Establishment Republicans Drawing Wrong Conclusions from Virginia Wins

Republican advisors need to understand gun owners didn’t so much vote FOR Youngkin as AGAINST these proven enemies of their rights and stop treating core constituents like a campaign liability. (New Virginia Majority/Facebook)

U.S.A. – -( “Republicans are eyeing Glenn Youngkin’s successful campaign for the Virginia governor’s mansion as a roadmap for the 2022 midterm elections,” The Hill noted Thursday. “While he seized on issues that resonated with Trump’s conservative base — demands for increased election security, for instance — he talked about less controversial messages with swing voters.”

“Lost in the public obsession with former President Trump’s loss, grievances and threats to run again: Non-Trump Republicans have had a strong, yearlong run nationally beneath and around him,” Axios echoed (and rather snottily at that). “Republicans kept their distance from Trump and won the governor’s mansion in Virginia — and almost won liberal New Jersey.”

The meme they are perpetuating is that Republicans need to be more moderate and avoid controversy. After all, the “logic” goes, Youngkin won with that strategy.

Not by that much, and if you look at results in Virginia’s high population areas, McAuliffe beat Youngkin by landslides. Case in point, Fairfax County, voted 64.7% to 34.8% Democrat. That, particularly with growth and changing demographics, is what put Democrats in charge last time, in what The New York Times explained as “How Voters Turned Virginia From Deep Red to Solid Blue.”

Don’t expect that to do anything but accelerate. Traditional Democrat voting blocs did nothing unexpected this time out. Per Ann Coulter:

“CNN exit poll: Black voters: 87% for McAuliffe to 13% for Youngkin – Hispanic voters: 68% for McAuliffe to 31% for Youngkin – Asian voters: 66% for McAuliffe to 34% for Youngkin … At this very moment, money men in the Republican Party are looking at Virginia and saying, ‘You see? We’ve got to pass amnesty to win over Latinos!’”

(Note: Politico documents vast differences in results between the Associated Press’ Vote Cast and Edison Research.)

Essentially what happened is Youngkin, who made a point of avoiding  “controversial” issues like the right to keep and bear arms, won because he wasn’t McAuliffe and because of a radical Democrat agenda on issues including parental say on public school agendas, angered a critical mass of voters. Virginia’s gun owners voted for him not because he inspired them with his leadership on the issue, but out of self-defense interests, and primarily because he did not campaign, as McAuliffe had, on disarming them.

That was successful because gun owners are learning to emulate the Democrat playbook and organize. In addition to the Virginia Citizens Defense League keeping them informed on the threat that a new McAuliffe regime would present, the organization came in large part from the Second Amendment “sanctuary” movement, which has grown exponentially in Virginia after gun owners started waking up to the realization that the end game threat to them is very real.

As for other Republicans who won, hiding from guns was not an issue for Lt. Governor-elect Winsome Sears, who proudly posed with her AR-15, and the incoming Attorney General, Jason Miyares, has established a past record that includes voting against a host of disarmament laws. (In a further demonstration of “progressive” racism akin to Joe Biden’s “You ain’t black” stereotyping, an MSNBC guest said of Sears “The problem is, here, they want white supremacy by ventriloquist effect. There is a black mouth moving but a white idea running on the runway of the tongue of a figure who justifies and legitimates the white supremacist practices.”)

As for New Jersey, despite media projections of a narrow victory for incumbent Democrat Governor Phil Murphy, Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli has, at this writing, refused to concede:

“Currently, Governor Murphy and I are separated by about 1% after 2.4 million ballots counted. Here are still tens of thousands of vote-by-mail and provisional ballots yet to be counted, and so, the Governor’s victory speech last night was premature. No one should be declaring victory or conceding the election until every legal vote  is counted.”

As for guns, Murphy never came across one he didn’t want to grab. Conversely, Ciattarelli incurred the sputtering indignation and snark of the Star-Ledger Editorial Board, which accused him of “a history of misfires … when he was in the State Assembly.” The hysteria and hyperbole are classic scare tactics for the ignorant:

“When he was in the state Assembly, Jack Ciattarelli voted against banning 50 caliber weapons, those military-grade exterminators that can sever limbs and puncture armor. These are the weapons of choice for urban warfare, and a skilled sniper can use it to take down light armored vehicles, helicopters, or even a taxiing airplane — from nearly a mile away. Ciattarelli also voted against background checks for private gun sales … Ciattarelli voted against reducing magazine capacities from 15 to 10. He still wants to move it back to 15, because freedom. And, presumably, to give shooters the kind of firepower one needs for combat or for maximum bloodshed: Large-capacity magazines were designed for the battlefield, to help a soldier spray more bullets without reloading or being a skilled marksman.”

The acronym “PSH” comes to mind.

The one confirmed upset was truck driver Ed Durr beating “the longest-serving State Senate president in New Jersey history … on a shoestring budget.”

For his part, defeated Sen. Steve Sweeney in 2015 threatened to call the State Police on legislators absent for the vote against then Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of a bill that would have added unnecessary and discriminatory burdens on citizens seeking to clear certain mental health records for the restoration of their right to own a gun.

And the catalyst for Durr getting involved?

He said that he was motivated to run for Sweeney’s state Senate seat in 2021 by anger over being denied a concealed carry gun permit… “I was told flat-out by the local sheriff, ‘Don’t even bother.’ And that kind of angered me,” said Durr. “I’ve never been arrested and I couldn’t get a concealed carry? … That really angered me, so I looked into what can you do to get into politics.”

Contrary to “moderate” Republican aversion to embracing the right to arms head-on, firearms freedoms have proven to be powerful motivators for getting out the vote. Those who would suppress taking an unequivocal stand seem oblivious to the demonstrable fact that the most powerful human motivator for real progress is not coercion or fear, but a positive incentive. That’s what built this country and turned it into the place the rest of the world wants to come to and feed off of.

Gun owners have been discouraged by candidates who want those votes but treat them like “those people” and their rights like an embarrassing and irrelevant afterthought – as if the “class” that looks down its nose at flyover Americans and the media are the ones who matter. It’s not so much good that Youngkin won as that McAuliffe lost, but a repeat performance for other candidates is not guaranteed if party pundits and campaign advisors keep giving gun owners reasons not to get excited.

“I was promised in his campaign office that [Youngkin] would be the most pro-gun Governor in Virginia history, and I intend to keep him to it,” AmmoLand Correspondent John Crump writes. Hopefully, that’s what will happen. Still, it’s not unfair to wonder how much more decisive his win could have been if he had made such a pledge repeatedly early on and throughout his campaign, and the effect that could have on the course future Republican candidates are being told to take.

Afterword: As this piece was being finalized, news came out that his political enemies have dug up an old tweet by Ed Durr where he expressed his unvarnished feelings about Islam. What word they would use to describe a man who married a young child is left unaddressed. The object here is for Democrats to stir up “hate” allegations, disenfranchise Durr voters, drive the newcomer out, and seize back the usurped power their arrogance and corruption just let slip through their fingers.

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

David Codrea


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