I’ve been thinking…

There is much to write about today, the day after Virginia went from purple to blue. It was not — as some would tell you — inevitable.

People frequently cite Northern Virginia’s demographic shift to the left, as if people are embedded with a political genetic code that predisposes them to vote either Republican or Democrat. Nonsense. People make choices based on the message given to them. And therein lies the challenge for Republicans going forward.

I am a conservative. My choice of party is based on whether or not that party pursues policies based on conservative principles. Period. For me, political campaigns are not about which candidate wins. It’s about which ideas win. And in the Republican Party — the party of my choice — we are in great disrepair here in Virginia and nationally because we have walked away from that winning approach of ideas.

We lost this most recent election battle because we have failed to win the battle of ideas. We allowed the cult of the personality—particularly in the selection of our US Senate candidate—to dominate our choices as opposed to standing for ideas that galvanize people to our policies and principles.

As a party, we have stopped thinking. We instead rail even as we fail. This must stop. We must reconnect with the winning formula of Ronald Reagan and advance compelling ideas based on conservative principles that win people to our way of thinking.

In other words, we need to do something that is radical: Demonstrate how conservatism helps your life.

I plan to write about this in the future. I also plan to address the challenges we have in selecting the right candidates to carry a message that rallies people to our ideas to make Virginia and America better.

A final thought. We did not lose the House or the Senate races in Virginia, as the media and liberals will say, because of President Trump. For them, blaming the President is a parlor game. Our defeat is rooted in a multiyear degradation of our approach to winning, governing, and improving the lives of all Virginians. We have fallen into identity politics and invective in the same way the Democrats have, traits liberals will not abandon in their pursuit to make American less free, less prosperous, and less a nation that embraces the principles of our founding. President Trump ran on a simple idea. Make America Great Again. It was a compelling idea after years of sloughing toward socialism. He wants to change that. Unfortunately, we have lost the House to far-left forces who will obstruct his agenda, making it doubly hard to implement. We must fight on.

But as we fight, we must commit ourselves to the battle of ideas, not personalities. The path to victory isn’t complicated. But it does require some hard choices.

First among them is a reconnection to conservative policies. We have to make clear to people in a manner that makes sense to them that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take everything you’ve got. We must also stand for strong families, vibrant small businesses, and constitutional governance. All of that will create an environment for a robust economy, greater opportunity, and more freedom. The reconnection to conservative policies will not happen overnight, but that it needs to happen is immutable. But words without action are useless. For that we need leadership.

This means we have to pick the best candidates to carry this message and take action, ones who are able to fashion a vision that truly illustrates how conservative values help your family, your work, your community, your freedom, yes, your life. We can’t do this talking down our opponents. We must do it by talking up our ideas.

In the days to come, I will be writing about both of these choices. And I hope that in resetting our approach to victory, what remains blue in Virginia are our splendid mountains and our enticing waters, not our politics.