What We in the Virginia Republican “Establishment” Must Do
Tuesday night the unthinkable happened. A narcissistic, misogynist, nativist became the Republican Party nominee. Yes, you know who I’m referring to. It’s the nightmare scenario that everyone was worried about and now we must live with this disaster (well, at least until he loses in November).
While I’m at that point, Let me make myself clear. Donald Trump WILL (PROBABLY) NOT be elected President.
Now you can cry, stomp your feet, poop your diaper, whatever. You cannot, I repeat, cannot turn around a 63% disapproval rating average. Don’t even get me started on how unfavorably he is viewed by key demographics in a general election such as women, Hispanics, and millennials. If Ronald Reagan became his running mate and Hillary Clinton was in jail, Mr. Trump would still probably lose.
That’s not to say I am taking a position in opposition to Trump. My position is best described as “meh” with a shoulder shrug. Who knows, maybe he could sprinkle pixie dust and get elected. However, that’s highly unlikely. The general public thinks of Trump and hears that catchphrase that LBJ gave to Barry Goldwater. “In your guts, you know he’s nuts!”
However, my point is that we as common sense (or “establishment”) Virginia Republicans are flabbergasted and horrified. For a point of clarification, this group of the “establishment” contains two sub factions that work together in a very peaceful harmony. First is the “Old Guard Establishment.” These are the folks that my friend Brian Schoeneman so expertly referred to as “the boogeymen throughout the 7th District who scare children into eating their peas.” The old guard that has been there for George Allen, Jim Gilmore, Ollie North, John Warner etc. The second subgroup is the Millenials. It’s true there are some (but a very small number of millenials) who are in the far right, but for the most part the millennials work well with the “Old Guard.” These people are the movers and shakers of the Republican Party. The “Old Guard” includes the people who write the checks and have made politics their jobs for a long period of time. The young people (myself included) staff the campaigns, knock the doors, make the phone calls, wave the signs at rallies, and provide a hope that one day we will be the “Old Guard Establishment.”
I feel like I have some authority about this. I consider myself one of the millenials in the Virginia Republican “Establishment.” Whatever insult you have ready for me, frankly I don’t care. All of you getting ready to insult me with some snarky comment are just an armchair quarterback in politics who never do anything but complain about those of us who do.
Anyway, I digress. We in the Virginia Republican “Establishment” have got to save a little face. The time to forget Donald Trump ever happened is now. GO PICK A 2017 CANDIDATE AND WORK YOUR HEART OUT FOR THEM.
I have a proposition to my friends in the party who, like me, don’t want to give up our position in the party by going #NeverTrump, but at the same time are mortified at this party’s decision to nominate a narcissistic egomaniac. Let’s forget 2016 and go work for a solid candidate for next year.
Look, why waste our time and our energy on a losing candidate? There’s no point. However, Ed Gillespie holds a double-digit lead over Ralph Northam. All three current republican Lieutenant Governor candidates are great conservatives with solid records. Rob Bell and John Adams are both strong conservative AG candidates. All the people I just mentioned have winning messages that represent the antonym of this nativist conservatism being spread by Donald Trump.
Take all the time that you would pour into a presidential candidate and go pour it into a 2017 candidate. Trust me, your 2017 candidates need to be prepared. They need help more than Trump will. These candidates – especially people like Reeves, Vogel, Davis, and Adams – bring fresh new blood to the statewide races. These candidates show that there will be a Republican Party after the implosion that I expect will occur in November.
On a personal level, I am going to take all the time I would have put into a presidential campaign to help Ed Gillespie and Jill Vogel. Both are solid conservatives with solid records. However, if you pick another candidate than I do, that’s fine. I just want our time being used for good.
Our party made what could possibly be the biggest mistake in it’s history. There’s no reason why we have to help that mistake lose a presidential campaign.