Like many others, I watched the election returns Tuesday night with eager anticipation, caught up in the hope and hype that the results would be indicative of a wave, maybe a tsunami, of conservative revival sweeping over this great nation. As it turned out, that wave not only formed, but grew to exceed expectations as it washed over lesser elections in Pennsylvania and Minneapolis and caused significant flooding in New Jersey.
Now we’re hearing all the expert analysis from the Monday morning pundits. What do these results mean in terms of party actions going forward? How should they respond and manage campaigns going forward?
On the progressive side, we hear that Democrats need to step up their game – they were voted down Tuesday night because they haven’t enacted enough radical / woke / inflationary legislation. Conservative “experts” are telling us that Glenn Youngkin played Donald Trump perfectly, attracting MAGA supporters without alienating traditional Republicans; that COVID lockdowns forced parents to become aware of what their kids are being taught in school and they didn’t like it; and that “it’s the economy, stupid.”
Gasoline and bologna have indeed gotten a lot costlier lately. Baloney, on the other hand…?
But what does it all mean to you and me? We are not part of the “ruling” class. We’re just trying to take care of business, of which helping to steward our towns, cities, states and nation is a part.
It’s interesting that Terry McAuliffe got more votes in the Virginia election than did the sitting Democrat governor did four years ago, yet he still lost. A lot of people got off their butts and voted who hadn’t done so previously. Can the source of their motivation be identified, harnessed, and replicated, or was it unique to the issues of the evening?
Education was the issue? Let’s see candidates propose legislation that offers more options to families, and that offers funding that follows the student. Let’s see families demand, then seize, such changes. Let’s see parents stay involved in the education of their children.
The economy was the issue? Then let’s see changes to tax plans that emulate past programs (and current programs in some places) which have proven to strengthen and bolster the economy. Let’s see an economic environment created that promotes investment, research and risk taking rather than raping the bounty of the entrepreneurial class. Create an environment where demand and opportunity offer success rather than one in which the government picks winners and losers with incentive / disincentive programs.
Let’s accept and embrace the fact that fossil fuels are still the preferred source of affordable energy, and that renewables, though important and perhaps long-term solutions, are today still science fair projects which will not work without being heavily subsidized with your tax dollars.
“Woke” political correctness was the issue? Then create a culture that responds to cancel culture wokeness with “go Brandon yourself!”
Finally, I can’t help but notice that when the votes were essentially all counted in Virginia, the losers acknowledged their losses. There was no outcry of stolen elections, no miraculous discovery of boxes of absentee ballots with results-changing votes. Why? Because election laws in Virginia are fair, reasonable, and just. One vote per verified, registered, qualified voter.
Make that the case everywhere.
The results of Tuesday night need to be sustained in order to mean anything. The wave that formed in New Jersey and Virginia needs to roll on, to grow. The energy which overcame past complacency must be harnessed, sustained, and made viral.
The pundits will move on to other events and issues. Unsuccessful candidates will lick their wounds and find another office to run for, and most will continue to listen to their donors rather than the people they claim they want to represent. Successful candidates will either strive to fulfill their promises, or they’ll embrace the status quo.
Will the newly elected, especially in Virginia where they swept the executive branch and flipped the legislative chamber, actually change anything? Or will they, like many before them, embrace their newly granted power and prestige and slip quietly into the status quo? Or worse, will the status quo prevent them from enacting change, as they did to Trump?
Will those newly energized voters stay engaged and drive their representatives to deliver on their promises, or will complacency return? Will they stay energized and spread that energy, or will they go back to their beer and Barcalounger?
Has the progressive wing of the Democrat Party reawakened a sleeping giant?
Change is up to you. It’s up to us.
Lord, send a revival.