In Extreme Cases, Add in a Fake Libertarian Funded by an Obama Bundler
The left-wing of the Democratic Party may have scored a win yesterday by winning the Virginia gubernatorial campaign. We now know the script for defeating conservatives has not changed. If Virginia is a the formula for defeating conservatives, it is going to cost the establishment a whole lot of money and political capital.
Ken Cuccinelli ran an honorable campaign based on ideas, Terry McAuliffe came out swinging months ago with mudslinging. Despite what you’ll hear the next few days, McAuliffe made this campaign about social issues, not Cuccinelli. The Democrats outspent the Republicans by 10 to 1. A fake Libertarian candidate funded by an Obama bundler was thrown in the mix. Despite all this, and more, Cuccinelli still managed to generate some impressive numbers. McAuliffe won with just a 2.1% margin.
During a twenty year RNC reunion a few weeks ago, we were reminded by former RNC Chairman Haley Barbour of a simple rule of politics: political parties exist for one purpose, to win elections. This is something the Virginia GOP needs to take to heart. Fast.
Forget the intrigue of what wing of the party people are from or who supported who and when. Technology is a tool, not a strategy. For once, forget party labels (there are Democrats and Independents who want to vote for a good candidate, even with an R after the name). Grassroots works, if your start early and implement it often and over the long haul. As the McAuliffe and the Democratic Party of Virginia did (and they have the same internal problems we have), the Virginia GOP must singularly focus on one thing, winning.
The good news is that it takes a lot more money to defeat a Republican than it does a liberal Democrat. The Republican Party has a message that resonates with a wide-range and diverse set of voters. ObamaCare can be a foil to amplify the GOP message, if is done the right way and not simply as a battering ram used on Democrats (again, not all Democratic voters like the controversial health care plan). There are other issues too; however, focusing on the home team is a critical first step. Once the internal Virginia GOP house is in order, the rest can and will fall into place.
Congratulations to the Democratic Party and the McAuliffe operation. Whether you like it or not, now you need to represent the entire Commonwealth, not just your Democratic strongholds. Virginia remains a center-right state. Virginians do not want socialized medicine. We like coal, guns, and free markets. You’ll have to work with a Republican House of Delegates, a split Senate, as well as a Republican Attorney General, (if vote count holds) Mark Obenshain. Good luck. You’ll need it.
As for the Virginia GOP, focus on winning elections and keeping the dirty laundry and disagreements in house, the way the Democrats have been doing the past few years.