Rich Guy You Barely Know Wants To Be Your Next Awful GOP Governor From Virginia
Republicans have a nominee for the 2021 governor's race, and it's ... this guy: Glenn Youngkin is a first-time candidate who's never held elected office, but he's rich! That never ends well, but Republicans are gonna keep trying.
I am prepared to lead, excited to serve and profoundly humbled by the trust the people have placed in me. Virginian… https://t.co/SnpKRLExP6— Glenn Youngkin (@Glenn Youngkin) 1620698834.0
After securing the nomination, Youngkin tweeted Monday: “Virginians have made it clear that they are ready for a political outsider with proven business experience to bring real change in Richmond." He hit all the buzz words in his political Mad Libs.
Two days ago, roughly 30,0000 Virginians out of almost 6 million registered voters cast ranked-choice ballots for six candidates in the Republican convention. Youngkin's opponents were knocked from contention one by one, and their supporters' next-choice votes were re-allocated until Youngkin finally passed the required 50 percent threshold after the sixth round of voting. His last remaining rival in this tournament of champions, Pete Snyder, conceded the race after 12 long hours of vote counting. He sent Youngkin his “heartfelt congratulations" and pledged his full support. What a RINO! These days, you never graciously concede a race you obviously lost.
State Senator Amanda Chase, who was censured for calling January 6 insurrectionists “patriots," vowed to contest the results if she lost: "If I come out of this election as anything other than the victor, of course, we are going to have a full audit." Her supporters, who presumably exist, accused Snyder's backers in the state GOP of engineering a “disassembled convention" instead of a primary in order to hurt her chances, which were never good in the first place. Chase ran as “Trump in heels." Not only is that image revolting, but the one-term loser is extremely unpopular in Virginia. President Joe Biden beat him senseless last year with a 10-point margin.
However, GOP insiders feel bullish about Youngkin because he's your normal terrible Republican. Unlike that super freak Chase, voters might consider bringing him home to mother. However, despite his more polished veneer, Youngkin has already associated himself with extremist positions, including the Big Lie. He declared “voter integrity" a top issue and claimed Dominion voting machines were “the most important issue" of the campaign. If elected, he's promised to restore a state voter identification law.
That's not all: As governor, Youngkin would replace the entire state board of education, sweeping away the last remnants of the old Republic, and institute Lost Cause propaganda, the 1776 Project, to make kids stupid. He's also campaigned with Texas Senator Ted Cruz, whom the New York Times describes as "a bête noire of the left." That's a less-than-straightforward way of saying we think he sucks, but it's not just “the Left." He's not getting many dinner party invitations from Republicans, either.
Youngkin will supposedly “pivot" to reach independent voters, who are about 30 percent of the electorate. The one-term loser narrowly won independents in 2016, as did Republican Ed Gillespie in the 2017 governor's race. However, President Klan Robe cratered among independents in 2020 with just 38 percent of the vote to Biden's 57 percent.
Dave Wasserman at Cook Political Report argues that Youngkin has a good shot at winning. This assumes that voters might naturally want a change after two consecutive Democratic governors. But the country's much more polarized now, and local races are effectively nationalized. Wasserman argues that North Virginia's anti-T****p moderates aren't automatically Democratic voters in statewide elections. However, the GOP has gone out of its way to remain a MAGA party, and disaffected former Republicans might find less reason to “return home."
Democrats also hold a sizable party identification advantage, and Black voters are about 20 percent of the electorate (seven points higher than the national average). Hillary Clinton carried Virginia with just 35 percent of the white vote. That's a helluva floor. Democrats also control the General Assembly and the governor's office so Republicans can't pass voter suppression bills. It's an uphill battle for the party when they can't cheat.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."