Chris Lange, FISM News
Democrats have become increasingly worried over the tightening Virginia gubernatorial race – so much so that several high-profile surrogates, including former president Barack Obama, have converged on the Commonwealth in recent days in an effort to secure a crucial victory for their struggling candidate, Terry McAuliffe.
Much of the push is due to the fact that a win for his Republican opponent, businessman Glenn Youngkin, could signal major trouble ahead for the Democratic party in the 2022 midterm elections.
A recent poll shows Youngkin and McAuliffe in a dead heat, as McAuliffe has now lost the razor-thin advantage he previously held. The two candidates are now tied at 46% each among registered Virginia voters (margin of error: +/- 3.1%). McAuliffe is backed by 91% of Democrat voters while Youngkin has 94% Republican support. Perhaps more noteworthy are the candidates’ numbers among Independents who favor Youngkin over McAuliffe 48% to 39%.
Obama appeared alongside McAuliffe at a rally held at Virginia Commonwealth University Saturday, urging an enthusiastic crowd of 2,000 to vote, and vote early, for McAuliffe. His message also held a somber warning against complacency. “For the direction of Virginia and the direction of this country for generations to come, don’t sit this one out – vote,” he said. The former president was joined on stage by failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Vice-President Kamala Harris and First Lady Jill Biden are among those who also recently stumped for the candidate.
A Republican win in the blue state that gave Joe Biden a comfortable 10-point lead in the 2020 presidential election could spell trouble for Dems in the pivotal 2022 midterms, placing the blue party’s stronghold on Capitol Hill in jeopardy.
Pundits say the midterm elections are likely to become a referendum on an out-of-touch president who frequently appears to be in serious cognitive decline and a party obsessed with personal pronouns and climate change at a time when the nation is struggling with multiple crises – from the botched Afghanistan withdrawal to skyrocketing inflation, chaos at the border, a supply chain logjam, and China’s recent display of defense technology superiority.
Front and center in Virginia’s gubernatorial race, however, are parents’ rights concerning the education of their children. Virginia has captured national attention for a number of highly-publicized, parent-led protests against critical race theory instruction, the dissemination of sexually-explicit literature, mask and vaccine mandates, and the introduction of radical transgender policies. The latter issue has come sharply into focus following recent allegations of sexual assaults against two female students by a male who used transgender bathroom policies to perpetrate the attacks and the Loudon County School Boards alleged attempt to cover-up the assaults.
McAuliffe saw a drop in his poll numbers following a disastrous, nationally-televised September debate. The Democratic candidate, who previously served as Virginia’s governor, unwittingly delivered a self-inflicted wound when he was asked to weigh-in on the ongoing, nationwide battle over parents’ rights concerning their children’s education. “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” he said. When asked about growing outrage by parents over pornographic literature discovered in a Fairfax County school library, he replied “I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision.”
Youngkin, who has vowed to ban the teaching of Marxist critical race theory in schools on his first day in office, if elected, quickly seized upon the remarks by using the soundbite in multiple television and social media ads. The move helped the Republican businessman bridge the narrow gap in voter polls. Youngkin has also called for multiple resignations in the wake of the Loudon County alleged sexual assault cover-up.
Following the September debate, McAuliffe attempted to distance himself from his controversial remarks but became visibly rattled during an interview with a local television reporter when asked about those comments and his position on crime. McAuliffe abruptly stormed off the set, cutting his 20-minute allotted time in half, and chastised the reporter for not asking “better questions.”
During a recent interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Youngkin explained his growing support in a strongly blue state, saying voters have been galvanized to “get our schools reestablished with standards of excellence where parents have the right to be engaged in their children’s education.” Youngkin also accused his opponent of wanting to insert “[the] government between parents and their children.” On the ballot right now in November is the future of Virginia and of America,” he said. “This is no longer a campaign. It’s a movement.”