MATTHEWS: Welcome back home to the red state family, Virginia

Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin arrives to speak at an election night party in Chantilly, Va., early Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, after he defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

A part of me chuckles when I hear “political experts” opine, as they have over the last few years, that for Republicans the state of Virginia has been “lost,” that there is no turning back as NOVA Democrats expand their footprint into the state.

“Horse poop!” I usually respond, in those exact words, knowing that while Virginia has indeed trended blue over the last decade or so that all hope was not lost.

All hope is never lost, even in entrenched blue states like California, where the uphill climb is even steeper, as long as you believe “the impossible” could happen, as long as you set your mind to doing your part to make it happen.

It’s made even more possible when you have an army of people who believe as you do, that it can be done, that it will be done, that it must be done.

In Virginia, such an army existed in the form of angry, determined parents and similarly concerned citizens across the state — joined together in opposition to the “woke” agendas of the progressive left. They were radical agendas that manifested themselves in Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe, a man who was once the governor of the state, from 2014 to 2018, and who wanted it again, thinking no matter who the Republicans put up in opposition that it would be a cakewalk back into the Governor’s Mansion.

It wasn’t.

Especially not after that now-infamously fateful moment during a late September gubernatorial debate when McAuliffe admitted on live TV, as he sparred with Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin on education, that “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Remarkably, McAuliffe then doubled down — repeatedly doubled down — on the declaration in the weeks that followed, while also insinuating that parents who were concerned about the implementation of Critical Race Theory in public school classrooms in Virginia were “racists.”

Who wins elections by insulting and calling half the electorate in their state “racists” simply because they’ve expressed reservations about the controversial curriculums that their children are being subjected to?

No one does, as McAuliffe found out the hard way last Tuesday when Glenn Youngkin did “the impossible” and defeated him. And that was only part of the lovely red wave that swept the state, with Republican lieutenant governor nominee Winsome Sears also winning, Republican AG nominee Jason Miyares being victorious, and the House of Delegates flipping back to red.

It was a fabulous night all the way around for Republicans in the state, with Democrats immediately pointing fingers and playing the blame game. Some angrily blamed “white women” for McAuliffe’s loss while others suggested that a lack of movement on the infrastructure and reconciliation bills in Congress hurt them at the ballot box.

In reality, it was those dreaded culture wars that cost them the state, wars that outraged parents mightily in what independent writer Andrew Sullivan correctly dubbed as the moment “the woke met their match: parents.”

Yes, those “dumb culture war” issues that social conservatives are sometimes told don’t matter and that supposedly “cost us elections” do indeed matter in the scheme of things. Conservatives of all backgrounds should stop bickering amongst each other as to whether these battles should even be fought and instead join together in fighting them.

Virginia just confirmed we can win them with hard work and a determination to see them through. Now let’s get to doing it in other states, as well. There’s no better time than the present to start laying the groundwork to follow in Virginia’s footsteps.

Media analyst Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.