On Election Day 2017 with the losses of Ed Gillespie in Virginia and Kim Guandano in New Jersey, the GOP is probably asking themselves right now: “What did we do wrong?”. There are a lot of things the Republicans did wrong this election cycle.
The Republicans Underestimated The Democrats Disgust For Trump
Let’s be honest, all major party candidates in the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia were absolutely despicable. Nobody could genuinely like them, but the people of New Jersey and Virginia hated Trump more then they hated their Democratic nominees. We all know despite campaign promises Kim Guandano wouldn’t have governed much differently than Phil Murphy and the people of New Jersey knew it too.
As Usual, The Tea Party Was Ignored
Per Trumpism, the Tea Party Republicans were ignored during the election cycles. As we have seen with recent Trump agenda moves he and his administration have largely been ignoring the Freedom Caucus, Liberty Caucus and other Tea Party movements within the GOP. The gubernatorial candidates and many state representative candidates in Virginia and New Jersey have used the same strategy. Michael Johns, the co-founder of the Tea party movement himself said it best:
— Michael Johns (@michaeljohns) November 8, 2017
Like it or not, the Tea party is a major movement in the GOP and they aren’t going away anytime soon. Failure to realize it will lead to catastrophic defeats in the future and most likely in 2020 as well.
Gillespie Did Not Embrace “Trumpism” Soon Enough
Many people have suggested that Ed Gillespie did not embrace Trumpism soon enough. Gillespie was quickly endorsed by old establishment neoconservatives like George W. Bush and that further alienated the Tea partiers among other anti-neoconservative Republicans.
In the end, this election in 2017 was not a referendum on Trump as neither candidates truly accepted Trumpism and they did not use many Trumpian tactics. They ignored the Tea Party, embraced traditional “swamp thing” values and budded noses with the elite of the Republican Party. These Republicans were in practice, no different then the people they were running against. If the GOP wants to win in more elections they need to start engaging with the Tea Party and stop rubbing noses with the elite neoconservatives that everyone reveres.