Reviews | Virginia election shows why Democrats are in trouble

Days before it became clear that Republican Glenn Youngkin would win Virginia’s gubernatorial race, pollsters, pundits and political str...


Days before it became clear that Republican Glenn Youngkin would win Virginia’s gubernatorial race, pollsters, pundits and political strategists were trying to explain why a race Democrat Terry McAuliffe was set to lose was on the way. point of being lost.

Some explanations were more convincing than others.

The least convincing was the suggestion that Youngkin, a former private equity executive, won by hissing Dixie. The Lincoln pro-McAuliffe project even tried to troll a Youngkin event in Charlottesville with tiki torch bearers, but they were on display. This theory does not explain why Youngkin would never have thought he could win by moving to the far right in a state where no Republican has won a statewide post for a dozen years. , and which Joe Biden won by 10 points last year.

Another explanation is that the first political reversals for an incumbent party are normal. Republican Chris Christie of New Jersey won a similar gubernatorial election in 2009, nearly a year after Barack Obama’s first term. The victory anticipated the GOP’s historic 63-seat gain in the 2010 legislative elections, but that did not prevent Obama from having his signature legislation enacted, let alone re-elected.

Then there’s the fact that McAuliffe ran a lousy campaign. State races are about state issues. McAuliffe’s goal was to paint Youngkin as a Trumpkin, going as far as invent a fictitious Youngkin-Trump joint campaign event. Youngkin focused on issues such as lowering taxes on groceries and giving parents more say in their children’s education. Voters generally want governors to solve problems, not to serve as moral avatars.

Finally, there is Joe Biden. He is clearly incompetent. He cannot get his party to pass a popular infrastructure bill. On inflation, Afghanistan and the southern border, he offered benign assurances which were summarily contradicted by events. No president elected after WWII has lost more public support in his first months in office than he, according to Gallup. Biden’s losses are particularly significant among independents. If he does not recover, this will inevitably affect the ballot.

The last three explanations are true as far as they go. But they don’t sufficiently capture the Democrats’ deeper problem, which is the lingering and justified perception of a party too often made up of bogus moderates and disguised radicals. Intermediate voters – the kind who still decide elections in purplish places like Virginia – feel like they’ve been duped.

Who is a moderate fake? Biden campaigned as the most centrist Democrat in the primary field last year. He tries to rule as the most socially transformational president since Lyndon B. Johnson. Attorney General Merrick Garland looks like a moderate, too willful fake quote the power of the federal government after angry parents at school board meetings were tagged national terrorists. What happened to Democrats as civil liberties advocates?

As for covering up the radicals, note how the controversy over critical race theory is treated by much of the left either as much noise about an obscure scholarly discipline or as a beneficent and necessary whole. teachings on the past and present of racism in America.

But the CRT is neither obscure nor trivial. He is, according to many of its main theorists, a “politically engaged movement” which often explicitly rejects notions of merit, objectivity, color blindness and the neutrality of the law, among other classically liberal concepts.

This is not a reason to forbid his teaching or any other way of seeing the world. But it is dishonest to claim that this is something less than ideologically radical, intensely racialized, and deliberately polarizing. It is even more dishonest to suggest that it only exists in academic cloisters. We live in an age of ubiquitous race-based ‘affinity groups’, relentless allegations of white supremacy and widespread censorship and self-censorship in everything from words we can say and documentaries to see, To jokes we can laugh at.

No wonder the debate over CRT-influenced pedagogies in public schools – which liberals insist does not even exist in state public schools, although they do it clearly – had such a galvanic effect on the Virginia breed. He exposed the myth that the illiberal currents at play in America today are uniquely a Republican phenomenon. They are not.

It is fair to debate which type of illiberalism is the worst. But the political problem for Democrats is either dishonesty about what kind of country they want, lack of self-awareness, or a combination of the two. An America in which group identity takes precedence over individual merit, racial categories become moral categories, success based on achievement is denigrated as a “privilege” based on ancestry, blind justice is attacked as biased. systemic way and independent thought risks being treated as heresy, ceasing to be a free, just and equitable country.

Many liberals who have tasted progressive moonlight get it. But too many people still feel compelled to take sides against Trumpism when the real enemy is illiberalism at large, whatever the source. The GOP tragedy is that too few Conservatives have had the nerve to fight the enemy within. Voters penalized the party in 2018 by losing the House, and in 2020 by losing the presidency.

The Democratic Party’s tragedy may still be its own loss of composure against its internal extremists. Whether this week or next year, political sanctions are likely to be heavy.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Reviews | Virginia election shows why Democrats are in trouble
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