Northam and the GOPe
There is a lesson from the scandal of moonwalking Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.) being photographed in either a KKK hood and sheet or blackface in his medical school yearbook.
In 2017, Northam decisively defeated Ed Gillespie for governor, 54 to 45. (As an aside, Bill Kristol backed Northam.) In that race, the Democrats played the race card for all it was worth, while Gillespie was as hapless as a deer in the headlights.
This should not be a surprise. Democrats do what Democrats do: play to win at any cost. And establishment Republicans do what establishment Republicans do: lose "gracefully." To be sure, Gillespie is a dyed-in-the-wool establishment Republican. His bio says he's a political strategist and lobbyist. He served as the chairman of the Republican National Committee from 2003 to 2005, was counselor to the president from 2007 to 2009 during the presidency of George W. Bush, and was a cofounder with Karl Rove in Crossroads GPS.
Not only was Gillespie inept in his race with Northam, but the question arises: how could his campaign's research team not have unearthed that racist photo of Northam? A school yearbook is as good as a public record. As incompetent as they may be, it is hard to believe that the Gillespie team did not know about that photo. In my opinion, the logical conclusion is that they had it but were afraid to use it.
What is the result? So far, it's that Virginia has an abortion extremist as governor who celebrates and defends infanticide. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
And why did Gillespie behave in such a way? In my opinion, because for him to fight, it would mean getting his hands dirty, although it is hard to see what is dirty about exposing Northam as a hypocrite with miserable judgment. Gillespie was probably terrified that the Democratic media would crucify him if he released such a photo. For exposing a racist, he would be labeled a racist. Unfortunately, Gillespie was not man enough to stand up to potential scurrilous attacks. After all, the man's formative years in politics taught him to kowtow to the media. He does it well. Too bad Gillespie won the GOP nomination in the first place.
Here, Gillespie is following the path blazed by John McCain, Mitt Romney, and other Republicans in lesser races. Recall that McCain not only refused to make an issue of Obama's 20-year affiliation with the notorious racist Rev. Jeremiah Wright, but shouted down in temper-tantrum manner anyone who broached the subject. As for Romney, he was content to lose his race against Obama in what he considered a gentlemanly fashion.
None of these establishment Republicans cares that much about winning. Yes, they would rather win than lose, but not if they really have to fight for the prize. A cynic would say the only time the GOPe is willing to fight hard is when facing a primary challenge by a conservative. Then, on cue, the media applaud. This is why Donald Trump sticks in the Republican establishment's craw. Trump is a fighter. Trump is a winner. Trump takes what the media dish out and feeds it back to them in spades. They hate that Trump shines while they cower.
Hopefully, Trump will serve as an example for a new breed of Republicans. The president has made their work somewhat easier by the way he has so discredited the fake new media. Now others have to pick up the standard. Trump can't MAGA all by himself. The Democrats certainly won't help, and as we can see after two years into the Trump presidency, most establishment Republicans don't have their hearts in it, either.