“What happens in Virginia will, in large part,
determine what happens in 2022, 2024 and on.”
Well, what happened in Virginia was a Republican sweep of the top state offices and a flip of the House of Delegates, Including the election of the state’s first black Lt. Governor, Winsome Sears, and a brilliant, come-from-behind victory for a charismatic, energetic newcomer to politics, Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin. Virginia’s gubernatorial election has been described as a bellwether event, a harbinger of future election outcomes, and I hope Vice-president Harris is correct. However, she’s been wrong so often, I’m taking nothing for granted. For example, in her campaign for the presidential nomination which collapsed shortly after it began, she implied that Joe Biden was a racist. President Biden may have faults but racism is not one of them. He, after all, picked her as his running mate.
Losing candidate, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, accused Mr. Youngkin of running a racist campaign from the beginning. Really? How is it, then, that Virginia will now have its first black Lt. Governor, Winsome Sears, and first Hispanic Attorney-General, Jason Miyares? Playing the race card is often the last resort of politicians who have nothing left to offer. Mr. McAuliffe also tried to tie his opponent to former President Donald Trump but it didn’t work. Trump wasn’t on the ballot and didn’t campaign with Youngkin, much as Democrats and the mainstream press wish they still had him to kick around.
Mr. Youngkin’s win and the unexpectedly-close race in New Jersey should provide useful lessons learned for GOP candidates in next year’s mid-term elections which will enhance Republican prospects for taking back control of Congress, but the party could still manage to self-destruct, especially if Donald Trump gets too involved. As the Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib recently noted, America now essentially has four political party equivalents competing for power since both major parties are bifurcated. There are Democrat centrists and Democrat progressives on the one hand and Republicans who still back Trump and those who don’t on the other. Neither party’s eventual candidates can hope to win national or statewide elections without votes from both factions of their respective parties. Accepting votes from both factions, however, does not necessarily mean that they are compromising their own values as their opponents often claim. Are they expected to decline their votes? Every vote should count, right?
The election did not signify the end of Democrat rule by any means. Most Democrat mayoral candidates won, including in Boston where the first woman and person of color (Asian) was elected. Law and order was a winning campaign issue, however, and measures to defund police departments did not fare well as crime soared in cities across the nation. New York elected a former policeman as mayor and many Republican candidates for district attorney won on pledges to prosecute violent criminals. Perhaps the biggest lesson learned from the election was that parents are getting involved in what their children are being taught in public schools and, for the most part, they don’t want them indoctrinated with woke notions derived from critical race theory sometimes taught in universities. Secondly, voters, especially in minority neighborhoods, do not want their police departments defunded, renamed or re-purposed. In fact, they want more police. Thirdly. President Biden’s endorsement was not an asset. With his approval rating at an all-time low, it’s clear that voters are not happy with his administration’s performance to date, especially regarding the chaos at the southern border, the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan and the inability to get anything done in Congress including a needed infrastructure bill.
Mr. Biden ran as a moderate candidate who would unify the nation. But he has failed to return the nation to normalcy and has, by his drift to the left, further divided it and even his own party. Democrats in Congress can’t seem to agree on anything. I doubt that progressives and centrists could agree on the correct time if they were standing next to the master clock in the Naval Observatory.
Mr. Biden undoubtedly means well but he has become a political dinosaur. It was refreshing to see the energy and enthusiasm displayed by Mr. Youngkin and by Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli who ran a great campaign in New Jersey and nearly won against the heavily-favored incumbent, Gov. Phil Murphy. Would that some of that energy could be infused into the current leader of the western world. But our commander-in-chief has over three more years to go in a world that will present huge challenges and require informed decisions. It was not encouraging to witness his confusion over our policy regarding the defense of Taiwan. He will need to summon up the energy and the will to stand up, not only to an increasingly assertive and dangerous people’s Republic of China, but to the progressive wing of his own party.