The path to victory lies in unity. As many may know about me, I was a huge Bill Bolling supporter. I still personally like him, and thank him for his numerous years of service to the Commonwealth, and to our party.
“Unity is vision; it must have been part of the process of learning to see.” (Henry Adams).
Like many in Virginia’s political circle, I was angry and upset when Bolling dropped out of the governor’s race. As a moderate republican, I was concerned that the opportunity to discuss the future of our party, after a terrible defeat in 2012, would not occur. I was horrified that our party was about to move forward into another general election without resolving some of the party divisions that had plagued us throughout the entire 2012 cycle.
There are some major rifts within our party that are in desperate need of repairing. However, now is not the time to be doing so. This discussion will take place, and once it does, we can hopefully begin to build the party again and ensure Virginia remains a solidly red state of economic success and a champion of freedom. However, the time for that discussion is November 6. Once we have ensured victory, then is when we discuss the future of our party. That discussion will be played out nationwide in next year’s primaries, as we battle to take back the Senate and keep our majority in the House. Now is the time to put aside petty differences, and ensure the continued prosperity of both our Commonwealth and party.
I am calling on all sides of our party to unite and fight this year, so that when the time comes to have this discussion, we can emerge on the other side, still a relevant force in the debate. I call on my fellow moderate republicans. Now is the time to put aside our anger. Ken Cuccinelli, E.W Jackson and Mark Obenshain need us to rally and support them, and to do so wholeheartedly. We can’t sit out this election and allow Terry to win. If you believe in any of the values of freedom, limited government, sensible education reforms, a robust economy or strong 2nd Amendment protections that you have been working hard to protect for so many years, then, like me, you will find that not only is Ken Cuccinelli the right candidate for you, but he is an outstanding defender of all those basic principles we hold dear.
I also call on the strong conservative base as well. Ken is the candidate you worked so tirelessly for in order to ensure his nomination. He is the attorney general who has worked to ensure the federal government stays out of your lives and doesn’t infringe on the sovereignty of our Commonwealth. Now is not the time to be protesting other republican officials. Now is not the time to lose sight of the goal. Now is the time to pour your heart into campaigning for our ticket, and ensuring that we achieve victory. Do not give the media any excuse to cast our party in a negative light. As was clearly demonstrated in 2012, there is a huge bias in the media against our conservative principles. Do not allow us to appear divided. Do not allow us to appear weak. The eyes of the nation are on us in Virginia.
The time to set aside labels such as moderate, conservative, establishment and tea party has come. The time to be the Republican Party is here. Whether your preferred candidate won the nomination or not, is of little importance. The time to discuss the direction of our party is coming in just a few short months. For now though, it is time to work tirelessly for Cuccinelli, Jackson and Obenshain. It is time to remind the voters of Virginia that we are indeed the big tent party, and that they are most welcome to join with us.
Alec Thomas is lifelong Republican who has worked on several GOP campaigns earning his M.A. in Public Policy at Liberty University. He lives in Richmond, Virginia.