How do they pull out of this slump? Should we care?
The answer to the first question is: Republicans have no idea and don’t appear interested in or capable of taking suggestions.
Maybe that’s to be expected after the powerful and repeated shellackings the GOP has taken in Virginia over the last decade.
A political party in the midst of such a painful and prolonged decline is not new. Virginia Democrats have their own tales to tell about life in the wilderness — and how to get out.
Republicans, though, don’t seem interested in such lessons. Instead, they’ve lashed themselves to the mast of a plague ship that’s heading for the rocks.
Just how bad is the Virginia brand of Republicanism now? Consider the story of how a “cabal of local Republican Party apparatchiks” engineered former Campbell County supervisor Bob Good’s victory over 5th Congressional District Rep. Denver Riggleman.
Riggleman committed the mortal sin of presiding at the wedding of two men — conservatives. And then rightly refused to apologize for it.
All that aside, it’s important to remember the New Jersey-size 5th District was designed to elect a Republican.
But Good’s weird brand of revanchist Republicanism makes it impossible to rule out an upset.
In the neighboring 7th Congressional District, Republicans have yet to choose a nominee to face Abigail Spanberger in November, though they will do so in a "walk-up” convention July 18.
Like the 5th, the 7th District was designed to elect a Republican to Congress, and it managed to do so until Spanberger defeated incumbent Dave Brat in 2018.
Brat has retreated to the friendly confines of Liberty University, and Spanberger has done exactly what she needs to do to hold on in November.
Meanwhile, as Brandon Jarvis reports, the Republicans contending for their party’s nomination are busy making themselves and their campaigns toxic.
And a special mention goes to Del. Nick Freitas, who, for the second consecutive election, didn’t file very important campaign paperwork ensuring he could appear on the ballot.
Fortunately for Freitas — whose paperwork snafu forced him to run for reelection in 2019 as a write-in candidate — and 5th District nominee Bob Good (who also forgot to file his ballot access forms) the state Board of Elections voted 2-1 to give both “scofflaws” a little extra time to get right with the law.
But again, the 7th is designed to elect a Republican — if said Republican is mildly competent and somewhat respectable. This crew is trailing badly on both counts.
Of course, they aren’t campaigning under legal clouds like 2nd Congressional District GOP nominee Scott Taylor is.
The former incumbent, who lost to Rep. Elaine Luria (D) in 2018, switched from a Senate race he wasn’t going to win to a House rematch he hopes to win. All the while, the investigation into the Taylor campaign’s effort to get a third party on the ballot in the 2018 race is still underway.
Republicans could have said “no thanks” to a Taylor candidacy. But they didn’t.
And maybe that, plus what’s happening in the 5th and 7th Congressional districts, answers the “should we care?” question about Virginia Republicans.
They don’t seem to care. Maybe we shouldn’t, either.