Virginia Republicans Need To Rethink the ‘Every District Gets a Candidate’ Idea
It is that time again, ladies and gentlemen. It’s time for the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) elections to decide what direction the party is going to take for the next four years. We have three candidates for RPV Chairman, two candidates for Republican National Committeewoman, and countless district-level positions.
There are many proposals that I hear coming from these candidates. One of them is a common message that I have heard since the devastating losses of the House of Delegates and the State Senate Republican majorities. The idea that is circulating through the Republican ranks is that we should run a Republican in every district and in every election.
Let’s pump the brakes for a minute and check the facts. This is an expensive endeavor that could cost us millions of dollars in necessary funds and waste thousands of hours of staff and volunteer time.
In the words of a wise old friend, “You cannot run Barry Goldwater in Arlington.”
I hate to admit to the Republicans in Arlington County or the City of Richmond but it could be a complete waste of Republican time and effort running a Republican there. If I could give advice to the Democratic Party of Virginia, I would say the same thing about running a Democrat in Washington County or Roanoke County. There is a phenomenon about the fact that the American voters now vote and live in similar areas to those who politically agree.
In a study about the 2016 election, NBC News analyzed a Pew Research poll about how people who vote the same way live in the same neighborhoods. Here’s what NBC News found:
“Consider a question from a recent Pew Research Center survey on the kind of community that people prefer to live in.
Among Republicans, 65% said they preferred to live in a community “where the houses are larger and farther apart, but schools, stores, and restaurants are several miles away.” Among conservative Republicans, 68% preferred that choice. That’s a vision of an ideal community that is more exurban or even rural in its nature.
But among Democrats, 61% said they preferred a community “where the houses are smaller and closer to each other, but schools, stores, and restaurants are within walking distance.” Among liberal Democrats, the figure was 69%. That’s a statement that is a pretty good proxy for an urban or dense suburban environment.”
Also, there are ENTIRE political studies and political junkies who have tabulated who wins the Cracker Barrel vs. Whole Foods vote.
Now, I get that some of you are scratching your head, thinking that Matt Colt Hall has had one too many glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon by trying to connect delicious Cracker Barrel pancakes and voting patterns, but seriously, look at the numbers.
According to research, Donald Trump won over two-thirds of the counties that had a Cracker Barrel inside the county.
Whole Foods vs. Cracker Barrel culture gap over time:
2016: 54% https://t.co/LzxqSEvSAf
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 9, 2016
There’s even more research on this here and here. There have been numbers crunched over and over and, folks, the verdict is in. Republicans do not live in certain areas, and Democrats don’t live in certain areas.
More importantly, let’s look at the money aspect of this argument. In just 2019, do you know how much money the House of Delegates and State Senate Republican candidates WASTED on running candidates in districts we had no chance of winning? I base this on districts where Republicans lost by more than 10 percentage points and it was a contested race.
State Senate Districts 6, 32, 33, and 39; Republicans who contested the elections lost by more than ten percentage points. Republicans spent $347,590 on candidates that went on to lose their elections by more than 10 percentage points.
In the House of Delegates elections, Republicans lost District 2, 34, 39, 42, 44, 52, 80, 93, and 94 by more than 10 percentages points (and many districts were “on the bubble” because they were lost by 8 or 9 points, but to make my arguement a little simplier, they were not included).
The final total on money spent:
Couldn’t State Senator Glenn Sturtevant have used that $1.3 million to keep his Senate seat? Or what about giving it to Delegate Roxanne Robinson, who barely won? We need to be strategic. We can’t just keep running candidates for the sake of running candidates.
Taking the approach of, “Every District Gets A Candidate,” is taking the approach of the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight.”
Sending a message isn’t going to get our gun rights back. Sending a message isn’t going to keep Kathy Tran and Ralph Northam from dismembering babies limb by limb.
And more importantly, the United States Constitution and Virginia Constitutional freedoms we so desperately love are getting lit on fire and flushed down the toilet while certain people in our party think that Arlington needs a social conservative right-wing ideologue to run for the House of Delegates to send a message to Democrats.
IT ISN’T WORKING.
American Democracy was started and built on the fact that the minority opinion could be heard. Heard, but it doesn’t mean that the minority gets to govern. The majority gets to govern. We need 51 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates and we need 21 State Senate seats. We aren’t going to get there if we waste our time and money running candidates where Republicans don’t live anymore.
I do have concerns about this proposal to run a candidate in every district, every time. We have to think strategically to get to 51 and 21. Nothing else matters. Let’s take a good look in the mirror, Virginia Republicans, before we waste a lot of time and money.