Suburban homes in San Marcos, Calif., in 2020. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

The Virginia lesson: Conservatism can’t win the future by romanticizing the past or falsifying the present.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE R epublicans won the governor’s race in Virginia, and turned New Jersey into a nail-biter, by surging in the suburbs. That’s already become the conventional wisdom of the 2021 cycle, and in this case it’s wise to follow the convention. If you compare how the Virginia and New Jersey suburbs performed this year to how they voted for president last year, the shift is unmistakable. Royal-blue inner suburbs became light-blue. Violet neighborhoods shaded into purple. Light-red exurbs turned bright crimson.

Because Virginia and New Jersey hold their gubernatorial races in odd-numbered years, and conveniently close to the nation’s political and media capitals,

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