Sports and Politics

As most of the folks reading this know, I’m a huge fan of the Chicago Cubs, and it dawned on me that being a fan of the (formerly) beleaguered franchise isn’t much different than being a Republican in Virginia (or sometimes in general) nowadays.

We’re seemingly beset with our own political Curse of the Billy Goat here in Virginia. Our refrain every November is, “Wait ’til next year!” Granted, we Cubs fans got used to saying this phrase by May up until 2016.

Indeed, statewide victory in Virginia has eluded Republican candidates since 2009, and the Old Dominion hasn’t gone red in a presidential cycle since 2004. Sure, this isn’t quite the 108-year drought that the Cubs endured, but maybe we’ll get there if we keep trying. All we’re missing at this point is a political version of Steve Bartman.

Yes, Virginia, we’ve just become accustomed to losing. Like fans of a bad team, we keep showing up knowing we’ll just be disappointed. Each year, we shrug and shake our heads. We blame “NOVA,” “voter fraud,” and “the media.” One particularly tired excuse is “the map.”

Democrats just got done handing Republicans losses on an unprecedented scale in Senate and House Districts across the Commonwealth. Governor Ralph Northam won Virginia Beach by 5% just a year after Trump carried it by a similar margin. The only upside in this is that the Democrats destroyed their own talking points about “Republican gerrymandering” in the process. What more evidence do we need that blaming geography is lazy and nonsensical?

In short, it’s time for new blood and new thinking. It’s time for us to step up, Young Republicans/College Republicans.

Let’s look to sports for another example. NFL teams address many of their issues through the Draft, MLB teams have learned that they can achieve sustained success by building their farm systems and bringing prospects up at the right time.

The plain truth is that this party, on any level, will not change direction unless we start taking leadership roles, particularly in struggling local units. The “old guard” won’t like that much, as evidenced by the sleazy tactics employed by Tom Cherry, chairman of the nearly defunct Norfolk GOP, against Cole Trower.

This approach may seem unnecessarily confrontational to some, but what other options do we have as Republicans who actually want to win elections?

To some, it’s simpler to leave the party and/or check out of politics entirely. That’s their prerogative. I, however, would prefer to stick around and make an effort to right the ship. It won’t happen overnight, but neither did the undesirable turn that the GOP has taken.