Virginia Is the Test Kitchen for 2020 (and the GOP Has a Big Advantage) – Opinion

It is very close in Virginia’s gubernatorial race. In the RealClearPolitics average, Glenn Youngkin (the Republican candidate) is just two points ahead of Terry McAuliffe (Democrat, former governor of Virginia). Virginia is a solidly blue state, which should be concerning for Democrats.

According to Monmouth’s most recent poll, they have a virtual tie with Youngkin on education.

But there is some other data that isn’t public you might want to be aware of.

First, I have been told by a few sources that 60 to 65% of Americans want Congress to investigate what happened at the Capitol on January 6. That doesn’t necessarily mean that 60-65% of Americans think that this was a definite insurrection attempt, but that there is concern over what happened.

Likewise, I’ve also gathered from a couple of sources that Democratic tracking polls show McAuliffe’s lead growing while some behind the scenes polling in Virginia shows Youngkin overtaking McAuliffe. Assuming that the data is roughly equal, we can assume that the RCP average will hold. McAuliffe is probably currently in the lead, but it’s still very tight.

McAuliffe is focusing his campaign on Donald Trump. McAuliffe has attempted to tie Youngkin to Trump and reminded Virginians about the Charlottesville Riots. He also kicked dust about January 6 to help keep Trump’s name fresh in Virginians minds. He wants to see northern Virginians excited and ready for the election.

This is what the Democrats’ data is showing them gives them the best chance. This is also the Democrats’ strategy in 2022, and Virginia is the testing grounds for it. To have a legislated agenda, the party also wants to address infrastructure issues, voting rights and reconciliation. This is the plan: keep it national. Keep bringing up Trump and juxtapose the “chaos” of his presidency and legacy against their legislative accomplishments.

Youngkin’s campaign, however, is following the old adage that all politics is local. Trump’s campaign isn’t about Trump, and it never has been. Instead they will be focusing on real parental anger at the local school boards. They will do the same in local districts throughout the country to maintain control ahead of 2022 elections. The data shows that there is a lot of anger and the Republicans will take advantage.

AP Photo/Cliff Owen

Yesterday I highlighted that Jen Psaki responds to inflation concerns and supply chain problems with divisiveness, which will alienate voters. It is emblematic of the Democrats’ overall failure to recognize what is happening at the local level. It is believed that Republican activists are causing trouble by provoking opposition to Critical Race Theory, school closures and mask mandates. They will not admit that there is genuine dissatisfaction with public schools and it isn’t just white Republican parents who are feeling it.

Nor do they really understand that inflation and supply chain issues aren’t just upper-class problems. These are issues that affect the lower and middle classes at an even more severe rate. They are convinced that the “real Americans” Republicans point out as hurting from Biden’s policies aren’t real at all.

This is all about to come to an end in Virginia. The Democrats’ best chance to win is to make all those federal employees in northern Virginia stand in solidarity with them and make those national issues really stick. McAuliffe really did anger a lot of parents when he said he didn’t think they should have a say in what is taught in their kids’ schools. I don’t think he or the Democrats understand that yet.

Except for large urban areas in the deep blue states, virtually all of the Democratic Party’s local branches were destroyed during the Obama years. By the time Obama left office, Republicans had more legislative houses, governor’s mansions, and city governments than they’d ever had before. Democrats didn’t have a seat at either the state or local levels. They became so fixated on the national level that they ignored it, thinking they had something of a permanent majority – or at least one that would last longer than four years.

But they didn’t.

Virginia is, in spite of all that, still a blue State. It wasn’t purple going into this gubernatorial season, but the Democrats have focused so hard on the national in this race and failed to understand the issues that drive voters at the local level that they are in a bind. McAuliffe can’t really walk back his statements on parents and schools. He is trying, but it’s not working. Youngkin is leading the charge on education. This is the reason Youngkin is so close to the problem.

It seems that the GOP holds the edge if it comes to national versus local in 2022. A Republican candidate as governor shouldn’t be so close to Virginia, no matter how blue it is. Even if McAuliffe still wins, if it’s within a few points then the Democrats need to panic. Biden took the state by ten votes. A drop in the state’s percentage of 6 points less than one year is considered a negative sign.

About Post Author

Follow Us