Corey Stewart went on what can only be described a Herculean Twitter barrage against all enemies both real and perceived yesterday. He makes some good points and certainly uses the platform to take his frustrations out on people who question his support of Donald Trump and his integrity. The reaction has been interesting to watch because it is all too familiar. This is coming on the heels of two Trump Virginia aides denouncing Stewart as well as Ed Gillespie touting a poll showing him “ahead” and rolling out endorsement after endorsement.
It’s almost too unbelievable to see the parallels between the beginnings of this campaign and the one that was just concluded. And the same mistakes are being made by the same people. Ed Gillespie is making the same mistake all of Donald Trump’s GOP opponents made, they are running a campaign based on the old rules rather than the new rules. The old rules are building a campaign around fundraising and endorsements early to swim-move your way to the front of the line. This is what Jeb Bush attempted and Marco Rubio after him. In fact, the fact that Gillespie is already rolling out these endorsements this early should not be taken as a sign of strength, but a sign of concern. If he’s so far ahead and so popular within the party he shouldn’t need to be doing this so early to build his name up.
Apparently Republicans haven’t yet learned the lessons of Donald Trump’s (and Dave Brat’s) victory. The old ways of doing things are over. You win by crafting a message that resonates and motivates your base, using social media to connect directly with them while bashing the media and relying on large amounts of small donations as well as a small amount of wealthy benefactors to run your campaign. Endless fundraising and endorsements mean little to the average voter these days who don’t like or even respect most of the elected leaders in this country. Corey Stewart’s Twitter takedown of everyone from Gillespie to this very blog shouldn’t be taken as ramblings of a losing candidate, but a reminder of the power of social media to connect with your base and get your own narrative out without media filter. Unlike what the Virginia Trump advisors seem to think, it appears to me that Corey Stewart was very much involved in Trump’s campaign because he has learned it’s lessons well.
Two things further strike me about this race that should have Gillespie and his advisors on edge. First is the Quinnipiac poll and his team are trying to spin as evidence of momentum. The number that jumps out to me like fireball is the 57% of undecideds in the race. Given that Gillespie ran for the Senate two years ago and almost won and the fact that any Virginia Republican with a pulse knew he was running for governor the day after that Senate race it should be of great concern to his team that there are still that many undecideds. It could mean an opening for someone like Denver Riggleman, but it could also be fertile ground for Stewart’s Trumpian populist message. Also, why are you hyping a poll that shows you losing to Ralph Northam? Strange.
The second wild card in this race is something I’ve covered both on my Facebook page as well as here – RPV choosing a primary. On the surface, the primary vs. convention fight has been seen as a proxy war between the establishment who are pro-primary against grassroots conservatives who support conventions. I’ve always maintained that this divide wasn’t as clean as people thought it was. The grassroots biggest victory, Dave Brat defeating Eric Cantor, was done through the open primary process that the Establishment so loves. Meanwhile, Gillespie himself won his Senate nomination through a convention, as did Bob McDonnell in 2009 and Jim Gilmore in 2008. Conventions don’t favor conservatives, conventions favor those who run them. An RVP-led convention, especially with the state central committee made up as it is now, Gillespie would surely be the favorite. But now, Ed is putting his future in the hands of an open primary where anyone and everyone is free to vote and Stewart can work to get out those Trump voters who aren’t part of a party and would be less inclined to drag themselves to Richmond for a weekend-consuming convention. Not to mention Frank Wagner’s presence looming as an obstacle for Ed in Hampton Roads as well as parts of even Northern Virginia I’d wager. I said from day one a primary would only help Corey Stewart. In a convention you need 50% +1, in a primary you just need a plurality.
So the next time Corey Stewart goes a Twitter rant, it’s not because he’s unhinged. It’s because he knows that the rules of engagement have changed and he’s mastering these new rules faster than anyone else.
I suspect many folks in the Commenwealth see the flood of illegal aliens as one of our biggest problems. I support Corey because his position on that issue is unambiguous. Traditional candidates, seek donations from entities that favor open borders. That characteristic puts them beyond the pale for me.
[…] little credibility remained among Trump supporters (to wit, the reaction from a handful of tweets was a complete volte face from the previous editorial line), who are with visible concern watching (and separating) those who rode the Trump Train to change […]
Very astute assessment of the whole primary vs convention issue here in Virginia and directly on target in it’s assessment. Steward would have very likely died in a party manipulated convention process for a voter tepid Gillespie rerun. Party insiders’ influence in a state wide primary primary is now “one” vote each.
