The GOP’s silver linings after Virginia election losses

Published November 9, 2023

Washington Post

Tuesday’s off-year elections were clearly disappointing for Republicans. There were nonetheless some silver linings that GOP professionals would be wise to analyze as they prepare for 2024.

These glimmers were especially evident in Virginia, despite Republicans’ failure to capture control of the state Senate and loss of control of the House of Delegates. The heady expectations inspired by Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s efforts masked the underlying realities of winning what remains a Democratic-leaning state. Joe Biden beat Donald Trump here by 10 percentage points, while Youngkin won by less than two. Republicans were always going to have to win a host of seats in districts that Biden carried by large margins — a tough goal in an environment dominated by the abortion rights debate.

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Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, studies and provides commentary on American politics. His work focuses on how America’s political order is being upended by populist challenges, from the left and the right. He also studies populism’s impact in other democracies in the developed world.

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