The 2023 election was another disappointing affair for Republicans. Kentucky and Ohio both produced results that should leave the GOP questioning what changes need to be made before the all-important 2024 election arrives.
With that said, there were some bright spots. Specifically, in Virginia, Republicans showed a surprising level of strength despite falling short of taking the legislature. That’s probably not what you are getting from the headlines this morning, but the numbers show an overperformance by the Glenn Youngkin-led GOP there.
The most stunning stat shows that Republicans won every single seat in districts rated up to Biden +9.
In Virginia tonight, Republicans won every Trump seat and single digits Biden seat.— Political Election Projections (@tencor_7144) November 8, 2023
However, they needed 3 double digit Biden seats in the House and 1 in the Senate for a trifecta. Proved to be too tough for them and Dems narrowly win both chambers.
There are some on the right who are absconding from that information because they don’t like Youngkin and view him as a threat to their wing of the party. They are misleading people.
The reality is that because of a redistricting effort by Democrats that occurred just before Youngkin took power, actually taking the Virginia legislature was always a long shot. There is no denying, though, that Republicans made a very strong push to do so on Tuesday and could be reasonably described as having overperformed. That’s been a rarely used word regarding Republicans the last several election cycles.
At some point, the electoral realities of a state come into play. Youngkin’s win in 2021 was astonishing, but it was not a new baseline. Virginia is a blue state. That’s largely because its northern portion is heavily populated with federal employees, a demographic that is overwhelmingly liberal.
Ultimately, Virginia may just be a bridge too far, but the trends we saw were positive for Republicans. That shouldn’t be taken away from Youngkin. What that means for him going forward, I can’t say. Perhaps he will run for the U.S. Senate in 2026, or perhaps he’ll try to run for president in 2028, but the idea that his political career ended last night because he didn’t pull off a miracle in a blue state is dishonest.
If Republicans took the strategy from Virginia last night and replicated it nationwide, they’d win in a landslide in 2024. That’s not the message a lot of influencers and commentators on the right are going to tell you because they have other interests at play. The numbers speak for themselves, though. When you are winning every district up to those with a double-digit Democrat advantage, you are doing something right.