Don't let the manufactured narrative fool you; Republicans are in excellent shape compared to the Democrats.
"Pressé fortement sur ma droite, mon centre cède, impossible de me mouvoir, situation excellente, j'attaque."
-- Ferdinand Foch, First Battle of the Marne (08 September 1914)
During the 1914 Miracle of the Marne, the Germans had pressed the French Army to the very gates of Paris — again. The British Expeditionary Forces were ready to execute contingency plans for a mass evacuation, and the French Army after weeks of retreating had exhausted itself.
Ferdinand Foch had other ideas. On September 12th, 1914 — with only himself between the Prussian-led Germans and the City of Lights — Foch executed a counterattack that stopped the Germans cold.
“I am pressured on my right, my center is giving away, it is impossible for me to maneuver,” in language many Republicans will indeed empathize. “Situation excellent, I am attacking.”
That isn’t just history, but good advice.
If I had told you just 18 months ago that not only would:
Virginia Republicans sweep all three statewide contests,
. . .and recapture the House of Delegates,
. . .and regain the US House of Representatives nationally,
. . .and take back VA-02.
. . .and repeal Roe, would you take that deal?
You’d make that deal. I’d make that deal.
So why are Republicans kicking the dirt? Because the media tells us we didn’t meet our expectations of a 50+ seat blowout in the US House and a three seat margin in the US Senate?
Here’s some facts, ladies and gentlemen — there are more Republicans elected to public office now than there were two weeks ago.
Republican governors swept the board in November. We have more state leadership talent than the Democrats could ever dream to have — it shows because the best the Democrats have to offer is Joe Biden.
Pro-life Republicans? In states where governors reinforced our values? We won in Texas, Florida, and Georgia overwhelmingly. In states where the message was muddled? We lost — and the Democrats are pleased and proud to show us the price of compromise.
Reagan Republicans? With back-to-back 8% inflation with no immediate end in sight, long live Reaganomics. Protectionism and trade barriers don’t work.
If you’re the pragmatic type who is more about process and ideas? Those Republicans who championed ideas and process in the public square won handily over Democrats who chose social progressivism and the cult of the weird.
Look around. Not a single Democrat ran and won on Critical Race Theory, gender ideology, defunding the police, or backing the rioters. Not a single Democrat ran on the “strength” of the economy.
Many of the Democrats who involved themselves on the January 6th Committee — whose billet should have been expanded to investigate the BLM/Antifa riots if they had a shred of consistency — were trounced at the polls by voters who know the difference between a genuine concern about violence in politics and a case-selective witch hunt.
In short, if you are at all concerned about the state and condition of America, the American people sent a message loud and clear — we want an America focused on ideas and process.
To that end, America sent back a more conservative government than the one prior, one that splits the legislative branch, puts the financial handcuffs on the executive, and maintains the judiciary with a 6-3 conservative majority.
In effect, we sent gridlock.
So hang up your brightest colors if you are a Republican and remind your friends that we are positionally better off than we were 18 months ago. Do we still have work to do? Absolutely — but despite the media craftwork, our situation is excellent.
Situation Excellent: Stay On Offense
Meanwhile on the left, they have their own problems. Biden isn’t healthy, Fetterman isn’t healthy. Governors are out there upholding 10A protections against federal overreach and showing that conservative ideas and free market principles create the sort of prosperity Democrats can only talk about.
Unelected institutions don’t have the right to scold the rest of us about democratic principles. Republicans have the right to restore republican virtues on moral questions of what we value as a society — and life, liberty, and the right to pursue happiness on our own terms are the key to personal success.
At the end of the day, the Democrats don’t mind behaving like Trump, so long as Republicans don’t behave like Democrats.
Unelected institutions are all about being tolerant of diverse opinions until they discover — pace William F. Buckley — that people hold opinions different than their own. They have no problem performing the most un-democratic acts in defense of so-called democracy, because after all, you can do the most terrible things to another person for the sake of principle.
Which is why the Democratic Party has traditionally been on the wrong side of history, from slavery to Jim Crow, from welfare to abortion, from Massive Resistance to CRT and gender ideology. They stand on a pile of dead babies and scold the rest of us on social justice; they hold public education hostage and produce the worst results in the G20.
The party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan has nothing to fear from the party of Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, FDR and Barack Obama.
More locally, Virginia Republicans who elected Linwood Holton, John Dalton, George Allen, Jim Gilmore and Glenn Youngkin have nothing to prove to a party that nominated the likes of James Kemper, Elbert Trinkle, Harry F. Byrd, the arch segregationist J. Lindsay Almond, Chuck Robb and Ralph Northam.
Same methods. Same beliefs. Same organization. Different men.
Since they can’t see it, Republicans have a moral duty to remind them that present day Virginia Democrats kept Ralph Northam in power for the sole reason of preventing Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax — a black man — out of power, and they did so by destroying his reputation in the public square and daring a soul to challenge what they had done.
The Dixiecrats aren’t dead. They never changed and they never even left.
Meanwhile, Republicans have a moral tradition which liberated an entire race from slavery, kicked off the Industrial Revolution, expanded free markets, fought the Cold War and finally defeated Soviet Russia, and then fought the War on Terrorism to maintain the Pax Americana.
In Virginia, Virginia Republicans ended parole, instituted parental notification, reduced the hated Car Tax, boosted public education spending, reformed state Medicaid funding, took on the near-Herculean task of fixing the Virginia Retirement System (thank you, Bill Howell), and are on the cusp of introducing true school choice reform for Virginia’s parents.
We aren’t losing folks.
So cheer up, my fellow Republicans. Illegitimi non carborundum.
Virginia’s 2023 is about to be a stellar year. We will cement our Republican majority in the House of Delegates, we will retake the Virginia Senate, our parents will challenge every local school board pushing CRT and gender ideology on our children, and true school choice — the holy grail for parents who give a damn — will be expecting for Governor Youngkin’s signature.
In small and varying degrees, we aren’t losing the argument — and the Cult of the Weird isn’t about to turn pro.
Shaun Kenney is the editor of The Republican Standard, former chairman of the Board of Supervisors for Fluvanna County, and a former executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia.