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That Bloodbath in Old Dominion

The day after his “Silent Majority” speech on Nov. 3, 1969, calling on Americans to stand with him for peace with honor in Vietnam, Richard Nixon’s GOP captured the governorships of Virginia and New Jersey.

By December, Nixon had reached 68 percent approval in the Gallup Poll, though, a year earlier, he had won but 43 percent of the vote.

Contrast Nixon’s numbers with President Trump’s.

Where Trump won 46 percent of the vote against Hillary Clinton, his approval rating is now nearly 10 points below that. He has less support today than on the day he was elected, or inaugurated.

Tens of millions of Americans are passionately for Trump, and tens of millions are passionately against him. The GOP problem: The latter cohort is equal in intensity but larger in number, and this is especially true in purple and blue states like the commonwealth of Virginia.

There is no way to spin Tuesday as other than a Little Bighorn, and possible harbinger of what is to come.

In George Washington’s hometown of Alexandria and Arlington County, Democratic candidate Ralph Northam won 4-1. In Fairfax and Loudoun counties, the most populous D.C. suburbs, Northam won 2-1.

Gillespie rolled up the landslides.

As there are two Americas, there are two Virginias.

Consider. Of all the delegate seats in the Virginia assembly allocated to Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties, the GOP can today claim only one.

Northern Virginia is taking on the political and socioeconomic profile of San Francisco.

Another and perhaps insoluble problem for the GOP, not only in the Old Dominion, is demography.

Democrats rolled up their largest margins among African-Americans, Hispanics, single women, immigrants and the young. And these voting blocs are growing.

Gillespie ran up his largest margins among white males near and past retirement age and married white women. These Middle Americans are in inexorable demographic decline.

The Greatest Generation is passing on, and baby boomers born between 1946 and 1951 are now on Medicare and Social Security.

Yet reports of the GOP’s demise are grossly exaggerated.

Though Gillespie lost by nine points, Jill Vogel, who ran for lieutenant governor on Trumpian issues, lost by six.

By 2-1, Virginians do not want their Confederate monuments torn down. Northam, sensing this, moved toward Gillespie’s position as the campaign went on. Also, among the 27 percent of Virginians who regarded taxes and immigration as the top issues, Gillespie won by nearly 4-1.

It was health care concerns, the No. 1 issue, that buried the GOP.

As for mainstream media rage and revulsion at the “racism” of Gillespie ads suggesting Northam supported sanctuary cities and was soft on the MS-13 gang, this reflects an abiding establishment fear of the Trumpian issues of illegal immigration and crime.

Then there was the Republican messenger.

A former chairman of the RNC, Washington lobbyist and White House aide, Gillespie is an establishment Republican unconvincing in the role of a fighting populist conservative. His speeches recalled not Trump’s run, but that of the Republicans Trump trounced.

Ed Gillespie was Virginia’s version of Jeb Bush.

Message from the Old Dominion: A purple state, trending blue, with its economy recession-proof as long as Uncle Sam across the river consumes 20 percent of GDP, is a steepening climb for the GOP. You must have a superior candidate, comfortable with cutting issues, to win it now.

Republicans are being admonished to drop the monuments-and-memorials issue and respect why NFL players might want to “take a knee” during the national anthem.

But if to win in Northern Virginia the GOP must move closer to the Democratic Party, why would the rest of the state want to vote for the Republican Party?

During the campaign, both candidates moved rightward.

Northam rejected sanctuary cities and accepted Lee and Jackson on Richmond’s Monument Avenue, and Gillespie ran Trumpian ads, even if they seemed to clash with the mild-mannered candidate himself.

The lesson for 2018:

While the solid support of Trumpians is indispensable for GOP victory, it is insufficient for GOP victory. Republican candidates will have to decide how close they wish to get to President Trump, or how far away they can risk going and survive.

Facing this choice, Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker decided to pack it in. Other Republicans may follow. But a house divided will not stand.

Republicans should recall that off-year elections are often problematic for incumbent parties. In 1954, President Eisenhower lost both houses of Congress. After pardoning Nixon in 1974, Gerald Ford lost 49 seats. In 1982, Ronald Reagan sustained a 27-seat loss.

In 1994, Bill Clinton lost 53 seats and control of the House. In 2010, Barack Obama lost 63 seats and control of the House.

If the nation chooses to turn Congress over to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer in 2018, will that be all Trump’s fault? Or should perhaps some credit go to Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and venerable political tradition?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

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19 Comments (Open | Close)

19 Comments To "That Bloodbath in Old Dominion"

#1 Comment By Pointofmotion On November 9, 2017 @ 10:28 pm

Just to be clear, the one complaining about Northern Virginia is Patrick Buchanan who worked for the government under Nixon, lives in the DC area, and takes part in Washington DC area activities.

He is not the man of the people living out in Roanoke trying to live his daily life.

#2 Comment By A Way Out On November 9, 2017 @ 11:05 pm

A party that promises to get us out of the Middle East and stop fighting these pointless wars. That would unite many voters of both parties and even more independents.

Neither party is offering it.

Whoever makes that move first and actually does it will reap a huge electoral harvest. The Republican candidates seem to have become addicted to money from foreign countries that want us to fight their wars for them, so it will probably be the Democrats who finally turn against the ForeverWars that are bankrupting us.

#3 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On November 10, 2017 @ 3:39 am

I think it should not be forgotten that 9 in 10 Hispanics in the US are or consider themselves white. And they also happen to be Catholics. Not exactly the profile of someone who will be overly happy with a party that turned away from the labor movement and embraced the entire set of postmodernist social lunacies instead. This gave Trump the heavily Hispanic rich coastal state of Florida that was blue for nearly a decade.

One may argue that Florida was not actually blue, but resentful of Jeb!!!!!!!11111111’s and his brothers activities, however a decade is way too much for such a resentment.

#4 Comment By Dan Green On November 10, 2017 @ 8:44 am

If Donna and Hillary stump for the mid terms, all is lost for the GOP.Would take the pressure off Lizzy, Nancy, and Chuck.

#5 Comment By EliteCommInc. On November 10, 2017 @ 10:02 am

‘I think it should not be forgotten that 9 in 10 Hispanics in the US are or consider themselves white. And they also happen to be Catholics.’

It i my understanding that Virginia generally vote democratic anyway as does New Hersey. Hispanic, especially new hispanic, who do in fact want to be seen a white (and that should put a sock into the whining by any about identity politics – based on something an benign a skin color initiated by those of tone doing the whining.) clear indicator that skin color matters.

Those white will be adding their voices to the liberal causes and intentions. Trust me I haven’t forgotten a thing. Florid is comprised of a large cuban population — those descendants are going to come laced with a more rooted sense of why sovereignty matters.

#6 Comment By Youknowho On November 10, 2017 @ 10:39 am

@Alax(the one that likes Ike)

Hispanics might consider themselves white, but that’s not how they are treated. Trump’s policies of demonizing “inmigrants” and the behavior of his supporters (like yelling at Hipanics “speak English” or “get back to where you come from”) make them like the GOP less and less every day.

Muslims are very much social conservatives. But they also know where they are not wanted.

For them the Democratic Party is the only port in the storm, and as they say in Spain, a drowning man will grab a red hot nail.

#7 Comment By One Guy On November 10, 2017 @ 11:48 am

Over a year ago, wise men told you this would happen. You nominated Trump anyway. No empathy from me as I watch the GOP get split and wilt.

#8 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On November 10, 2017 @ 1:42 pm

EliteCommInc.,

Won’t argue with your assessment of the situation in VA and NJ. They are blue states anyways, so the majority of their population will be voting for Democrats regardless of their ethnic origins.

***

Youknowho,

Hispanics might consider themselves white, but that’s not how they are treated. Trump’s policies of demonizing “inmigrants”

Specifically? An example of such “policies”?

and the behavior of his supporters (like yelling at Hipanics “speak English” or “get back to where you come from”)

Could you name one single Trump supporter who behaves this way and doesn’t happen to be an anonymous internet troll?

make them like the GOP less and less every day.

Oh, I get it. It were Russians / Mossad / extraterrestrial aliens who voted in Florida so that it went Trump.

Muslims are very much social conservatives. But they also know where they are not wanted.

For them the Democratic Party is the only port in the storm, and as they say in Spain, a drowning man will grab a red hot nail.

Muslims do not share religious and cultural beliefs with the majority of Americans. While Hispanics do. Believe it or not, it matters.

By the way, do you know who are the greatest illegal immigrants demonizers? I’ll tell you. The greatest illegal immigrants demonizers are yesterday’s immigrants. In the US and in every other country on this planet.

Not that I didn’t understand the Freudian complex the overwhelming majority of liberals have when it comes to immigrants from Latin America. “Were’re ready to protect these poor people at all costs”, but then you’re among them, and there is that nasty, slimy sensation up and down your spine that you cannot understand a word they’re saying. Familiar, right? Thing is, I’ve never had it. I speak Spanish fluently since very young adult and understood what “these poor people” (each of whom is spiritually richer than a dozen of self-righteous liberals) were talking about all my conscious life. And, boy oh boy, you’re not even close to grasp how important the racial question is to them. And the less affluent they are, the more important it becomes. Suffice it to say that La eMe is a long-standing and the most faithful ally of the Brand.

Así es la vida fuera de su burbuja liberal. ¿Quiere ver la realidad? La tengo, señor. Pero no va a oírme de todos modos. Continuarán con su visión utópica hasta que caiga en sus cabezas.

Your average foreign languages speaking, Plato-referencing and Everett’s theory discussing Trumpist redneck here. Salud.

#9 Comment By FL Transplant On November 10, 2017 @ 2:20 pm

For Alex (the one the likes Ike)–I lived in FL when JEB was governor. He was a moderate who was well-thought of for running the nuts and bolts of state government. Not scandals, government services delivered, taxes kept low, great response to the hurricane seasons of 2004/5. While not a record that resonated in a white-hot political environment, he was a highly competent governor whose performance didn’t work against him. The equivalent of a mayor who had the roads quickly plowed when it snowed, trash picked up, and city services operating effectively and efficiently.

I remember the massive marches the day after Trump’s inauguration. Guess what–all those people vote. Trump has done quite a bit to keep his opponents worked up and alienate many who didn’t necessarily like him but didn’t like Clinton more, while doing nothing to gain additional supporters. The ones who’ll stand by him after he shot someone on Fifth Avenue in the middle of the day remain, but it’s getting to the point where they’re the only ones, and that’s proving to not be enough.

#10 Comment By Egypt Steve On November 10, 2017 @ 3:42 pm

Re: ” … the overwhelming majority of liberals have when it comes to immigrants from Latin America. “Were’re ready to protect these poor people at all costs”, but then you’re among them, and there is that nasty, slimy sensation up and down your spine that you cannot understand a word they’re saying. Familiar, right?”

Uh, no. In my book, people have the right to say whatever they want to say, to whomever they want to say it, in whatever language they want. And Yo quiero Taco Bell to you, too.

#11 Comment By libertarian jerry On November 10, 2017 @ 8:10 pm

Follow the money. As the majority of government employees and those living off government largess are concentrated in the more populated areas they tend to vote their interests. As the Democrat Party tends to garner many of their votes from this Political Class is it any wonder how the election would unfold. Despite what the pundits and “experts” in the Main Stream Media said Trump really had nothing to do with the results.

#12 Comment By Thaomas On November 10, 2017 @ 10:03 pm

Would Jeb have raised the phony sanctuary cities issue and opposed local decision making on Confederate statues? Face it; Gillespie got as close to Trump as he dared and it was too close.

#13 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On November 11, 2017 @ 12:59 am

One Guy,

Over a year ago, wise men told you this would happen. You nominated Trump anyway. No empathy from me as I watch the GOP get split and wilt.

Would happen what? A state that voted for Clinton a year ago voting for Democrats again? Am I supposed to feel shock and awe over this tempest in a teapot?

