cubicles in northern Virginia who sold out coal and manufacturing jobs to places such as China. It’s not hard; it just requires some listening, is all.
Should we lose our Republican majorities? Does anyone truly think the Democrats will surrender it lightly? Or redistrict Republicans into oblivion (as they nearly did after redrawing the lines in 1990)?
The bottom line is that it is going to take all of us, not just half of us. Want to know the reason why Republicans have lost statewide elections since 2009? McDonnell and Bolling and Cuccinelli gave us both lungs. It was only when we chose to run with half set of lungs and get the pendulum rocking that Democrats saw their chance and punished us for our own hubris.
Majorities aren’t bequeathed, they are earned. While Republicans are famous for their infighting in Virginia, at some point we have to ask ourselves where rock bottom is. Was it in 2013 with Cuccinelli? 2016 when Clinton carried Virginia? 2017 when Northam rocked Gillespie and knocked off 15 delegates? 2018 when we lose three congressional seats and a golden opportunity to knock off Tim Kaine?
…or does the altar of our own hubris require the sacrifice of the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates as well?
Look at your children and grandchildren, folks. Whatever answer you develop, it had better be sufficient in their eyes should we fail.