With several days to reflect on the splash and fin at America’s elbow, it would appear there is a monster under the surface. What happened in Virginia – three top posts and House of Delegates tipping Republican, Democrats tipping left, plus in New Jersey – has big meaning.
Pundits on the left attack their own candidates, framing Republican victories – including a patriotic former Marine, Black, female Lieutenant Governor in Virginia – as “White Supremacy.” That is nonsense.
The Progressives in Congress argue Democrats did not go far enough left, did not defend Marxist Critical Race Theory, socialist concentration of power, higher taxes, big spending, open borders, mandates, intentional swap of liberty for federal benefits.
A better read is that the Democrat Party is lost, divided, and fumbling, moderates silenced, cowed, caught between speaking their mind in defense of common sense and fearing their own left.
Reflecting on the true causes of these upsets, several facts are obvious. They do not decide the future but will strongly influence 2022 and 2024.
First, leftists – and moderate Democrats permitting them to savage the party’s brand – do not understand where America is, or how fundamentally sick most Americans are of being told what to do, told to be quiet, let experts decide their fate, suffer health, tax, safety, education, religious, speech, self-defense, and welfare-affecting mandates, higher spending, taxes, inflation, crime, energy costs, and fear, learn to accept social engineering, redefinition of sexes, end of girls’ sports, and class resentment.
Most Americans – Democrats, Independents, and moderate Republicans, along with the Republican base – are no longer willing to take it. They will not take it from Biden or Harris, the Democrat-led Congress, or Democrat governors, mayors, councils, or school boards.
Down-ballot races in Virginia, New Jersey, and across the country revealed a remarkable – and heartening – consensus, supporting individual freedoms, those of taxpayers and parents, property owners and gun owners, religious, health, employment, Second Amendment, and speech.
The overarching takeaway is that average Americans are tired of being told what to do by arrogant, out-of-touch leaders at every level of government. More, they are becoming active in defense of individual liberties. The Democrat left has awakened a sleeping giant, the American will.
Maybe this was inevitable, coming out of government lockdowns, federal and state mistakes, 2020 violence, 2021 job losses, mixed messaging, bungled, brazen, disrespectful Democrat policies, leaving Americans in Afghanistan, defunding police, disparaging patriots, throwing open US borders, pushing Justice to prosecute the innocent, deploying the FBI against parents as “domestic terrorists.”
But all that was made worse by Democrat leaders indifferent to the American will, lying about core issues – foreign policy and national security to businesses and jobs destroyed by riots, mandates, lack of concern for the average American, average student, parent, employee, taxpayer, and small business.
Even now, the average American – party notwithstanding – is hurting and frustrated. They do not want another handout, mandate, intrusion on their lives, schools, kids’ sports, bathrooms, cost of living, energy supply, ability to purchase groceries, or more threats to be fined, fired, prosecuted, or harassed for exercising basic, traditional, all-American freedoms of speech, worship, assembly, travel, self-defense, and other federally impaired rights. They are done.
That is the real message, one that crosscuts education, taxes, other one-issue missteps by Democrats. The average American is done with federal dictates, dwindling freedom, disrespect for what they, their parents, often grandparents cherished – this nation, one nation under God, Her ideals, hard-won history, inner and outer light, role as a beacon.
What we saw in Virginia, New Jersey, and across the country has an immediate impact, of course. Leaders will change, Congress and Administration will lose their edge, unable to keep imposing socialist, power-concentrating, big spending, and unaccountable policies.
A raft of moderate Democrats will decide to “spend more time with family,” retiring. Retirements will mount in House and Senate, across purple states, where politicians face an uphill battle selling leftism.
Other immediate effects, already playing out, including a predictable turn by leftists to belligerence, no reflection or contrition. Rather than think about what average Americans want, they will double down, take no blame, and make the fault yours. That is what leftists do, blame others reflexively.
Expect a shrill tone within the Democratic party toward each other. Expect core rights and institutions, including the Supreme Court, attacked. Expect higher spending and taxes, class warfare, good people in both parties condemned in the name of leftist purism or utopia.
Bottom line: What occurred last week was not state-specific, not a passing indicator of modest disaffection, not the mistake of a few candidates or good luck of others. It was more fundamental.
Last week’s stunning upsets represent the splash and fin of an enormous social phenomenon, the sort that appears every 40 years, a veritable monster beneath the surface of our seething society, uneasy, restless, yet ready, biding time, and not going away.
The power of a people’s will to be free is, at times, unstoppable. It is at times scary because the people will only put up with so much, then they speak, act, rise as one and reclaim what is theirs, for themselves, their kids, in memory of those who came before, and in defense of their future.
That happened in 1776, more recently in places like the Philippines, Eastern Europe, former Soviet Union in the 1980s. Freedom is a powerful thing, a force that mounts, swallowing those who suppress it. That is the lesson of these elections, caution for Democrats in 2022 and 2024. Americans love freedom.
Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.