Cleaning House at RPV

Over the snowy weekend, there was an opinion column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch bemoaning the current state of the Republican Party of Virginia.

Former Republican Congressional Committee counsel Sophia Nelson did an excellent job of pointing out the high points of Virginia Republican leadership starting with the great George Allen. But, she also shows how the mighty have fallen. We went from nominating political giants like Bob McDonnell and George Allen to political neophytes like Corey Stewart.

However, Ms. Nelson was a little too blasé on one of her points that needs to be further emphasized:

“(3) The Virginia GOP must clean house of any and all remnants of white nationalism, like that espoused by Corey Stewart. He is an infection on the state party, just as Trump is on the national party.”

Clean house? Of course, we need to clean house at the Republican Party of Virginia. But she does not emphasize enough why they need to go, nor does she specifically call people out. It’s easy to call people out from the sidelines, but get in the trenches and tell me what it’s like to call people out.

Virginia Republicans need a house cleaning, but not just with the white nationalists. We need to throw out the grifters, the religious extremists, and the alt-right members of RPV’s State Central Committee and in the local GOP unit committees.  There are plenty of these people who are alarming voters of the Commonwealth with their extremist views and poor electoral strategy.

Let’s start with the grifters. They are usually the political consultants for fringe candidates, or they run a PAC, or they run some political outfit where the sole goal is to make themselves richer. There are plenty of them on the State Central Committee as well as in the unit committees and in smaller roles of party leadership. They run the same fringe candidates over and over, no matter if those candidates continue to lose, but as long as they write the “consultants” a check, the consultants will continue to tell the candidates to run so they can make a quick buck.

Religious extremists are the other problem the Republican Party of Virginia faces. I consider myself a good Christian. I go to church, attend our young adult Bible study, volunteer in my church, and give to the church. When I say the term religious extremist, I am not talking about the normal rank and file Republican who goes to church every Sunday. I am talking about the folks who think it is their mission from God (and not the fun kind of mission with John Belushi and blues music) to completely eliminate other religions from political life. These people exist, and they sit in positions of leadership in the party.

In politics I have good friends who are Trump supporters. Sixth District Chairwoman Jennifer Brown, 9th District GOP staple Jack Morgan, and others are good Republicans who genuinely like Trump. It’s not people like them that I have a problem with. Most Trump voters are not the problem; most Trump voters bring energy and volunteers to the party that we need. While Trump is not the ideal President, he brings a host of enthusiastic volunteers that the party needs for our down-ticket candidates.

There is a problem with the Freddy Burgoses and Jason Kesslers of the world, the people who believe that others are inferior to them for the sole reason of race or religion, and whose political views take us back to the past. So, what must we do to rid the Republican Party of these people?

First, we must oppose them at every turn. If they run for the GOP unit committee Secretary, we have to find another candidate to oppose them. If they run for State Central Committee, we definitely have to find a candidate to oppose them. Leadership elections will be occurring all throughout 2019 and especially into 2020.

Second, moderate Republicans have to organize our own groups that will fight for our values in the party. Much like the Suburban Virginia Republican Coalition in Northern Virginia, Republicans need to mobilize voters with groups. More of these groups need to be established across the state.

Also, what kind of candidates do we run for these party positions? The sensible main street Republicans need to run moderates with a real-life backstory, someone who is experienced in their careers and lives to be able to know what the average voter has been through.

While Ms. Nelson is correct in her assessment of the Republican Party of Virginia, there is more to the story, and more work to be done.