No, Jeanine; no, Mick; you are wrong. The stats say you are.
This was clearly an election where Trump was responsible for turning out Democrats. This actually happens a fair bit in Virginia, most recently in 2009 in the opposite direction. In that one, the Dems nominated a moderate who came close last time (sound familiar?) but who didn’t have a message and got hammered like no other. It was brutal. Well, 2017 was like that for us.
In fact, the Dems turned out 71% of Hillary’s votes from 2016. That’s huge turnout for an off-year election. Like I said, they were jazzed to vote against Trump. And as my colleague Chris Beer mentioned, they don’t care if you run from Trump; if you have an R next to your name, you’re a racist and a knuckle-dragger. We must accept their hate as being a fact.
Running from Trump clearly didn’t save Gillespie. And it won’t save Comstock. The nine Democrats running for that nomination don’t care that she is an anti-Trumper. They will hang her for every time she voted to rename a post office that Trump wanted. Look at the awful ad one of them already put out; it accused her of “losing that centrist feeling”. That guy raised over $500k so far.
Delegate Jim LeMunyon worked hard but also ran the hardest away from Trump of anyone in the GA. He tried to pretend he had never even heard of the guy. He also got smoked by the widest margin- 58-42. Running away from Trump will never work.
Northam won the 10th by 12 points. Trump lost it by 7. Unless we energize our base to come out in numbers proportional to the Dems’ outsized base turnout, we are smoked- and we are smoked no matter what else we do.
Why does this matter?
Because Trump beat Northam. In Virginia, and in the 10th. Not that it’s easy to turn out that many people in an off-year election, but the fact that Trump did it means that those votes can be turned out by someone.
The key is to turn out 80% or more of Trump 2016 voters. You don’t have to be Trump, but you have to run on Trump’s agenda and be willing to run with him. After all, every Republican- even Comstock- is going to be saddled with the President’s negatives. You might as well get his positives too.
The issue of the corruption and inactivity of Congress is the means. Congress has been worse than useless- they have clearly lied, refusing selfishly to enact anything they ran on. Obamacare, Tax reform, Budget, and many other issues….. they have failed. Hang that failure around their necks and run to change it.
That should be the motivator. Candidates should run against the failure of Congress. Run against the least popular entity in the country.
Barbara Comstock is a part of that failure. Heck, she is an author and enthusiastic protagonist of it. (And yes, before any of you wiseacres mentions it, I am full-throated behind conservative businessman Shak Hill in that primary.)
The key to survival- or success- in 2018 is to embrace the President’s agenda while running against Congressional Republicans. Anything else won’t work. Running to clean Congress is something the base can unite behind. Congress sucks, they are awful and out for no one’s agenda but their own re-election. And as Rand Paul has ably demonstrated, Trump will listen to liberty candidates.
Pissing off our base will not win. Running from the sitting Republican President won’t win. Running against the least popular people in the country?
Aye, there’s the rub.