Following the Virginia election debacle last Tuesday, Republican voters in the Old Dominion might feel tempted to despair of dreaming about a red Virginia ever again. Many seem disposed to wait out President Trump’s term under the impression that Republicans cannot win under Trump. However, the Virginia Republican Party failed to field viable candidates, use the political resources available to them, or articulate any sort of stance on electoral issues. Democrats did not win Virginia, nor did a massive turn in national sentiment doom the Republican Party; the Virginia State GOP ruined its own chances.
Perhaps most startling, the Virginia Republican Party failed to run candidates in ten out of forty (the 1st, 2nd, 18th, 29th, 30th, 31st, 34th, 35th, 36th, and 37th), fully one-quarter of Virginia senatorial races. In contrast, the Democrats contested all races but one, the 23rd district. A party cannot win elections without candidates.
The Republican Party also failed to contest twenty-three out of one hundred delegate races (the 11th, 32nd, 35th, 36th, 37th, 38th, 45th, 46th, 47th, 48th, 53rd, 57th, 67th, 69th, 70th, 74th, 77th, 79th, 86th, 89th, 90th, 92nd, and 95th districts), again about one-fourth. While the Republican Party lost nearly a quarter of the House of Delegates seats by default, the Democrats contested all but seven races (the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 9th, 17th, 19th, and 78th districts).
It also looks like the Republicans did not contest races in certain districts with unfavorable minority majority demographics. That sort of worn-out, defeatist thinking has to stop. The Republicans ran Darrell H. “D.J.” Jordan Jr. in the 31st Delegate district and Garrison R. Coward in the 68th Delegate district. Both are great candidates and also minorities. Jordan lost by just six points (1,500 votes). Coward lost by ten points (3,900 votes). Jordan should have won and both will win in the future. Though Republicans have always had minorities in office, conservatism and a Trump economy that is spreading prosperity to minorities is attracting them to the Party of Lincoln in droves once again. President Trump and the Republican Party have done a fine job of welcoming minorities into their fold. The State Republican Party must recruit candidates to run in those districts which the Democrat party thinks that they own. What exactly have the Democrats done for minorities over the past fifty years? Trump’s policies have achieved a record low unemployment for African-Americans (5.5%), Hispanics (3.9%), Asian Americans (2.5%), and adult women (3.1%).