Republicans stand over a suppine donkey this morning and must be asking themselves, “Okay, where do we go from here?” First thing, as always, we study what happened and apply lessons learned. What are those lessons?

1) Political vegans are roadkill- The populace, like it or not, wants red meat. If, in appropriate races, you try to straddle the middle you will be run over by, in the case of New Jersey, a truck driver. It’s the old Patton line of hold them by the nose and kick them in the tail. For our 2022 purposes it’s hold them by the nose with sappy bio spots to bring on board the saccharine conservatives and hit the opponent over the head with well targeted sorties against their wilder PC views or actions. Make your media seem like it was produced by Pol Pot’s PR firm.

2) Wokeness kills- How many times do the Democrats have to learn this? This is still, barely, a center right country. The American people are not yet ready, and may never be, for authoritarian socialism of the identity politics variety. That shows at the polls. As usual, Jim Carville nails the strategic end, “What went wrong is stupid wokeness. Don’t just look at Virginia and New Jersey. Look at Long Island, Buffalo, look at Minneapolis, even look at Seattle, Washington. I mean this ‘defund the police’ lunacy, this take Abraham Lincoln’s name off of schools, people see that. And it really has a suppressive effect on all across the country on Democrats. Some of these people need to go to a woke detox center or something.” Thus the GOP needs to at times act as an agent provocateur to bring up the worst woke tendencies in the Dems. That is a party function, not necessarily the mission of individual candidates.

3) Don’t ignore local issues- It is tempting, given the disaster of the Biden administration, to have a field day focusing on their incompetence. But Glenn Youngkin proved in Virginia that an issue like local education can pay big dividends at the state polls. There are a plethora of targets to choose from for 2022 Republicans. CRT, defund the police, PC statue destruction, Loudoun-like PC coverups, and new Democrat laws that put violent criminals back on the street are just some of the cornucopia of fun awaiting Republican campaigns.

4) Keep Trump at arms length- Again, we look to the successful Youngkin effort. They took the Trump endorsement but didn’t say squat about him. They refused to appear with him and they limited his GOTV role to an online event. And they won. Terry McAuliffe mentioned Trump every other minute and he lost. The lesson? Regardless of the protestations of his own ego, Trump is not all powerful. He’s mainly yesterday’s fish. Used well, he can bring out his base. But they’re not enough by themselves to win elections.