Tuesday night’s election results provided an excellent roadmap to the future. Will either party follow it?
For Republicans, the blueprint is this: You can win in tough states by nominating a non-Trump candidate who (a) can hold the Trump base and (b) bring home independents and suburban voters.
For Democrats, the message is even more obvious and simple: resist the siren call of the woke left.
Now, if Republicans aren’t sure about the example provided by Virginia, they should look to the even bluer state of New Jersey, where Republican Jack Ciattarelli is, at the time of this writing, locked in a too-close-to-call race for governor. How did this happen? As CNN notes, “Like Youngkin, Ciattarelli—a businessman and former state lawmaker—kept Trump at arm’s length…”
Having lost in Virginia, Democrats should feel pressure to recalibrate and readjust. Democrats, though, seem unlikely to move swiftly. Consider this unintentionally humorous tweet sent out Tuesday night by Politico’s Blake Hounshell: “Some in Biden-land are already asking themselves if the president has allowed himself to be tugged too far to the left while in office…”
(Some? … Already?!?)
“Screaming at persuadable voters (whom you just failed to persuade) that they are racist is not a winning campaign strategy. Neither is mocking working-class voters who can’t properly define Critical Race Theory.
Biden didn’t do McAuliffe any favors by allowing progressives to hijack his legislative agenda by holding the bipartisan infrastructure bill hostage in the House.
Of course, the hottest issue in Virginia had to do with education and the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT). And based on the tweets I’m seeing from the left, progressives are doubling down on wokeness by declaring “White women voters are footsoldiers of white supremacist patriarchy,” whose win, they say, was merely the result of white supremacy, “whiteness,” and a “whitelash.”
This reaction to Youngkin’s victory tells you all you need to know about why he won—about why normie suburbanites feel threatened and under assault by the left.
We don’t even have to linger on the fact that Republicans just elected the state’s first African-American lieutenant governor and the first Latino Attorney General in the history of Virginia to call the left’s premise into question. Even if one could somehow credibly argue that voting against Terry McAuliffe(!) constitutes racism, it still wouldn’t make any political sense for Democrats to do what they are doing.
Screaming at persuadable voters (whom you just failed to persuade) that they are racist is not a winning campaign strategy. Neither is mocking working-class voters who can’t properly define Critical Race Theory. In fact, every time someone brings up CRT, the pushback from Democrats is to ask, “Name one classroom in Virginia where CRT was actually taught,” and then to reply when an example is offered, “that’s not actually CRT,” as if that puts parents’ concerns to rest.
Every time that happens, a new conservative gets their wings (or is activated, at least).
What voters are objecting to is giving up on the idea of a colorblind society, seeing everything solely through the prism of race (victims and oppressors), and indoctrinating our kids into that worldview.
What parents are objecting to are instances like the training for Loudoun County, Va., public school administrators that, according to David Brooks, taught that ‘fostering independence and individual achievement’ is a hallmark of ‘white individualism,’ or the Williams College professor who told The Times last week that ‘This idea of intellectual debate and rigor as the pinnacle of intellectualism comes from a world in which white men dominated.’”
Sensible voters on Tuesday rejected this kind of radical and divisive nonsense the same way sensible voters rejected Trumpism in 2020.
Tuesday night sent a clear message to Republicans and Democrats: Give up on the crazy and the mean. The question is whether either side wants to win badly enough to actually do what that message demands.