“Virginia’s a conservative state, and when we stick up for our beliefs, and our values, and our principles … we win elections,” said Mullins, according to The Washington Post. “When we choose to run like Democrats, we lose elections because we haven’t given anybody a choice.”
Mullins’s assertion, even with latitude given for the rah-rah circumstances of a party rally, confounds many longtime observers of Old Dominion politics.
“Their election analysis is a predictable one-note samba,” said University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato. “It’s never their issues or their inclusiveness. Therefore, the solution is always to look for a better messenger for hard-core conservatism, ignoring the hard reality that some of their message, especially on social issues, is alienating large segments of the population in an increasingly diverse and moderate state.”
“There’s this tremendous disconnect,” commented one Richmond Republican hand of how the GOP has become more conservative even as Democrats have won two presidential races, two of the last three gubernatorial contests and both Senate seats. “It seems that both in Virginia and nationally the movement conservatives are getting more and more rabid and less enthralled with establishment conservatives like George Allen and more into the crusaders.”