October 22, 2021

Virginia Governor’s Race

“President Joe Biden is set to return to Virginia for his second campaign stop with fellow Democrat Terry McAuliffe as the state’s closely watched race for governor enters its final stretch.” AP News

“Democrat Terry McAuliffe launched his campaign for governor of Virginia last year at a public school to tout his education plan. But in the final days of an unexpectedly tight race, it's his opponent, Republican Glenn Youngkin, whose closing message is all about schools… debates over race and history have roiled school districts across the country, with a particular hot spot in the exurbs of Northern Virginia.” NBC News

As of early Friday morning, McAuliffe leads by 1.8 percent according to RealClearPolitics and 2.2 percent according to FiveThirtyEight. RealClearPolitics, FiveThirtyEight

Here’s our prior coverage of the election. The Flip Side

See past issues

From the Left

The left is concerned about McAuliffe’s prospects and argues that small groups of parents should not be able to dictate curricula decisions.

Youngkin has one key advantage in this race: timing. Virginia’s gubernatorial contests always take place a year after the presidential election — and the party that loses the presidency often performs well in Virginia’s governor race. As others have pointed out, in 10 out of the last 11 gubernatorial elections in Virginia, the party that won the presidency lost Virginia’s governorship a year later…

“This pattern is neither mystical nor coincidental — it’s part of a predictable political cycle. As a new president advances his agenda, he often energizes his opponents, placates his base and alienates swing voters… [but] The Democratic base is simply bigger than the GOP base in Virginia. If Democrats turn out and stay loyal — both of which are big IFs — Youngkin may find it difficult to put together a majority.”
David Byler, Washington Post

The model for McAuliffe's team has been California Gov. Gavin Newsom's successful effort to defeat a Republican-led recall election against him last month. Sean Clegg, a senior strategist for Newsom, notes that when the recall campaign began, polls showed both that Democrats were paying much less attention than Republicans and that Californians split about evenly between positive and negative attitudes toward the governor…

“Yet Newsom ultimately won decisively, with about 62% of the state voting against the recall and turnout so high, even in the unusual September election, that he actually totaled more votes than he did in his initial 2018 victory. Clegg says one word, above all, explains how Newsom recovered: Trump…

“No defeated president has ever been as visible immediately after his term ended as Trump -- nor hinted so quickly that he intends to seek the job again in the next election… Out of office and off the ballot, Trump's influence still looms.”
Ronald Brownstein, CNN

Regarding schools, “there are legitimate concerns today about whether some school districts are distorting American history in an overreaction to the mistakes of the past. But there also are legitimate concerns about some Republicans stoking a ‘parental rights’ movement for political gain, furthering cultural divisions. By their telling, a cabal of school administrators and teachers have sidelined parents from critical decisions including mask wearing, sex education and the teaching of U.S. history…

“What that rhetoric overlooks is that parents are embedded in public education. They elect members of the school board, as well as the lawmakers who fund the schools. They sit on the advisory committees that formulate policy and practices, and they give public testimony before decisions are made. They volunteer in schools, and they communicate their concerns and their children’s needs to teachers…  

No question that parents should have a say in the education of their children, but individual parents can’t dictate that schools teach what they want. Allowing one parent — or a group of parents — to bully, threaten and intimidate school officials into their way of thinking is not what our democracy is about. And it is not what learning should be about.”
Editorial Board, Washington Post

From the Right

The right is optimistic about Youngkin’s prospects and credits his focus on education and building a diverse coalition.

The right is optimistic about Youngkin’s prospects and credits his focus on education and building a diverse coalition.

“A new survey released by Monmouth University on Wednesday shows Youngkin has made massive gains among both independents and women over the past month…

“Youngkin’s success thus far is a testament to Republicans' political momentum as the Biden administration’s popularity tanks and congressional Democrats become consumed by party infighting. But it should also serve as a road map for other GOP candidates who desperately need to win back suburban voters in blue areas over the next several years. Youngkin has been able to do that by focusing on the issues these voters care about: education, tax cuts, and job growth

“He has also found an important balance regarding Trump. He’s connected to the president, and he still supports much of Trump’s past agenda. But Trump is not the centerpiece of Youngkin’s campaign, no matter how much McAuliffe would like him to be… This is a balance that Republicans must take with them into 2022 and 2024, especially in swing states. Trump’s policies worked, and his agenda shifted Republican priorities in an important way — but he’s not the one running anymore (not yet, anyway).”
Kaylee McGhee White, Washington Examiner

“How is Youngkin doing it? Monmouth finds that he’s gaining support in red rural areas and holding down McAuliffe’s lead in blue urban areas. A few days ago I wrote that the two have made a bet on how Youngkin’s highwire act with respect to Trump and Trumpism will play with voters…  

“McAuliffe is betting that it’ll alienate both sides of the aisle, proving not Trumpy enough for MAGA fans but too Trumpy for business-class voters. (Especially the latter, which is why Democrats keep accusing Youngkin of being a Trump in Romney-ish clothing.) Youngkin is gambling that the opposite is true, that MAGA voters will find him just Trumpy enough to vote for while the business-class centrists will conclude that he’s sufficiently distinct to take a chance on. Youngkin’s clearly winning that bet right now.”
Allahpundit, Hot Air

“Mr. Youngkin has run on education from the start, promising more accountability, more charter schools, and an end to critical-race indoctrination… [Education] crosses socio-economic lines, giving Republicans the opportunity to peel back crucial suburban voters who helped Joe Biden to the White House. And it crosses racial lines, providing the party a chance to build on gains among blacks, Hispanics and Asian voters…

“Mr. Youngkin in recent weeks scored the endorsement of the Hampton Roads Black Caucus, a decade-old group that supports candidates who work to uplift the black community. National Review reports the group has never endorsed a Republican for governor and backed Mr. McAuliffe in 2013. Its president, Ron Taylor, tells the magazine that HRBC appreciated that Mr. Youngkin (in contrast to Mr. McAuliffe) took ‘every opportunity’ to engage with them. He noted that two of the most important issues to black voters were education and crime… Virginia isn’t an outlier; it’s a road map.”
Kimberley A. Strassel, Wall Street Journal

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