If You Can’t Win Virginia, You Can’t Win the Presidency

Former Virginia Trump chairman Corey Stewart issued this plea on social media yesterday:

A plea to the Trump campaign: Don’t pull out of Virginia. Thousands of dedicated volunteers have spent millions of hours knocking on doors, making phone calls and raising money for Mr. Trump over the past 15 months. Virginia is winnable. An aggressive ad campaign–in combination with the efforts of these volunteers–will produce results. Pulling out now would be a betrayal to these volunteers.

Trump’s response?  Withdrawing from Virginia entirely, via NBC News:

The decision came from Trump’s headquarters in New York and was announced on a conference call late Wednesday that left some Republican Party operatives in the state blindsided. Two staffers directly involved in the GOP’s efforts in Virginia confirmed the decision.

The move to pull out of Virginia shows Trump is “running essentially a four state campaign,” with the focus now shifting to battlegrounds critical to his chances in November: Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio, a source with knowledge of the decision told NBC News.

So here’s where we are, folks.  Virginia — mother of presidents and a state former Governor Bob McDonnell carried with 59% of the vote in 2009 has been turned into a blue state.

Not a battleground state.  Not even a red state that doesn’t have its act together… a blue state, with party leadership that actively seeks to push people out rather than draw them in.

Free markets, free speech, and a free society — that is the cornerstone of American conservatism.  We are a county that tears down walls, not one that builds them.  The American conservative movement has driven out ideologies from our camp once before.  We drove out the progressives and the America First movement in the 1940s.  We did it again with the John Birch Society in the 1960s.  We did it once again with the anarchists in the 1980s.  Every time we have purged the ranks of poison, we have emerged stronger, producing leadership such as Eisenhower, Goldwater, and Reagan.

It’s time to clean house.

If that language looks familiar to you, that’s because it is.

Those who aided, abetted, collaborated, the small Von Papenized faction of the party that assisted the Quislings more interested in titles, power, and personal gain… until we as grassroots conservatives grab them by the ear, blame them for the self-implosion of our once great party, and throw them out?

Expect more losses.  Expect further setbacks.  Expect permanent minority status in the marketplace of ideas.

Do your ideas deserve that?  Mine don’t.  My ideas — conservative ideas — deserve victory.

The problem is simple.  Democrats (as a good friend pointed out to me) have a vision of an ideal society that looks like Star Trek.  Republicans’ vision?  Looks like Fallout.

When we speak of enduring problems embedded within the Republican Party, this is the problem right here.

This is not a national problem either.  State by state, the Republican Party nationally builds itself.  This is a Virginian problem, and just as much as “God, guns, and gays” no longer carries the imaginations of Virginia conservatives anymore, and equally as “jobs, jobs, jobs” is such a vapid and meaningless conservatism (it worked precisely one time, folks) we have to move beyond ourselves and consider a vision of conservative governance that (a) is a majority of Virginians (b) that moves the ball down the field (c) in a 20 year fight that (d) is deeply pre-occupied with giving every Virginian a fighting chance — not a predetermined outcome.

Because this?  This is the new reality that we have to work backwards from:


But where is that countervailing vision today?  How are we appealing to the Golden Crescent from Washington to Richmond to Hampton Roads?  Who is offering it?  When the cash stragglers and intellectual pickpockets come marching in, are do we rally around our own ideas?  Or are we content to settle for 140 character witticism?

Fact of the matter is, we don’t deserve the Bob McDonnells and George Allens of the world, and we won’t until we start figuring it out at an activist level.   Which means leadership needs to start doing something they are terribly uncomfortable doing — actually lead, not on ideas, but on harmonizing the disparate camps of the party without an eye towards advantage.

Do you see leaders like that in Virginia right now?

If not, why not?  The short answer is… because you, dear reader, have not demanded them with the same vehemence as the enemies of liberty have demanded their values.

Quite honestly, we are at a breaking point with our institutions as a party.  If the Republican Party of Virginia is too sclerotic, if the Republican leadership is too recalcitrant to actually represent conservative values in the public square, perhaps it is time for a grassroots third force — not a third party — to represent movement conservatism again.

Maybe so folks… maybe so.

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