How to be a GOP candidate in 2021

Man, it isn’t easy.

Nobody ever wrote a playbook for this.

Let’s say you’re a clean-cut businessman (photo) who wants to run for governor in a staid and slightly blue-leaning state (e.g. Virginia) on traditional pro-business issues.

This both gives you an advantage and puts you at a disadvantage. The best thing you have going for you is that the majority of voters aren’t crazy, only a minority of them are. The problem is your party’s voters are the crazy ones. Let’s try to figure this out and see if we can come up with a solution.

First, you keep getting haircuts, shaving, and dressing in suits. This is required, in order to fool the non-crazy voters into thinking you’re a level-headed businessman who will make rational decisions in office if they elect you. That bloc isn’t going to vote for a candidate for dresses in animal skins and wears a horn headdress. Looking like a normal civilized human being might put off some of your voters, but they’ll overlook that if you convince them by what you say that you’re one of them.

How? Well, first, you swear allegiance to Donald Trump and Trumpism (whatever that is). This is essential; if you don’t, you’ll be spit out like a piece of bone in chili. And you pledge to oppose everything Democrats are for, no matter what it is. This includes abortion, of course, but also sensible proposals like red flag laws and universal background checks, even though this may get innocent citizens killed. On those, you just cross your fingers and hope nobody but your base voters will notice.

Okay, now the tightrope walk begins. If you say Trump won and the election was stolen, you alienate swing voters, and fall off to the left. But if you acknowledge that Biden is the legitimate president, you alienate your base voters, and fall off to the right. Either way, it’s a long drop down into the canyon.

But you’re a smart guy, right, or you wouldn’t have come this far. So what you do is dodge, deflect, and equivocate on the question as long as you can, and until after you’ve won the nomination; and then, after Biden is sworn in, and only if you finally have to, you don’t exactly flip-flop but you acknowledge that he does, in fact, appear to be living in the White House, sitting in the Oval Office, and a lot of people are acting like he’s the president. A lot of times, you can get away with pointing to an obvious fact and stating it does appear to be factual.

You also stop talking about abortion, red flag laws, gun checks, and other stuff that turns off suburban women voters, as soon as you can. You say “let’s talk about something else.” And then talk about — what? Here, I’m not real sure what you should do. I suppose you’d talk about cutting taxes, bringing jobs to Virginia, and supporting the police. Yes, you’ll want to talk about that, because that’s why you ran in the first place, isn’t it? I mean, you don’t want to be governor just for the salary.

This being 2021, you’ll have to talk about Covid-19, or some offshoot of it. As a GOP candidate, and with Labor Day approaching, you’re “under pressure to balance [your] appeal to pro-vaccine voters and vaccine skeptics as concerns over the delta variant grow with schools reopening.” So you’ve “strongly encouraged the commonwealth’s voters to get vaccinated, but unlike [your] Democratic [opponent], [you’ve] stopped short of calling for mandates,” because that’s pure poison to your base voters.

So, you go on a rightwing radio show and tell its host and listeners, “I believe that we have to just respect people’s ability to express their liberty to say, no, I’m not going to get this vaccine for whatever reason,” and be selfish jerks infecting others, tying up hospital beds, using up oxygen supplies needed by heart attack patients, and leaving their young children fatherless.

“Complicating matters for [you] is the fact that the Food and Drug Administration [just] formally approved the Pfizer-BioNtech coronavirus vaccine, which [will] give the green light to [more] businesses and local governments [and schools] to require vaccinations” as a condition of getting in the door, as demanded by the broad public who are increasingly fed up with the stupid people who claim vaccines are unsafe and then end up in hospitals after swallowing horse pills and drinking fish tank cleaner.

You don’t want to cater to this stupidity, of course, because then you’ll look stupid — which isn’t a good look in those oh-so-critical suburbs. So you stand tall for “individual liberties and the economy,” and lie by asserting that mandating masks and vaccines constitutes “shutting down everything again,” when the opposite is true — masks and vaccinations make it possible to safely reopen offices, businesses, and schools.

And, of course, you hope that your opponent’s strong push for mandatory masking and vaccinations — the centerpiece of his campaign — does him in. However, wishing and praying may not get you past the polls showing 2-to-1 public support for his position. The reality you face is, “Political watchers on both sides of the aisle say [he] holds the upper hand on the issue because there are simply more moderate- to left-leaning voters in the commonwealth.” And, not surprisingly, he’s leading you in the polls by 50% – 41%. So you’ve got your work cut out for you.

Frankly, if you ask me, the real problem is your timing. This isn’t 1990 or 2006; you’re trying to be a GOP candidate in 2021. Your base voters have changed; they want racist fascist revolutionaries who will overthrow the government and execute liberals, not clean-cut rational businessmen who will create jobs and reduce business regulations.

So, there really is no good way to be a GOP candidate in 2021. If you dress up in animal skins and assault the Capitol (and police), you’ll lose. If you don’t cater to the anti-vax horse pill and bleach enema crowd, you’ll lose.

But you’ll still have your money ($300 million, more or less), and can look forward to enjoying retirement in your Potomac River mansion.

Read story here.

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  1. Mark Adams #

    If the Virginia governor race ends up being a one or two issue centering around Covid it may all come down to timing. If the current governor really just wants to force people to take the vaccine voters are not dumb and will recognize and dislike the coercion. He would be better off having citizens lined up for forced vaccines. W are getting closer to fall and it is going to bea wet fall on the east coast this is likely to help Covid and flu. If the state is doing coercive things and it is not containing covid that helps the opponents. Red flag laws and universal background checks are not going to sway voters in Virginia and taken to be of importance will give the Republican candidate votes.
    Frankly as most elections it is not o much what the opponent does but what the Governor does as incumbency is the strongest card in any American politicians pocket except when people are fed up and willing to throw all the rascals out.
    Plenty of time for the current Gov to commit political hari-kari. Things beyond the govs control reveal the knife is on the floor.

  2. Roger Rabbit #

    There is no incumbent in the 2021 Virginia governor’s race. Your comments about forced vaccinations and coercion are non-factual. No governor has ordered citizens to get vaccinated.

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