MATTHEWS: In the Culture Wars, the GOP Now Has the Advantage

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, front center, delivers his State of the Commonwealth address while House Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, top center, Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears, left, and President Pro Tem Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, right, listen before a joint session of the Virginia General Assembly in the House chambers at the Capitol, Monday Jan. 17, 2022, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

One topic that is frequently discussed in Republican circles is how we can gain the upper hand in the ongoing culture wars. 

Up until a couple of years ago, it felt like the GOP was losing on a number of fronts. Thanks to coordinated efforts between Democrats, the media, Hollywood, and, of course, activist judges on the left, we were losing ground on issues related to gender identity politics, defunding the police, cancel culture, and the teaching of Critical Race Theory in public school classrooms. 


But thanks to a combination of factors — including the more radical elements of the Democratic party and a fine-tuned Republican messaging strategy — things are changing to the point that the GOP now has the advantage. 

We saw this first play out during the 2020 presidential election. House Democrats took a drubbing, losing 13 seats. Even though they maintained their majority, it was a very slim one compared to the one Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) started with before the election.  

The culprit? Their embrace of the Defund the Police movement during the Antifa/Black Lives Matter-led protests that took place over the summer in response to the officer-involved death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd. 

Many of the anti-police protests devolved into violent rioting and looting, which played out on national TV at the same time Pelosi and other House Democrats, including admitted socialist Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), were adding fuel to the fire by trashing police officers and, in AOC’s case, amplifying the case for diverting money from police departments to social workers. 

In ads, House Republicans reminded voters of the Democrat ties to the far-left Defund the Police movement every chance they got. The results of House elections in 2020 spoke for themselves. 

As the 2022 midterm election campaign season begins to heat up, the same “Defund the Police” Democrats including AOC and another so-called “Squad” member — Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) — are doubling down on defund the police efforts, with Bush recently declaring in an interview with Axios that “‘Defund the police’ is not the problem.” 

“We dangled the carrot in front of people’s faces and said we can get it done and that Democrats deliver, when we haven’t totally delivered,” she continued, apparently unaware that every reputable poll taken on defunding the police shows diverse groups opposing the idea, including African-Americans, the Latino community, and Asian-Americans. 

A similar backlash is occurring against CRT, which we saw play out in a big way in Virginia with their November 2021 red wave as voters rejected Terry McAuliffe’s bashing of parents who were simply expressing concern over what their children were being taught in school. 

Cancel culturalists, too, are facing setbacks as high-profile public figures such as the popular podcaster Joe Rogan, comedian Dave Chappelle, and “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling simply refuse to be canceled in the face of leftist backlash to their comments about the coronavirus vaccine (Rogan) and transgender issues (Chappelle and Rowling), respectively. 

Transgender “women” athletes crushing records in women’s sports is also forcing people into rethinking their position on allowing men who identify as women to compete in women’s sports. You’d think this one would be a no-brainer, but bizarrely there are still plenty of holdouts. 

Per a recent Politico article, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is keenly aware of the issues they face going into the fall elections, and they have warned House Democrats that the “GOP’s ‘alarmingly potent’ culture war attacks” are poised to inflict more damage if Democrats can’t formulate a coherent response to them. 

Unless they can figure out how to keep the AOCs and Cori Bushes of their party quiet, not to mention limit Joe Biden’s public appearances, no amount of slick messaging is going to change what is expected to happen to Democrats come November. 

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