Should-Read: Liz Mair: Gillespie's Losing Battle: "7 reasons Republican Ed Gillespie lost so stunningly in Virginia to lackluster Democrat Ralph Northam...

...Washington Free Beacon editor Sonny Bunch quipped on the day of the election that 'For Virginians, the question today is simple: would you rather have the CEO of MS-13 as governor, or the guy who hunts minorities for sport?' At the time, the tweet probably just elicited giggles from the 1,200 people who favorited it and the further 300-some who retweeted it, but in hindsight, it's clear that Bunch had made an astute observation. This race, between two basically nice guys who were far less objectionable on spec to basically all voters than, say, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, had degenerated into extreme nastiness and focused on things that did not motivate the people Gillespie needed....

In the waning days of the campaign, every piece of pro-Gillespie mail I–a reliable Republican voter, first of all, but also one of a moderate-libertarian disposition who votes on economic issues pretty much alone–received was heavily focused, if not exclusively, on MS-13 and immigration. Every. Single. One. Every single pro-Gillespie TV ad I saw between Sunday night and Tuesday morning was focused on MS-13. Every. Single. One. And I am not a Fox News viewer–this was on CNN, CNBC and MSNBC.

Nearly nothing about taxes. (There were very minor mentions in some of the mail pieces I received.) Nothing about spending or the state budget. Nothing about regulation. Nothing about health care, which early exit polls showed was the biggest concern of voters. For Northern Virginians who vote on pocketbook issues–and that would be a lot of us in the vote-rich D.C. suburbs who really want lower taxes–no real sale was being made. It was a surprisingly massive microtargeting #fail for a former head of the RNC under President George W. Bush, especially when Northam basically said nothing about taxes, leaving the possibility that he wouldn't seek to raise them if elected.

It also made Gillespie look inauthentic, which of course in his 2017 candidate version, he was, as Trump correctly alluded to in his election night tweeting. Does anyone really believe that an establishment Bush guy from up North really was that concerned about immigration and Confederate monuments? Nope...

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