News & Politics

Glenn Youngkin's Win Officially Ends the Clinton Era in American Politics

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Virginia Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin was fond of claiming on the campaign trail that he would end Terry McAuliffe’s 43-year political career. He did so Tuesday night in emphatic fashion, after McAuliffe ran a tone-deaf, smug campaign in a blue state.

 

We should not forget that McAuliffe’s role in Virginia politics was mostly due to his close friendship with Bill and Hillary Clinton.

McAuliffe was co-chairman of the former president’s 1996 reelection campaign, chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2001-05, and chairman of Hillary Clinton’s failed 2008 presidential campaign.

McAuliffe was a proud surrogate for Hillary in 2016, while Bill held a fundraiser for the former governor just two months ago.

Did it help at the ballot box? Not recently.

Only a small group of Clinton’s inner circle and cabinet succeeded in their bids for elected office.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich lost in the Massachusetts gubernatorial primary in 2002. Former Attorney General Janet Reno ran for governor of Florida in 2002 but lost in the primary. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala lost her congressional re-election race last year.

Former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson won two terms as governor of New Mexico, but withdrew from consideration to be Barack Obama’s commerce secretary due to corruption.

And you may recall a former Housing and Urban Development secretary named Andrew Cuomo.

Bill and Hillary are now afterthoughts in today’s party, which is run by Ron Klain, Bernie Sanders, and Pramila Jayapal.

Hillary’s career ended ignominiously, as perhaps the only candidate who could lose to Donald Trump in a general election. Bill’s philandering is frowned upon today more than ever in the #MeToo era.

George Stephanopoulos may still work at ABC, but other than that, the Clinton era of U.S. politics is as over as the O.J. Simpson trial and Netscape Navigator.

Youngkin ran a near-perfect race, reclaiming suburban women Trump lost, keeping working class voters, and compiling a durable coalition.

McAuliffe’s embarrassing Nov. 2 defeat closes the book on the Clinton era — finally.

Related: Terry McAuliffe’s Lackluster, Bad-Faith Finish