Columns

Why Glenn Youngkin Will Be Virginia's Next Governor

Kate Magee Joyce/Youngkin for Governor Campaign via AP

It was nearly 30 years ago, amazingly. The freshly retired president of the United States of America grabbed my hand as if he was really hungry and it was a delicious steak.

“I’m Ronald Reagan,” he said. As If. 

Ronnie and I set about having a great day together, which I will never forget. The details of that day are a tale for another time, which I will enthusiastically tell when I feel like it.

But today I am talking about Glenn Youngkin, the Republican nominee for governor of Virginia. 

Civility is something that seems to have been lost on us. I mention President Reagan here for a reason. As dear friends such as the esteemed reporter (and my neighbor) Paul Clancy have reported, he was well known for fighting with adversaries such as Tip O’Neill by day and then sipping a cocktail jovially with him by night.

Where is this civility? Where are we now, as David Bowie asked us in his final days?

This gets us back to Glenn Youngkin, the civility-minded self-made millionaire who just might change not just the Commonwealth of Virginia, but our nation itself.

Glenn Youngkin may well redefine the Republican Party and help us re-learn what we are all about.

His ads are genius. “I know what it is like to struggle, and I want to make your life better,” is what he says, essentially. 

And who among us couldn’t use a little “better”? It reminds me of 1980 when I waited in line for gas with my mom on the way to school and wondered where we were headed. And then came Ronnie.

I paid very little attention to Youngkin in the beginning. In fact, I wrote to trusted friends—two of the sharpest political minds alive—suggesting he was toast. Terry McAuliffe’s Putinesque return to power was as inevitable as the sunrise on my eastern Virginia beach.

“I’m not so sure,” said one friend. “Hold your fire.”

And now, seeing Youngkin’s brilliant ads and how he is comporting himself in the face of Terry McAuliffe’s angry and well-funded attacks, I think my friends are correct.

He’s going to win. Amazing but true. Terry McAuliffe is a good guy. Seeing him walk into The Palm is a wonder to behold. And I respect him. But another term as my governor? No thank you.