The seven weeks between when the Democrats swept themselves into power in January 2020 and the Super Tuesday Democratic primary could be a novel of epic proportions. Twenty years of Republican leadership in Virginia dismantled and 400 years of Virginia tradition swept aside in a single stroke.
And for what?
If there were any reservations from those still squeamish about opposing the Democrats, the last three and a half years have been eye-opening to say the least. At the federal level, the personal destruction of Justice Brett Kavanaugh was on a level not seen since the Soviet pogroms of the 1930s.
In Virginia, not only did Michael Bloomberg and Michael Bills effectively purchase the Virginia General Assembly, but once in power the Democrats set to work attacking conscience protections, sweeping away four decades of pro-life legislation, attacking Virginia’s right-to-work statute, instituting a $15 minimum wage, and radically redefining the social welfare state as a central (and not peripheral) figure.
At the national level? Progressives are out; socialists are in. Anti-Semitism is not longer a byproduct of the isolated cranks on the fringes of the far-left. Bernie Sanders is proposing over $90 trillion in new spending to forgive student loans and free Medicare for all. Other Democrats on the ticket are desperately trying to out-socialize every facet of the American economy — even if by degrees.
The temptation from many on the right is to fight fire with fire, or at the very least pay the left back in their own coin. This would be a mistake of the highest order. While many respect President Trump as a man who speaks his mind and takes the left on point blank, this isn’t the same as paying the left back on their own coin — just returning fire.
The core of the conservative movement (and those who would call themselves “men of the right”) is a fusion between Burkean communitarian sensibilities and Paine’s aspirations for self-government and individual liberty. If we concede this core? Then it really does become this Hobbesian war of all-against-all, one in which the Democrats will continue to bank on the common sensibilities of conservatives to feed the Leviathan a little bit in the hopes that the socialists will not swarm us for the rest.
There is an old Reaganism on how to defeat the largess of government: freeze the numerator and grow the denominator. In short, freeze government spending and allow the economy to outpace the demands of the hoi polloi.
Yet the Fabian socialists the late William F. Buckley Jr. warned us about are everywhere, and it is easier today to slough off what would be traditional concerns reserved for family onto the government. The more we rely upon this artificial society, the weaker our true society becomes.
In Virginia, families built the fortunes of this commonwealth over the course of 400 years with a thicket of laws, traditions, and a basic understanding of who we were and how this little patch of paradise shaped our families and our communities. We started out on a peninsula; we expanded into the Tidewater and Piedmont at the expense of others and through the labor of the unwilling. We expanded to the mountains, fought a war to preserve the right to own a man for life only to watch it ebb into the right to own a man by the hour.
Virginians built a massive port at Hampton Roads, rebuilt the economy, established universities and hospitals and schools, and became a center of both banking and commerce. Yet our proximity to Washington and the easy modes of travel that came with the interstate highway system encouraged many to come here who were not Virginians — and in some instances, loathed our ways.
Suburbs replaced farms. New Jersey accents replaced Virginian ones. Townhomes replaced cities. Graduate degrees replaced tradesmen. Over the last 25 years, Virginia’s population has exploded from 6 million souls to 8.6 million souls where only half of those living in the commonwealth were actually born in Virginia.
That sort of demographic shift is going to cause turmoil, especially when northern ideas of government descend upon the Old Dominion.
Of course, the Democrats are deaf to this argument entirely. They have the majority; they are Virginia — and to the victor goes the spoils. In seven short weeks, they have successfully turned Virginia into South Jersey, only reinvented in their own 21st century image. Sure there has been some resistance, but nothing that five years of acclimation can’t overcome…
…and therein lies the danger. Unless Virginia Republicans can sort out their own infrastructure and rally around the flag? There is no hope of standing athwart history yelling stop. Trump may be one fraction of that argument in 2020, but the true test will come in our statewide races in 2021. Do we have the leadership necessary to unite against the socialist left? Can we do it in a way that speaks to our virtues rather than merely opposing their vices?
I don’t know. But it is going to be interesting finding out.