“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” –Mike Quigley
Many elections are discussed after the fact by politicians and talking heads in the media. However, Virginia’s historic elections on Tuesday, November 2 are still sparking conversations across the commonwealth among gas station owners, retirees, mothers of young children, and lots of other folk.
Already we are seeing many bizarre and I would say misleading news reports and characterizations about what happened here and why. No doubt, many of those “experts” commenting on our race are based in New York, the West Coast, or elsewhere, and thus I question their first-hand understanding of Virginia or our 8.6 million residents and culture. Therefore, since TheRoanokeStar.com is located at “ground zero” in Southwest Virginia, I am pleased to offer some perspectives here, which began in Part 1.
As early as Tuesday night while votes were still being counted, I was reading news articles discussing, “Is the Virginia election a referendum on Joe Biden’s presidency?” I cannot speak for the rest of the state, but for many of us here in western and southside Virginia, the answer is a resounding YES!
As mentioned in Part 1, the Old Dominion’s odd practice of holding our statewide elections in the odd year after a presidential election has long made us and New Jersey the first states to weigh in on the popularity of the new chief executive. Furthermore, Virginia’s elections often serve as a bellwether for Congressional midterm elections that follow twelve months later.
I do not know people’s hearts, but when I see reporters and pundits acting like this election has nothing to do with Biden’s popularity or lack thereof, I smell a rat.
Joe Biden has never been popular in this part of the state and country, the Southern Appalachians. Even when Obama/Biden carried Virginia in 2008 and 2012, most of the western half of the state–in fact, some 80% of the state landmass–was bright red on the electoral maps.
By November 2021, after ten months of the Biden administration and its immediate and countless “culture war” assaults, open borders, closed pipelines, high gas prices, inflation, out of control spending, attacks on the filibuster, wokeness, proposing “DC Statehood,” continued Covid pandemic, unemployment benefits that reward staying home over working, supply chain issues…. Many Virginians have become thoroughly disgusted by the whole administration.
On top of all this, for many folks the “last straws” were the botched exit from Afghanistan plus the FBI branding parents speaking their minds at school board meetings as potential “domestic terrorists.” Considering all this and more, across vast swaths of Virginia to call the Biden administration “unpopular” is a generous understatement.
Furthermore, while Youngkin tried to focus the contest as “a race about Virginia for Virginians,” it was McAuliffe, a native of New York, who nationalized it. (In contrast, Glenn Youngkin grew up in Richmond and Virginia Beach.) Somehow McAuliffe and his advisors were under the impression that trying to tie Youngkin to Trump would be the easy ticket to victory. Granted, Biden carried Virginia by 10 points last November. However, a lot has happened in the past twelve months, and by fall 2021, Trump was no longer the bogeyman to many Virginians that the Dems hoped they could portray him as, and Biden had become more of an albatross.
If anything, the strategy backfired, as McAuliffe’s constant invoking of Trump’s name caused Youngkin and others to have to remind the Dems that the name “Donald Trump” would appear on no ballot this month. In fact, the strategy became so obvious to the point of being funny. The plucky satire site The Babylon Bee released this outrageous headline on the morning of the election:
“Racism! COVID! Trump!” Screams McAuliffe Over And Over In Desperate Last-Minute Appeal.
Their post included this nugget: “McAuliffe appears increasingly desperate to move opinion in his favor, resulting in his final appeal to voters, which is to yell, “Racism! COVID! Trump!” over and over while staring at voters with wild eyes like those of a trapped animal.”
(One snarky and astute Babylon Bee subscriber in the comments quipped “For Democrats, CRT stands for Covid, Racism, Trump!”
Wisely it seems, Youngkin accepted President Trump’s endorsement, but never let Trump campaign with him. Therefore, there was no photo of Youngkin and Trump standing shoulder to shoulder for the Democrats to use to bludgeon him with.
But in addition to invoking the name of Trump over and over, McAuliffe also invited top-profile Democrats to campaign with him in the state. Truly, McAuliffe nationalized the race, but it was not enough to help drag him across the finish line.
(To be continued)
Babylon Bee SATIRE: “Racism! COVID! Trump!” Screams McAuliffe Over And Over In Last-Minute Appeal.