So if Ed Gillespie believes he will be successful because he has sold himself to those party apparatchiks already bought into his candidacy, it’s just not reminiscence of Jeb’s abysmal failure and collapse in the presidential primary run, but it’s “exactly” a repeat of it. The country is moving in one direction and a hand full of Virginia political clingers have convinced themselves we must all move in the opposite direction back to the past that has been nationally rejected. This isn’t a rock meeting the immovable object this is those with an inability to learn and adapt uselessly attempting to hold on to what is already gone.
13 BIG ENDORSEMENTS OF THE STEWART CAMPAIGN …
That 13 important insiders of the Virginia Trump Campaign have stated their full support of Corey Stewart for Governor is significant news. Make of it what you will. But for me, this is the first big indication that a Governor Stewart will not be an Establishment Co-opted Governor of Virginia. This would be a big plus. For now, I’ll keep watching developments.
See the endorsements at …
All great points, but in the new paradigm of voter interaction i.e. social media, building a base, none of the bravado or acumen means squat if you can’t eventually pivot and reach out to independents and people who wouldn’t otherwise vote in what they see as a rigged system. Rigged in where (D)s and (R)s are two sides of the same coin.
I fear Virginia may be forever lost due to the critical mass of those living off the government teet in Fairfax County but the one who wins VA will be the one who can convince ordinary people to believe
Way to go Corey!! If they won’t see the light, letum feel the heat.
Thanks for the champagne https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b3ef727831875ced863ac33b2f5e381ce40c09e63b123b25d3bcfd68614d537d.png
You are welcome. Which one were you. ?
This is very insightful and really interesting. Twitter, and other social media platforms, cut out the middle man (established media and other gatekeepers). Trump just produced a spectacular victory by direct connection to the People. Stewart is wise to leverage the same platform. He is likely going to encounter the same problems with the MSM that Trump did. Just look at how the media is trying to depict him for raffling off a AR-15.
A poll a year in advance is completely worthless. Actually, any poll not held the first Tuesday in November is worthless.
VERY good article, and excellent points. The Advance luncheon on Saturday was a perfect-opportunity campaign event for Gillespie with all us attendees there as his captive audience. Gillespie glowingly introduced Carly Fiorina as the guest speaker and she in turn lauded him. It was a mutual-stroke session, and geez so very obvious.
Speaking of party insider darlings, Friday evening at the Advance saw pathetic has-been Cantor testing the waters for his soon-to-be senate race.
Get a clue, RPV: we’re DONE with former lobbyists, party insiders like Gillespie and Cantor! Get all the endorsements you want; it’s kind of childish and pathetic.
If Virginians are stupid enough to nominate Ed ‘TARP’ Gillespie, then the Democrats will simply post that old photo of smiling Gillespie with his arm around laughing Karl Rove – who’s one of the most hated men in politics – and that crony image will torpedo Gillespie. Or perhaps the Democrats will remind voters about Enron Ed. Google Search is old politicians’ enemy. All Gillespie’s big money and elite support aren’t going to sway the rank and file.
We’ve become populists now and big bank bailouts, single-payer healthcare, and amnesty for illegals – ALL previous positions of Gillespie don’t thrill us.
Of the 3 declared gubernatorial candidates now, the race is Corey’s to lose.
Well said! Excellent points!
Trump JV tactics. Stewart doesn’t have the chops to survive his own hijacked tactics.
Corey not only survived but shined as a spokesperson for Trump. Trump campaign was making nice with gop when Corey called them out, got to love the message that sends. He ain’t kissing the gop’s ring.
I fully agree.
He should have shown some testicular fortitude with the employment factor of the illegal immigration issue long ago , opportunity missed.
anyone can attack the other aspects of immigration
and will not carry broad support but to go after the illegal employment and exploitation and you win with leadership.
Trump-like tactics only work for Trump because they are unique and quintessentially New Yorkish. I once met Corey Stewart in the office of Roy Beck (Numbers USA). He is no Donald Trump.
Agreed. Met him myself, not impressed with his attitude, nor were the people I was with.
Wrong… but maybe not always. Trump-like tactics are to tell truth and/or expose the lies of the cabal Globalist Establishment types. This is what works. But as to Cory, a lot depends on him.
There is no one like Donald Trump, but Corey connects, runs, and wins. Between the two of them, I expect Corey to be less RNC business as usual.
So true. Good analysis.