Just so you know I live in Virginia and voted for Youngkin. Having said that I wish to opine on the recent analysis of the Virginia election as well as the New Jersey gubernatorial election and others. My political philosophy is conservative, and I distance that from Republican party ideology.
Many on the left have blamed the loss on several different points. Many say it is the arguments over “Critical Race Theory” being taught in schools. Others blame the low popularity of President Biden while others still point out that traditionally the governorship in Virginia has changed to the opposite party of the person in the White House. The right on the other hand claims it as a victory over big government and a return of the voice of the people. Of course, both are, in some ways correct.
The fact of the matter is that Terry McAuliffe ran a terrible campaign. He was tone deaf to the needs and desires of the “other Virginia.” By that I mean the political center. Youngkin ran on issues that resonated with the voter, Taxes, Education, and public safety. McAuliffe on the other a campaign based on Democratic National Committee talking points. In his concession statement it shows he did not learn the lesson:
“While last night we came up short, I am proud that we spent this campaign fighting for the values we so deeply believe in. We must protect Virginia’s great public schools and invest in our students. We must protect affordable health care coverage, raise the minimum wage faster, and expand paid leave so working families have a fighting shot. We must protect voting rights, protect a woman’s right to choose, and, above all else, we must protect our democracy. While there will be setbacks along the way, I am confident that the long-term path of Virginia is toward inclusion, openness, and tolerance for all. “
What killed McAuliffe campaign was not just the gaffe of saying that parents should not have a say in their children’s education but the implication that the government knows best. I think this along with campaigning on issues that did not resonate with the people indicated to the people just where and what the Democratic party has become.
The killer in NJ was the current governor saying that if you did not like taxes NJ was not the state for you. While NJ is still a toss-up, if Murphy wins it will be by around one percent. Polls just two weeks ago had him leading by 20%.
I caution the right however not to leap for too much joy but to understand this is not Democrats abandoning their party or more people joining the Republican band wagon, but just Mr. and Ms. Average declaring enough.
I would suggest that while party loyalty is hardening at the extremes, it is likely softening in the middle. These elections were decided by very slim margins. There is an old axiom in politics that any Democrat and any Republican can expect to win 40% of the vote, it is the middle 20% that decide the outcome. Democrats must understand that politics is local, and Republicans must understand that the people do expect a certain level of government in their lives.
Elections will be decided by local economic issues, and its time our political leaders understood that. It is also time for those talking heads who analyze the elections to understand that it is not race, gender and education that is the sole determinate in how someone votes, but self-interest.