After the election, there was much commentary about how the Republican party was headed for oblivion, based on various demographic trends. What this didn’t take into account was that the party just might adjust to the new circumstances. Virginia is a pretty good example of all the trends that were supposed to sink the GOP, and yet Bob McDonnell is thriving there. The Washington Post had a piece about this over the weekend that began:
In the 12 years since James S. Gilmore III last claimed the governor’s mansion for Republicans, Virginia has undergone dramatic demographic changes, becoming more populous, diverse, wealthy and educated. There are almost a million more Virginians; six in 10 are minorities, and 43 percent live in Northern Virginia
Democrats have taken advantage of these changes to claim nearly every major office in the state, but their decade-long run is in jeopardy this year as Republican Robert F. McDonnell appears to be making inroads among suburbanites and minorities through concerted outreach, a message built around quality-of-life issues and a direct embrace of Northern Virginia.
McDonnell’s approach has been apparent throughout the race. He officially launched his campaign with a rally in Annandale, has returned to Northern Virginia repeatedly to target specific minority groups and has used the region as a backdrop for many major policy announcements.