This race was neck and neck to the bitter end—and the end is bitter. Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia gubernatorial race. Youngkin is a businessman with no political experience, but that didn’t matter: he leveraged Trump’s (lukewarm) support as well as issues around school “wokeness” to unify the G.O.P. Although the votes haven’t all been counted yet—that would be on Friday—the AP was confident enough of Youngkin’s margin that it called the election for him only a few hours after the polls closed yesterday.
Here are the figures from CBS News as of 5:30 a.m.
In case you can’t do subtraction, Youngkin won by 2.2%. This is especially disheartening because Virginia has been a reliably blue state for a decade, and was getting more so. Now we’re back to square one.
More bad news (at least temporarily) from New Jersey: the incumbent governor, Democrat Gov. Philip D. Murphy, who was predicted to win handily, is in a too-close-to-call race against his Republican opponent Republican Jack Ciattarelli. And there are a million more Democrats than Republicans registered in that state! But there’s still hope. Here are the NJ votes, also from CBS:
The good news: Democrat Michelle Wu became mayor of Boston, the first Asian-American and first woman to hold that post, and in New York City Democrat Eric Adams became the mayor, heavily supported by the black and Hispanic community.
But all this shows not only the polarization of America, but the slipping hold that out-of-touch Democrats have on the populace, something that many people have warned about in recent weeks. What is going on? Biden isn’t doing that poorly, despite his low approval ratings, and I’m confident that his two big bills, which will benefit working people, will pass.
I’m not a pundit, but there’s a clue in these two excerpts from the CBS report:
Exit polls indicated that just over half of voters said parents should have “a lot” of say in what is taught in their child’s school. In the final weeks of the campaign, Youngkin capitalized on McAuliffe’s response during a debate on whether parents should be able to opt their children out of reading certain books if they disapprove of the content. “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” McAuliffe said. Youngkin quoted McAuliffe repeatedly on the campaign trail and in ads. It resonated with Youngkin’s supporters — 8 in 10 think they should have “a lot” of say in their children’s schooling. Only a quarter of McAuliffe voters agreed. Pre-election polls found this issue energized many Republicans. Slightly more Youngkin voters selected education as their top issue, compared to McAuliffe backers.
. . . In Minneapolis, votersand created a new Department of Public Safety. In the city’s mayoral race, embattled incumbent Jacob Frey led in the first round of ranked-choice voting, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office.
. . . In Buffalo, incumbent Mayor Byron Brown, who lost the Democratic primary to Democratic Socialist India Walton, ran a write-in campaign against Walton. A poll last week by CBS Buffalo affiliate WIVB had Brown leading by 17 points, and he appeared to be leading by 10,000 votes as of Tuesday night, according to WIVB.
A writ- in Democratic is beating the official Democratic candidate! Crikey!
The conclusions, as James Carville and Andrew Sullivan (and many others) have been telling us: the Democrats are out of touch with mainstream Americans, and the party’s movement toward the “progressive” Left—with its attendant crazy wokeness—has turned off the average Joe and Jane. This is just my guess, and of course it plays into my own prognostications, which is why I favor this explanation. But there are certainly many reasons the Republicans did so well.
But one thing is for sure: this should make us plenty worried about the return of Trump in 2024, as well as the midterm elections next year.If Democrats don’t learn a lesson from this, if they don’t stop the progressive craziness, if they don’t do something about immigration, then we liberals will be screwed, with all three branches of government in Republican hands.
My solution: make James Carville the chief strategist of the Democratic Party. He knows how to deal with the wokeness that’s causing our downfall.
To cheer yourself up, listen to Michelle Wu’s victory speech in Boston (13 minutes):