Reformation or Rebellion? Virginia Republicans are looking to reshape the GOP – let our expert explain if it can be done.

Reformation or Rebellion? Virginia Republicans are looking to reshape the GOP – let our expert explain if it can be done.

June 3, 20212 min read

Republicans are facing a political dilemma:

Embrace former President Donald Trump and enjoy full party support, however, expect to lose favor with "never Trumpers" and moderate voters.

  • Or … reject Trump to appeal to voters but face the sling, arrows and potential primary challenges of a vengeful Trump base.

It seems like a lose/lose situation for the GOP, and it has been the topic of much conversation and media coverage.

In Virginia, the stakes are high politically and The Washington Post recently spoke with UMW’s Stephen Farnsworth about this very situation.

Virginia Republicans who oppose or criticize Trump are being shunned or sidelined within the party, said Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington, while those who embrace him struggle to win statewide elections or suburban swing districts.

The next test in Virginia will come this fall, when GOP gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin, who embraced Trump and won the former president’s endorsement, will compete against the winner of the June 8 Democratic primary.

“At the moment, these three former members of Congress are more like voices crying in a Republican wilderness,” Farnsworth said. “Will the party come around to their way of thinking? I think a lot depends on the success or failure of Republican candidates who are all in in their support of former president Trump. If Republicans get swept again in statewide elections, the arguments offered by Riggleman and Comstock and Rigell may make more sense to some of the die-hard activists.” May 22 – Washington Post

There’s never a dull day inside or outside of party politics in America. And with mid-terms on the horizon and high expectations for 2024, the moves Republicans make with or without Trump could carry high consequences.

And if you are a journalist following these developments within the Republican Party in Virginia or throughout the country, then let us help.

Dr. Stephen Farnsworth is a sought-after political commentator on presidential politics. He has been widely featured in national media, including The Washington Post, Reuters, The Chicago Tribune and MSNBC.

Dr. Farnsworth is available to speak with media any time. Simply click on his icon to arrange an interview today.

Connect with:
  • Stephen Farnsworth
    Stephen Farnsworth Professor of Political Science and International Affairs

    Dr. Farnsworth has spent decades researching how media and politics intersect. Check out his website at

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