It’s pretty fitting that voters elected Glenn Youngkin as governor of Virginia on the same night that the Atlanta Braves won the World Series.
Youngkin focused largely on public schools in his campaign, with parents outraged over leftist curricula. His victory over Democrat Terry McAuliffe can be seen as a triumph over the woke revolution.
The Braves, meanwhile, got the last laugh over Major League Baseball after league officials replaced their home stadium as the site of the All-Star Game because of liberal fury over Georgia’s election integrity law.
Though other issues certainly were in play, Youngkin’s campaign really caught fire when he tapped into sentiments—particularly in vote-rich Northern Virginia—that government at all levels is not listening to the people.
The seeds were planted when Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, shut down schools in Virginia during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, students had to learn remotely on computers at home and parents were able to overhear what was being taught for the first time. The schools were forcing critical race theory, gender identity ideology, and similar subjects onto the children.
Liberal commentators, and McAuliffe himself, insisted that no such thing was happening, meaning they were accusing parents of hallucinating. But parents flooded school board meetings and told their own stories about white children being shamed for their skin color and minority students being told they had no chance to succeed for the same reason.
Other incidents soon entered the picture. Parents were upset about schools offering graphic, pornographic materials (in the name of, what, diversity?) to students in libraries and classrooms.
In the most horrifying revelation, Loudoun County school officials covered up a sexual assault in a high school alleged to have been committed by a teenage boy who already had been accused of a sexual assault months earlier in a girls’ restroom of a different high school.
The student, recently convicted of the earlier assault, is described as “gender-fluid,” leaving many parents to believe that the Loudoun County school system kept it quiet to avoid offending the sensitivities of social justice activists.
Incredibly, the U.S. Department of Justice entered the fray, issuing a memorandum from Attorney General Merrick Garland that labeled parents who protested policies at school board meetings as criminals and domestic terrorists.
In the midst of all of this, McAuliffe committed what may go down as the greatest debate blunder in the history of gubernatorial contests in any state when he said: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
Youngkin didn’t shy away from the opportunity and leaned into the controversy. McAuliffe, meanwhile, obstinately stuck to his stance until finally claiming he was taken out of context.
But the damage was already done, and the course of the election was irrevocably turned. The Youngkin victory is notable, since Virginia went for Joe Biden in 2020 by 10 points and Republicans hadn’t won a statewide race there in 12 years.
Virginia’s election results are a repudiation of liberal overreach: on woke school policies, on mask mandates, on vaccine mandates, and on a variety of other governmental transgressions that McAuliffe supported and Youngkin opposed.
Also central to any discussion of election night 2021 is the current occupant of the White House. Biden’s plunging popularity, even in Virginia, was grudgingly acknowledged by McAuliffe.
An NBC News poll taken just before the election showed that voter opinions are markedly against Biden and his party on border security, inflation, crime, national security, the economy, and getting things done.
And that discontent doesn’t stop at the borders of the Old Dominion.
In a renunciation of the “defund the police” movement, election night saw voters reject a proposal to dissolve and transform the police department in Minneapolis, epicenter of the rioting that spread across the country following the death of resident George Floyd in police custody.
The socialist candidate for mayor of Buffalo, New York, who had won the Democratic nomination, apparently has been beaten by a write-in campaign by the incumbent she knocked off in the primary.
And while, at this writing, he appears to be hanging onto a narrow victory, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, was given the scare of his career in a state even bluer than Virginia. In challenging Murphy, Republican Jack Ciattarelli ran against mandates and for lower taxes, just like Youngkin.
What voters in all those places rejected was an overreach of government at all levels—federal, state, and local.
It’s at this point that a national political party might step back and assess whether a change in direction is warranted.
True to form, however, national liberals appear to be forging ahead with their radical spending plans. Their conclusion is that, faced with voter distaste for their socialist agenda, the best solution is more socialism.
Leftists also seem to be taking the wrong lessons from Virginia specifically.
Jemele Hill, formerly of ESPN and now of The Atlantic, declared: “It’s not the messaging, folks. This country simply loves white supremacy.”
The “white supremacy” take is a hard sell after Virginia voters picked as their lieutenant governor Winsome Sears, a Jamaican immigrant who will become the first black woman to hold statewide office in the Commonwealth.
It is likewise difficult to explain how, if they are unrepentant racists, Virginians elected Jason Miyares, the son of Cuban immigrants, to unseat the current attorney general and become the first Latino to hold statewide office.
CNN commentator Van Jones was even more provocative than Hill.
“When this election is over in Virginia, we will know have we seen the emergence of the delta variant of Trumpism,” Jones fumed. “In other words, Youngkin [is the] same disease, but spreads a lot faster and can get a lot more places.”
For his part, McAuliffe did try mightily to tie Youngkin to former President Donald Trump, centering much of his campaign on that goal in the hope that invoking the left’s favorite boogeyman would rile up his base and carry him to victory. But it didn’t work.
Youngkin demonstrated that it is possible to keep Trump voters in the fold by embracing what he liked about the “America First” agenda while also attracting independents and moderates by talking about other issues that people personally care about. McAuliffe proved that running an anti-Trump campaign is not a winner for the left.
For a long time, social justice warriors have attacked the Atlanta Braves for the team’s name and for having fans who perform the “tomahawk chop” at games. The club just won the World Series.
Similarly, federal, state, and local governments have been telling people how to live their lives, and to shut up and sit down if they disagree. In response, voters won their own World Series on Election Day as well.