It’s no secret that the gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey and electoral contests elsewhere came down to the “parent vote” — a bloc that Democrats felt they’ve controlled for decades. The Dems are the “party of education” after all, and the tens of thousands of politically active teachers never let us forget it.
But something happened on Nov. 2 that altered the ground rules and helped the Republicans dominate. And Democrats only have themselves to blame.
The party of lockdowns and school closings didn’t count on parents getting an eyeful of what public schools had been putting into the heads of their children during the pandemic. And parents of all races, all creeds were, in many cases, flabbergasted.
And now that schools are reopening — mostly — parents are being instructed to once again, sit on the sidelines and let the “experts” get back to propagandizing their children.
Not. Going. To. Happen.
Meanwhile, Democrats see the results of elections in Virginia and New Jersey as a fluke and that once parents come to their senses, they will reject the Republicans because of all the “free” goodies that Joe Biden is going to give them.
Chris Taylor, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm for House Democrats, is unconcerned about the Virginia and New Jersey votes and dismisses the GOP challenge for the parents’ vote. “Bring it,” he said.
He said Democrats have plenty to say to education-minded voters, including being the party that “safely reopened schools” and provided stimulus checks to most Americans.
Democrats are looking to expand that even further, he said, seeking to fund universal preschool and some sort of federal paid family leave program as part of President Biden’s $1.75 trillion budget plan.
“Republicans oppose all of it,” he said. “When they try to score political points by making our classrooms a political battlefield, our young people are the ones who lose.”
Just who has made classrooms a “political battlefield” for the last several generations? No one gave permission for radical ideologues to teach revolutionary ideas like critical race theory to children. Nor was any teacher in any school district authorized to alter the English language by eliminating common-usage pronouns to describe gender.
Mr. Taylor actually believes it’s a plus for Democrats that they are so beholden to the teachers’ unions that even after the CDC cleared the schools to reopen, unions threatened to strike rather than go back to in-classroom instruction.
Parents took note of that since it prevented many of them from going back to work and getting on with their lives. That issue alone may sink Democrats nationwide in 2022.
Bryce Smith, chair of the Democratic Party in Dallas County, Iowa admits Democrats have to change the focus of their message to be successful.
“It is so easy for Democrats to say we are the party of public education because we have always supported public education,” Mr. Smith said. “That is not good enough for some voters. That says you are supporting the status quo, and if we learned anything about the last six years is that they don’t want the status quo.”
“It is not what sells,” he said. “So the key is how do we create a message that says we are the party of public education, while also striking a nerve with voters?”
That also may be a clunker with voters. Parents are angry at public education. And to be a party that supports teachers and public education down the line is not going to prove to be very popular in many areas of the country.
It’s difficult to say if this trend toward supporting the GOP in education policy is temporary or not. But it’s going to take more than altering the political message to assuage the anger of parents at how Democrats and their masters in the teachers’ unions have treated them during the pandemic.