Election Coverage / Politics

Is Virginia About to Swing Red? Evidence Indicates the Blue Wave Has Crested In the Old Dominion

AMAC Exclusive by Daniel Roman

Virginia

Conservatives have had little to celebrate in Virginia politics over the last decade. Since Republicans last swept the statewide offices in the 2009 off-year elections, Virginia’s political history has been the tale of the long march of the left through the states’ offices until Democrats took full control of both houses of the legislature in 2019. What followed was a near cultural revolution, as the new Democratic-dominated government passed laws restricting gun ownership, eliminated prison sentences for a host of offenses to public order, retroactively ratified the Equal Rights Amendment (a failed Constitutional Amendment from 1972), allowed for no-excuse absentee voting, and voted to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, thereby seeking to do an end-run around the Constitution in order to abolish the electoral college.

Yet the tide may finally be starting to turn against Virginia Democrats. On June 8th, the Democratic Party held its primaries – the Republican party having opted the month before for an “unassembled convention” – and the Left suffered a series of stunning defeats. Not only did “old white male” Terry McAuliffe, a former governor and long-time Clinton fixer and crony, easily defeat a diverse set of left-wing challengers with 62.17% of the vote, but several of the most left-wing members of the state legislature lost renomination.

This may be a sign that mainstream Democrats sense the growing backlash against their far-left governance of the state, and are eager to rid themselves of the most problematic figures on their own side.

In the general election, Democrats are now facing the most formidable Virginia Republican candidate in decades in the form of Glenn Youngkin.

Youngkin is running on the promise to provide a commonsense alternative and balance in Richmond. A successful businessman unconnected with the factional quarrels and failures which have come to define the last decade of Republican politics in Virginia, he emerged at the Republican convention with a message focusing on local issues of state governance. He is well placed to transcend the two major elements of the state. His tenure as CEO of the Carlyle Group, one of the premier success stories of Northern Virginia, makes him an embodiment of everything that attracted millions of new residents to the growing region. His strong conservatism shows that unlike many others who moved to the region for jobs, he knows precisely why Virginia—with its low taxes, low crime, and small government—historically proved more attractive than Maryland.

In effect, Glenn Youngkin is running a campaign challenging the left-wing transformation of Virginia by appealing to a more positive vision of the past. Previous Republican candidates, such as one-time Virginia Governor and former U.S. Senator George Allen, and 2017 Governor candidate Corey Stewart, ran afoul of public sentiment when they became associated with Confederate nostalgia. There was an irony here. Both were Northern migrants, Allen from California, and Stewart from Minnesota. Both fell too easily into the trap of playing a caricature, one which saw George Allen make an excruciating musical appearance as a singing Confederate officer in the film Gods and Generals, while Stewart seemed to make association with Confederate monuments and the flag the centerpiece of his campaigns, while mocking the immigrant ancestry of his primary rival Ed Gillespie.

Glenn Youngkin has no such need to prove his Virginia credentials. Youngkin was born in Richmond, grew up in Virginia Beach, and attended school in Norfolk. A native Virginian all his life, one with experience of different parts of the Commonwealth, Youngkin has no need to create a fictionalized past to contrast with the present. He can and is appealing to a real past. A past in which Virginia’s commitment to small government and individual liberty helped light the fires of the American Revolution, and to save it from the excesses of Alexander Hamilton’s efforts to impose centralized rule with the Alien and Sedition acts. He is reminding Virginians that their state is the land of Patrick Henry and George Washington.

Virginia’s history is also one in which the Republican Party played a proud role. In the 1880s, the Republican Party ruled the state, introducing the first integrated public school system and seeking to eliminate racial differences, only to be overthrown through fraud by a Democratic Party which argued that different races could never work together. That is a tradition the Democratic Party is still following today through its promotion of Critical Race Theory in Virginia schools. There is no need for Republicans to reject their history when it was a former Confederate General, one of Robert E. Lee’s hardest hitting commanders, William Mahone, who oversaw that multi-racial Republican political coalition in 1881, one of the first in the nation.

As a true-born Virginian, and a native Republican, Youngkin has been able to appeal to the best of the state’s identity in offering a conservative alternative to the far-left liberalism of the statewide elected Democrats and the awkward confederate nostalgia of migrant politicians in both parties.

Voters appear to be responding to this message. In post-primary polls, Youngkin is neck and neck with Democrat Terry McAuliffe, trailing by a mere 48%-46% no small achievement given McAuliffe’s name recognition as a former governor. It is even more impressive when one considers that Donald Trump lost the state by nearly 10% in 2020 after losing it by 5% in 2016. It is also worth noting that McAuliffe in particular has a history of massively underperforming his polling numbers. In 2013, when he last ran for governor, he led by an average of 7% only to win by 2%. If that pattern holds, it would imply that Youngkin is currently ahead.

Furthermore, there are signs that even Democrats are concerned about the political impact of their far-left governance in the commonwealth. Three of the most left-wing members of the legislature lost renomination.

