The Republican Party squandered its 2016 majority and failed to make a compelling case to voters.
Results are in for local elections in Virginia, Kentucky, and Mississippi, and the trend is not looking good for Republicans. Democrats continue to make gains after the “blue wave” last year, and took control of the Virginia Senate and House for the first time in more than two decades. In one northern Virginia race, a candidate openly calling himself a Democratic Socialist won a seat in the Virginia Assembly.
Back in 2016 and 2017, Democrats were dismayed as it looked like they couldn’t win any important races. Republicans and conservatives controlled every branch of the Federal Government, but failed to accomplish even their most basic campaign promise of repealing Obamacare. We got one tax cut, which while nice, hardly makes up for squandering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Unlike Hillary Clinton, who blames everyone and everything but herself for losing to Donald Trump in 2016, Republicans should look inward and re-evaluate their messaging and electoral strategy. Politics is a game of addition, not subtraction. Republicans and conservatives are constantly harping on how radical and out of touch Democrats are–but then why are the Democrats winning?
The Democratic brand in Virginia should be severely damaged. A yearbook picture of Democratic Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, was found where he was either wearing a KKK outfit or blackface, and he’s on tape on a radio show basically supporting infanticide. His lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, has been accused multiple times of sexual assault. Neither man has offered to resign. If Republicans can’t make gains against the Democrats in Virginia with leadership like that, they only have themselves to blame.
The GOP and its allies failed to deploy adequate funding to support local races. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s gun-control lobbying group poured $2.5 million into Democratic coffers in Virginia, while the NRA spent $300,000. In the run-up to the election, mailers for Democratic candidates outnumbered Republican mailers by 10 to 1.
I worked the polls in northern Virginia yesterday morning and saw how organized the Democrats were in their get-out-the-vote effort. Elections are won locally by pounding on doors, making phone calls, and getting your supporters to the polls.
Democrats are fired up and tired of losing. I’ve never seen anything like this concerted effort between Democratic Party activists, millionaire donors, and the news media to take down their political opponents, and Republicans will be blindsided in 2020 if they don’t fix their broken party.
Political pundits will predictably call these races a referendum on President Trump, and maybe it was to some extent, but President Trump wasn’t on the ballot. Republican candidates failed to make a compelling case to voters, and they were beaten on the pavement, plain and simple. Maybe it will take a blowout like the 1934 mid-term elections for the GOP to get its act together, but right now they seem to be just twisting in the wind.