The Republican Party arguably had its best night since 2016 on Nov. 2 as they took over an overwhelming majority of Virginia's state government.
Nominees Glenn Youngkin (Gov.), Winsome Sears (Lt. Gov.), and Jason Miyares (Attorney General) won the first statewide races for Republicans in 12 years.
Down ballot, Republican candidates across the state helped take the majority in the Virginia House of Delegates.
A campaign centered around parental education rights, the rejection of critical race theory (CRT) in schools, along with teacher raises, tax cuts, and a fight against big-government progressivism endured one of the most impactful gubernatorial races (spanning decades) for governor-elect Glenn Youngkin.
Moving forward. Youngkin may now be one of the biggest stars in the party
New Jersey may have been even more surprising than Virginia.
Gubernatorial Republican Nominee Jack Ciattarelli put up an unbelievable fight against the progressive governor of the state, Phil Murphy. If the GOP (or anyone in actual reality) would have put more money and confidence behind this race or even treated it the same as Youngkin's, it's highly probable that the state would have a new governor. However, how close Ciattarelli came to winning tells a powerful story for politics in New Jersey, and elsewhere going into 2022 and 2024.
These races were not merely won on typical conservative establishment economic issues or by calling Democrats names such as "socialist," "communist," or other nonsensical phrases.
Glenn Youngkin and Jack Ciattarelli united in messaging, calling out issues that voters actually care about. They stayed the course on being fiscal conservatives while intensively fighting a culture war in the crosshairs of the Republican and Independent voter base.
Pundits who thought that controversial issues such as CRT or COVID mandates, for example, were not of grave concern to voters could not have been more out of touch.
Neither one of these candidates caved on social nor economic issues.
Neither Youngkin or Ciattarelli caved on social or economic issues. Both were outspoken on pro-life issues, low taxes, anti-state government control, and so on.
Thus, there were very few issues that either candidate attempted to be portrayed as moderate, yet they overwhelmingly related to blue-state voters.
This should send a message to Republican candidates, donors, and activists moving forward. The party's way is not through neoconservative, moderate, boring policy and rhetoric that voters can't get excited about; it also does not require venturing away from conservative economic policy.
Candidates across the country Tuesday night dominated the messaging battle.
They accomplished this by crafting a populist approach to the current culture war, while advocating for small government solutions to solving problems of great concern to voters.
If more candidates embrace the kitchen table issues dominating contemporary political discourse, and concurrently embrace conservative approaches to economic and fiscal policies, the GOP will ultimately win.
But the GOP, and conservatives in general, must acknowledge the culture war, meeting it head on, while promoting liberty-centered strategies to counter authoritarian government.
It's time to take power back.
Kenny Cody is a 24-year-old conservative writer and activist from Northeast Tennessee. In addition to his work as a conservative writer and activist, Cody also serves as an English teacher for Cosby Elementary School. Read Kenny Cody's Reports — More Here.
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