My adopted state of Virginia has grown increasingly blue over the past few decades. Once a predictably red state, the Old Dominion voted for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden, and Democrats recently took both the Senate and the House of Delegates. But even with the population in the blue Washington, D.C., suburbs of Northern Virginia increasing, Republican Glenn Youngkin has a decent chance of winning the governor’s race this upcoming November.
Youngkin, a businessman, is faring surprisingly well against former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.), who is running for re-election after the constitutionally mandated four-year hiatus between terms. In the Democratic primary, McAuliffe ran as the safer, more established choice. His high approval ratings in 2018 essentially gave him a lock on the Democratic nomination from the beginning.
Yet Youngkin has already shown himself up for the challenge. A recent poll from JMC Analytics and Polling found Youngkin a mere four percentage points behind McAuliffe, 42 percent to 46 percent, with 12 percent of likely voters undecided. That’s a lot narrower than Biden’s 10-percentage-point victory over former President Donald Trump last November. In fact, McAuliffe’s lead of 4 percent fell within the margin of error, 4.2 percent.
Another poll, from WPA Intelligence, found McAuliffe ahead of Youngkin by a mere 2 points, 48 percent to 46 percent. Again, the Democrat’s lead fell well within the margin of error, 4 percent.
These polls suggest that Virginians who voted for Biden may be considering pulling the lever for a Republican endorsed by the Bad Orange Man himself, Donald Trump.
“Glenn is pro-Business, pro-Second Amendment, pro-Veterans, pro-America, he knows how to make Virginia’s economy rip-roaring, and he has my Complete and Total Endorsement!” Trump said as Youngkin clinched the nomination in May. “Glenn is running against Bill Clinton’s longtime enabler, Terry McAuliffe. Terry McAuliffe was the Clintons’ bagman in more ways than one, from the cover-ups to the get-rich-quick schemes, and his deals with Communist China look suspicious. He was responsible for many of the problems Virginia currently has.”
McAuliffe does indeed have a long history with the Clintons. He served as the co-chair of President Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign and the chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. He also led the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005. He credited his business success to his relationship with Bill Clinton. “I’ve met all of my business contacts through politics. It’s all interrelated,” he told The New York Times in 1999.
In 2016, the FBI investigated McAuliffe “over whether donations to his gubernatorial campaign violated the law.” Reports cited a hefty $120,000 donation from Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang.
McAuliffe infamously signed an executive order allowing more than 200,000 convicted felons in Virginia to vote. Virginia’s Supreme Court blocked the move, but McAuliffe found a way to skirt it. He also vetoed a religious freedom bill that would have allowed religious churches and wedding vendors to decline to celebrate same-sex weddings.
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McAuliffe’s seeming willingness to cover for Marxist critical race theory may prove to be his greatest weakness. Critical race theory (CRT) teaches Americans to seize on any racial disparity as ipso facto proof of racial discrimination, on the assumption that a hidden racism pervades American institutions. CRT is wreaking havoc on society, leading teachers and politicians to demonize white people for the color of their skin and creating new racial preferences and discrimination. It has sparked a civil war in education, with parents revolting, teachers resigning, and school districts introducing racism in the name of “anti-racism.”
Northern Virginia’s Loudoun County has become ground zero in the battle over CRT in education. Parents and teachers have spoken up to condemn the “racist insanity” of CRT in school board meetings. Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler has denied claims that the schools have adopted CRT in the curriculum, but the district is considering an “equity plan” that parents suspect is a Trojan horse, intended to push a radical view of “systemic racism” on teachers and in classrooms. A self-described “anti-racist” parent group on Facebook urged supporters to gather information on parents who oppose CRT, infiltrate their groups, and expose them publicly.
Zielger said the district does not “condone or participate in any of this vitriolic back and forth.” The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the matter.
A recent poll found that 50 percent of respondents in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties have an unfavorable view of CRT, while only 42 percent have a favorable view. The poll found that 39 percent of respondents said they would be “much more likely” to vote against a candidate who supports CRT. Half of voters said they opposed CRT being taught in schools, with 86 percent of Republicans, 57 percent of independents, and nearly one-quarter of Democrats opposing it.
Yet McAuliffe has dismissed the issue entirely. When a woman asked him about critical race theory at a June 4 event, the former governor called it a “conspiracy theory.”
“That’s another right-wing conspiracy,” McAuliffe insisted. “This is totally made up by Donald Trump and Glenn Youngkin. This is who they are. It’s a conspiracy theory.”
“Critical race theory is not a political game or talking point to Virginians,” Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter told Fox News. “Terry should tell that to the parents, teachers, and students in Loudoun County, Fairfax, and across the Commonwealth who are up in arms about the lefts’ political agenda being forced into classrooms.”
If CRT is an extremely divisive issue in the deep blue counties of Loudoun and Fairfax, it will poll far worse in the more conservative parts of Virginia.
While McAuliffe may dismiss CRT as a “conspiracy theory,” he himself has an ugly history of race-based hyperbole in attacking Republicans. In November 2017, he claimed that Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie had been running “the most racist campaign in Virginia history.” Yes, he technically called Gillespie more racist than bans on interracial marriage, laws enshrining segregation, and even the institution of slavery.
Youngkin still has a tough road ahead, and McAuliffe has many advantages, but the Republican just might pull off a key upset in this increasingly blue state.