On Tuesday, Republicans across America swept to stunning victory in a historic rout that placed Republicans in control of the House of Representatives by the largest margin since 1928, brought them into control of governorships in a myriad of blue states, and left them in control of the Senate by a wide margin.
The lack of terrible candidates and the focus on key conservative issues – illegal immigration, health care, and foreign policy – drove Republicans to victory. The unpopularity of Democratic policymaking in leftist states ranging from Massachusetts to Illinois to Maryland spelled the election of GOP governors. Good governance in Republican states meant re-election in Wisconsin for Scott Walker and a devastating defeat for leftist abortion hero Wendy Davis in Texas. State legislatures across the country switched from Democrat to Republican.
Meanwhile, key Senate races swung Republican. Ed Gillespie almost pulled a historic upset against Mark Warner in Virginia; Scott Brown nearly pulled off an upset against Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire. And then the Republican wave truly began, from North Carolina to Colorado, from Iowa to Georgia.
The result: Republicans in control of Congress, states going red, and Democrats in retreat.
Now the question: what should conservatives do? The truth is that Republican victory does not necessarily mean conservative victory – in order for conservatives to truly win, conservative ideas must now permeate both governance and culture. That means pushing for conservative policies, and not caving to leftist notions like comprehensive immigration reform, massive budget packages, or defense cuts. Conservatives should stump for single-issue bills, written in easily-accessible language. They should force the Senate to take them up, and force President Obama to either veto them or greenlight them.
The time for change has come. The question remains: what kind of change will conservatives fight for?