GOP voters got over “Trump fatigue” and backed the Youngkin-Sears-Miyares ticket; Democrats stuck with their sample ballot
We would all like to think that we had a Big Red Wave on Nov. 2 with the victory of Glenn Youngkin as governor, Winsome Sears as first African American female Lt. governor and Del. Jason Miyares as Attorney General, first person of Latino background to win the job.
And, that the Youngkin machine and message helped lift down ballot House of Delegate candidates to victory, giving Republicans control of the lower House in Richmond to roll back ruinous “progressive” legislation Democrats have adopted since they won control of both houses in 2019.
And, that the black vote for Democrats was depressed, largely because they failed to put a black person on their statewide ticket (among other reasons).
And, that this was also a referendum on the disastrous policies of Sleepy Joe Biden, the most incompetent Democrat president since the 19th Century, and the socialists in Congress and bureaucracy who manipulate him like a puppet. Plus, a referendum on detrimental woke policies like school curricula based on “critical race theory” and LGBTQ laxities.
However, as I look at the data where Youngkin-Sears-Miyares won, and the narrowness of the victory, it appears that the major factor in this race was the erosion of Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) among the Virginia suburban electorate and the unity of our party behind a candidate.
While Trumpsters and conservative purists in our party will point to the 20% surge in turnout in Southwest Virginia (Trump Country) contributing to Youngkin’s win, the reality is that he also put vote-rich areas like Chesterfield County, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake in his column.
The table below shows how Democrat Ralph Northam swept these very populous suburban areas in 2017, and by wide margins. But in 2021, Youngkin won three of them (albeit narrowly) and lost the Big 3 of Northern Virginia – Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William – by smaller margins than GOP gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie lost the counties in 2017.
My guess is the surge in SW Virginia and other rural areas may have been a referendum on Biden while the swing in the vote-rich suburban counties was due to the fact Trump hatred was not a factor and voters there are concerned about schools. I believe that Biden won Virginia by 15 points in 2020 because Republicans in these suburban areas voted for him, and this year, came home to the GOP.
Let’s note that Republican candidates in the pre-Trump era were competitive statewide, like Ed Gillespie, who narrowly lost to Mark Warner in 2014 for U.S. Senate.
This year, thanks to Youngkin’s great campaign, Virginia Republican and independent voters, at least, got over the Trump heebee geebees, and white rural and blue collar voters and conservative purists weaned themselves off of Trump infatuation to unite for the Youngkin ticket. Let’s recall that in early in 2021, the State Central Committee of the RPV was so afraid of “Trump in Heels” Amanda Chase being our gubernatorial nominee that it chose a convention vs a state primary to stop her. That unassembled convention, while messy and divisive to establish, turned out to be a Godsend, nominating a fantastic diverse winning ticket!
But given how well the Democrats did, it is very apparent that we in the GOP still have our work cut out for us to make inroads into these areas. And, the narrow wins Republicans had in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Chesterfield should be a wakeup call. Democratic voters continue to vote their sample ballot. The demographic shifts in Virginia are real, and the GOP has ignored it for years to its detriment.
Liberal early voting laws adopted by the Democrat General Assembly under the guise of COVID 19 benefitted Republicans – and turnout. Early voting was high in suburban areas. In Norfolk, which has 125,000 registered voters, only 14% voted early this year. Some satellite precincts had some 8 people working each day and only 20 or so voted –a huge waste of tax dollars. It is my hope the new General Assembly will roll back early voting to 2 weeks before the election as a means of saving tax dollars and get rid of dumb things like having a paid officer sit all day watching a ballot box in case someone wants to drop off a mail-in ballot. Restoring photo ID would be a good idea, too.
My biggest gripe with the Trump campaign was its failure to mobilize rally-goers into GOTV volunteers, but this year, Republicans became very engaged in all races. We had a gallant effort to get Republicans to be Officers of Election and be the eyes and ears of voter integrity (I was one of them). And the RNC enlisted volunteers to sit inside precincts on election day and in early voting to be poll watchers.
I felt the poll watch effort was overdone. There were poll watchers sitting in precincts with no history of problems and where there were GOP election officers. I felt their volunteer efforts would have been spent better outside the polls or doing GOTV – and a few Youngkin campaign people agreed with me.
But what it did do was give activists who believed the 2020 election was stolen from Trump a chance to observe how it’s done and see how the system in Virginia (at least) closes potential loopholes for cheating. It also generated lists of local units to get more volunteers and members.
Earlier in the year, I posited Republicans needed to put more resources into getting the Latino vote than the black vote, given trump’s excellent pull of 32% Well, Glenn Youngkin did do that, hiring many Spanish-speaking door knockers to hit the Latino community. As a consequence, according to a Washington Post exit poll, he got 55% of the Latino vote!
This is phenomenal and something Republicans need to build on. We need to invite Latinos to join our local units and have a big say in legislation in Richmond.
And we must do better at fundraising. All the GOP candidates who won races in the House of Delegates were outspent by their Democrat opponents – in some cases with millions of dollars, largely from out of state.
We as a party must stop the interparty fights and focus on the prize—winning elections for Republicans every single year. Our opponents are the Democrat-socialists, not ourselves.