The first Republican president famously quipped “A house divided against itself cannot stand”.
Abraham Lincoln shared those judicious words, that still ring true today as he accepted the party’s nomination as a candidate for Senate from Illinois. The notion of a house divided has at some point plagued all organizations, causing many to fall.
The ones that ultimately survive identify their division and crush it with haste.
Today, the Republican Party finds itself on the precipice of such crippling division, as we frivolously assign each other to groups, such as RINOs vs Never Trumpers vs Establishment vs true conservatives vs who we will support at our May 8th Convention.
The Republican Party is at the stage of determining its survival, by either crushing this division or falling victim to its cancerous inculcation.
With the Governor’s Mansion, the offices of Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and all 100 House of Delegates seats on the line, the stakes could not be higher for Virginia Republicans. Being right on the issues, prudent on policy and effectively communicating those positions are all aspects of campaign victories. But, being united on those aspects, in a growing and increasingly diverse Commonwealth will prove to be of great value for Republican victories statewide. Coming out of a national election, where the national division resembles that of our darkest days, the imperative for Republican victories rests on our internal unity. A unity that can be dispatched as a model that transcends voting blocs.
As we’ve heard from recent dialogue between Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and her colleagues, the Democrat Party is suffering from its own division. Through her threats to abandon the Party, even Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — the darling of “Democratic-Socialism” — publicly decries the Democrat’s current identity crisis. Where Republicans could exploit the left’s self-hate, we are incapable of doing so, as we stare down our own crippling disunity.
In this precarious season, working families, small businesses, and those affected by COVID-19 long for leadership and a government that represent their best interests. The current disunity on both sides creates a gaping void of sensible governance, one that through a unified Republican Party, could easily be filled by conservative leaders who advance conservative values.
In their monumental task to create what has become the greatest nation the world has ever known, the Founding Fathers most certainly experienced disunity. With a diverse group of backgrounds, as planters, lawyers, and bankers coming together, the Founders had to overcome near irreconcilable differences. But judging by our nation’s well-placed longevity and well-earned successes, we clearly know such unity to be well within the realm of possibility.
The Founders triumphed in their feat to build a nation, and Virginia’s Republicans can accomplish similar feats for our Commonwealth, such as winning statewide office, something we have not done since 2009.
The focus on unity as the path forward does not mean a total abdication of intra-conservative ideologies. Diversity of thought is a principle we as Republicans will always believe in. But we must highlight and endeavor in the concepts we find concurrence in.
Our differences as a Party pale greatly in comparison to the destructive path the extreme left wants to put us on. As we exert our efforts, on a unified front, we pay exponential credence to the integral commonalities of conservatism, like limited government and low taxes; belief in life from the womb to the tomb; support for law enforcement and the military; the advancement of free enterprise; and religious liberty.
By clinging to the concepts that unify us, we can usher in the permanent cessation of our existential disunity, advance our values into the community of diverse voters we will rely upon to win, and in the words of our state party chairman, united Virginia Republicans can start to fight and win again.
TIM PARRISH is the chairman of the Prince William County Republican Committee.