Republican Problems in Virginia

by Shaun Kenney

There was an angrier version of this analysis I had prepared. One that placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of those who would have reaped the rewards had Tuesday gone differently.

I’m not going to do that.

… because there’s a bigger problem in front of us.

Virginia Democrats have a lot more strength than Virginia Republicans care to consider, and it will take all of us — all of us — and not just some of us to put up a resistance in 2024 and 2025.

I don’t know what it will require to fix it. Yet I think many Republicans are tired of being used for temporary gain only to watch the Democrats run circles around us as they invest in the necessary ecosystem — activists, news outlets, think tanks, polling firms — to capture hearts and minds. Republicans are a consultancy-driven party; Democrats are built around coalitions. With differing definitions of success and reward, victory comes much more cheaply for Republicans than for Democrats.

When it comes, that is.

The Democrats can point back to 20 years of progress. Can we name a single Republican victory in Virginia on a policy issue of note over the last 20 years? That we were proud to run on and champion in front of voters?

I think most of us were just expecting more from the word victory rather than “came close!” or “but we kept the Democrats out of power!” or “gee — can’t wait until I land the next job at <insert lobbying interest here>  in two years!” Certainly the Allen administration did not operate this way. Surely the Gilmore administration never functioned this way.

Just a tiny bit frustrated, as I’m sure we all are. But I’m right and you know it.

Here’s hoping for lessons learned moving into 2024 and 2025.

Shaun Kenney is senior editor of The Republican Standard, where this column first appeared. It is published with permission.