***

FL Transplant,

For Alex (the one the likes Ike)–I lived in FL when JEB was governor. He was a moderate who was well-thought of for running the nuts and bolts of state government. Not scandals, government services delivered, taxes kept low, great response to the hurricane seasons of 2004/5. While not a record that resonated in a white-hot political environment, he was a highly competent governor whose performance didn’t work against him. The equivalent of a mayor who had the roads quickly plowed when it snowed, trash picked up, and city services operating effectively and efficiently.

So, basically, you’re proving my point that the results have little to do with either Bush. Thanks.

I remember the massive marches the day after Trump’s inauguration. Guess what–all those people vote. Trump has done quite a bit to keep his opponents worked up and alienate many who didn’t necessarily like him but didn’t like Clinton more, while doing nothing to gain additional supporters. The ones who’ll stand by him after he shot someone on Fifth Avenue in the middle of the day remain, but it’s getting to the point where they’re the only ones, and that’s proving to not be enough.

But the problem is that he still hasn’t shot anyone anywhere. Neither he’s started any new war. If you don’t deem that stand-up comedy battle between him and Little Kimmy such, of course.

***

Egypt Steve,

And Yo quiero Taco Bell to you, too.

Nothing bad to say about tacos – I eat in fast food restaurants time to time as well – but generally I prefer cooking more authentical dishes of the Mexican cuisine myself.

#14 Comment By Edward bishop On November 11, 2017 @ 9:17 am

So we are arguing about which ethnic groups vote which way? It has been consistent for decades. It is the true mark of an elections outcome. Doesn’t everybody realize this yet? It’s not the policies, the economy, or appealing to minorities it’s the culture that matters and it always will. We are overflowing with foreign influence in “our” country. As pat would say “demographics are destiny.” Wake up gop before it’s too late!

#15 Comment By Whine Merchant On November 11, 2017 @ 6:31 pm

Dear Pat, this is better than some of your’Trump’s Way or the Highway’ columns, but you do reveal your true colours when you choose the analogy: “There is no way to spin Tuesday as other than a Little Bighorn, and possible harbinger of what is to come.”

Many today understand that the righteous did win that battle, further inciting the neo-cons of the 1870s to look to demonising and destroying people who could have been treated with honesty and respect. Sort of like the Trumpets who demonise anyone that doesn’t resemble a 1950s TV show.

#16 Comment By blackhorse On November 11, 2017 @ 7:42 pm

‘Ed Gillespie was Virginia’s version of Jeb Bush” Except that he chose to run like Donald Trump. Nice try. Regardless, “health care concerns buried the GOP”–this is an issue both sides of the GOP fail on. Until the GOP starts representing people instead of donors, their troubles will continue.

#17 Comment By SFG On November 12, 2017 @ 10:15 am

It does seem the GOP is going to have to ‘turn’ Hispanics if it wants to stay alive. I don’t see why that requires embracing illegal immigration though. Does every single person of Latin American origin want more immigration? Focusing on economic arguments might allow the USA to close the gates, slow the flood, and allow time for assimilation.

#18 Comment By blackhorse On November 12, 2017 @ 9:19 pm

“It was health care concerns, the No. 1 issue, that buried the GOP” And where does the GOP stand on health care? In the last episode, Ryab/Mcconnell were hell bent on scrapping a GOP-lite plan to pay for tax cuts to rich donors. With Trumps blessing, so he could get a “win”. Principled conservatism, I ask you?

#19 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On November 13, 2017 @ 4:41 am

Whine Merchant,

Many today understand that the righteous did win that battle

“Custer died for your sins” again? Seriously? Custer died for his lack of willingness to carry out a proper reconnaissance mission prior to the battle and for nothing else. Try to refrain from virtue signalling at least when it comes to the military history. It is already beyond the pale of risibleness.

Custer was an LTC (BMG) of the Union Army, by the way.

***

blackhorse,

Except that he chose to run like Donald Trump.

Oh, did he? A non-Bannonite, establishment Republican that had tried to disown Trump until it was already too late to “change his mind”, even though he did it? “300 yards to the finish line, I’m coming in last, now I gonna ride like Colin McRae”.