Originally posted November 8, 2021.
At Chronicles, Paul Gottfried explains how Glenn Youngkin really won in Virginia. The story is not what Fox News and the mainstream media are telling you. He writes (abridged):
Republican Glenn Youngkin’s victory came not so much from bringing the races and parties together, as the usual suspects on Fox News declared, but rather because he won Republican counties in Southwestern Virginia and traditionally Republican suburbs by a larger margin than Trump. Youngkin also flipped some suburbs from blue to red and kept his losses down in Northern Virginia better than recent Republican candidates.
Youngkin, however, didn’t fare so well in minority and Democratic-heavy locales. He lost 87 percent of the black electorate, while Democratic Loudon and Fairfax counties gave his Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe almost two-thirds of their votes. For all the talk about Youngkin’s rapport with the suburban female vote, he lost that, too, albeit by a lower margin than Trump did in 2020.
Perhaps most importantly, he managed to keep the proper distance from former president Trump, by accepting his endorsement but not campaigning with him. This allowed Youngkin to benefit from the Trump association in heavily Republican counties, while not being hobbled by it in very blue Northern Virginia. McAuliffe, who like CNN, tried repeatedly to tie Youngkin to Trump, looked as if he were slapping at air each time he decried his opponent as a Trump stand-in. By the end of his campaign McAuliffe felt forced to admit that the “election in Virginia is not about Trump.”
Youngkin of course had a ready-made issue to run on, because of the battles in Virginia’s public schools over Critical Race Theory and LGBT indoctrination. He pounced on McAuliffe who, in a September debate stated, “I don’t think parents should tell schools what to teach.” Youngkin went all over the state defending the right of parents to have a major say over school curricula, particularly if the woke left wished to exclude them from the discussion.
Paul Gottfried is editor in chief of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is also the Raffensperger Professor of Humanities Emeritus at Elizabethtown College, where he taught for 25 years, a Guggenheim recipient, and a Yale Ph.D. He is the author of 13 books, most recently Fascism: Career of a Concept and Revisions and Dissents.
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