In 2012, Democrats ran a well-coordinated campaign to demonize and distort pro-life candidates as anti-woman misogynists hell-bent on taking away birth control. The Republican response to this line of attack consisted mostly of pivoting away to focus on “jobs” and the “economy.” With rare exceptions, instead of responding, GOP candidates were unwilling to answer the attacks head-on.In order to win elections in the future, Republicans will have to change tactics and better respond to these scurrilous accusations.They had a chance to change things in Virginia in 2013. Going into the Virginia governor’s race, pro-life advocates believed it would be a different ballgame with a strong pro-life leader in Ken Cuccinelli as the GOP nominee. During his career, Cuccinelli was known as a candidate unlikely to back down from a fight and unafraid to counterpunch.
Why the left is strong and the right is sickly when it comes to campaigns Virginia’s 2013 gubernatorial election was much closer than anyone, with the possible exception of Terry McAuliffe’s data team, expected. Rather than the 7-point drubbing the poll averages suggested, it came down to about 55,000 votes out of more than 2 million cast, a 2.5 percent margin.