Virginia has had its 2019 state legislative races. Republicans got their heads handed to them on a silver platter. Democrats now have a majority in the state legislature for the first time in almost 30 years; and they also have the governor’s seat.
Virginia used to be a solid red, Republican state. Now, Virginia is the proverbial canary in the coalmine for the state and national Republican Party.
I moved to Virginia in 1989. I came from St. Louis to be part of the incoming George H.W. Bush presidential administration.
I used to be very involved in the state Republican Party and the various Republican campaigns. As a matter of fact, I was the first and only Black to be elected national committeeman for the Young Republicans of Virginia. This was a statewide elected office.
I worked with Republican governors such as George Allen, Jim Gilmore, and Bob McDonald; lieutenant governors such as John Hager, and attorney generals such as Mark Early. These elected officials all had a great understanding about the necessity of expanding the base of the Republican Party, both state and national.
Their campaign and official staffs reflected the demographic makeup of Virginia. We had an active, functioning state party. Because these office holders all valued diversity, we were able to take control of both chambers of the legislature.
In January of 2014, we lost every state-wide office to the Democrats. We still had a very slim majority in the state legislature until last month when the Democrats took outright control. Democrats now control the governor's seat and they have total control of the state government for the first time since 1993.
Virginia is a wakeup call to both our state and national party. Far too many of the party’s leadership have bought into this idiotic “White turnout” approach to elections across the country. This approach simply says: focus on White turnout and depress the turnout within the Black community by going negative.
I never have and never will agree with this approach to politics. If conservatives really believe in their message, they would have enough faith to believe that their message will resonate with every voter. If conservatives really believed in their message, they will take it to the marketplace of ideas throughout America.