One of them was Ibraheem Samirah in the 86th District, who famously disrupted a speech in Jamestown, Virginia by President Donald Trump in 2019.  President Trump was the honored guest of the Virginia General Assembly that had convened in special session to celebrate its 400th anniversary as the oldest legislative assembly in the Western Hemisphere.  Samirah shouted and held up signs that said “Deport Hate,” “Reunite My Family” and “Go Back to Your Corrupted Home.” “The fact that the racist-in-chief, who so openly stokes hate against immigrants, was even invited to this event is insulting to Virginians and insulting to the history of our Commonwealth’s democracy,” Samirah later wrote on Twitter, declaring “The man is unfit for office and unfit to partake in a celebration of democracy, representation, and our nation’s history of immigrants.” On June 8th, 2021, voters in Samirah’s district decided he was unfit for office, evicting him by a 52%-48% margin in favor of a Jewish challenger who denounced his support for Ilhan Omar.

In the 50th district, Lee Carter, a two-term state representative who described himself openly as a “Socialist” and co-chaired Bernie Sanders’ campaign in the state not only failed to make a dent in his run for governor, winning a mere 2.77%, but also was defeated for renomination to the legislature with only 38% of the vote.  

The most prominent figure ousted was Mark Levine, a longtime fixture of the left who also ran for Lt. Governor. Levine had argued against the Supreme Court’s Bush v. Gore decision in 2001, calling Bush an “illegitimate” President and served as Counsel to Representative Barney Frank where he tried to argue that Faith-Based Initiatives were unconstitutional. Levine not only was defeated for Lt. Governor. He lost his seat in the House of Delegates on the same day.   

There are five months to go until election day, but signs are that Republicans have the best chance in 12 years to reverse Virginia’s bluing trend. They have a star candidate, a united party, and are facing a Democratic Party that has embraced left-wing extremism in office. All they need is a little luck—and they may succeed in turning Virginia red.

Daniel Roman is the pen name of a frequent commentator and lecturer on foreign policy and political affairs, both nationally and internationally. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

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Bill on the Hill
2 months ago

Perhaps VA is not as blue as so many seem to think… I bring you CRT in Loudon ( sic ) County at their respective school board meeting…These people were not staunch democrats imo, perhaps I’m wrong, however based on what I’ve seen across this great nation, CRT has NO place here in America, period & all the other crap that comes with it, i.e. the 1619 Project, pure evil, purely racist…
Bill on the Hill… :~)

MICHAEL PALMER
2 months ago

This is all well and good, but the problem is that the element that turned Virginia blue are not the native Virginians but rather all the transplants in Northern Virginia/beltway area. Those folks, who really control the vote, don’t care a great deal about who is a true Virginian because they themselves are not. Personally, I hope I’m wrong, but I’ve written Virginia off as a solidly blue state because of all the carpet baggers. I mean, c’mon, Hillary won Virginia by 5 points and Biden won it by 10. If I’m wrong, I’ll be ecstatic to admit I wrote Virginia off too soon, but the evidence is too strong that Virginia is fast becoming another Connecticut or New York.

Nancy Farmer
2 months ago
Reply to  MICHAEL PALMER

Perhaps there’s a little more to the picture you present. Just maybe some of the irregularities in Georgia, Pa. and Arizona happened here. According to Judicial Watch there were 20+ counties in Va. that had more votes cast than eligible voters. And don’t forget that Va. (Dems) REFUSED to clean up the voter rolls a few years ago. And going back to the presidential election in 2012, my SIL’s vote was ‘stolen’ and she was turned away, not able to cast her vote. The same day my mom saw her vote SWITCHED on the machine. She complained to the poll worker, of course, to no avail. If Republicans win, I hope election integrity might become possible.

Johnny Davis
2 months ago

The Republican Party needs to be reformed in order to truly become a party of Lincoln rooted in the principles of the Declaration. Such a party could win millions of minority votes and would dominant states like Virginia. Youngkin is running a Romney-style campaign destined for defeat. And Carlyle Group was one of the biggest financiers of exporting jobs and building up China at the expense of the USA. Youngkin is a hardcore globalist and does not represent the change needed.

MICHAEL PALMER
2 months ago
Reply to  Johnny Davis

That’s an interesting point, and I agree if Youngkin is a Romney type, Virginia doesn’t need him.

Karen
2 months ago

Go Virginia, you will not regret it if you go red At least we have more sanity.

Gabby Talker
2 months ago

Biden single handed led the nation to the brink of civil war, led our enemy’s to say that if we accused them of letting Corvid 19 loose on the world killing millions, and opening to boarder has proven HE IS the enemy. He should be tried as a trader and hung.

JohnH
2 months ago

Virginia must get better control of School Board meetings: the First Amendment is for a reason and it is not to be bullies & obnoxious at public meetings cuz you think you are the smartest person in the room. Most school boards are elected but not paid & do not deserve to be treated like this.

MICHAEL PALMER
2 months ago
Reply to  JohnH

When a school board pushes horribly racist tripe like Critical Race Theory, they deserve all the rhetorical beat downs they’ve gotten and more. If they were pushing KKK theories, I think most folk would be okay with a little screaming and hollerin. But it’s okay for them to push anti-white racism?

Bill on the Hill
2 months ago
Reply to  JohnH

JohnH… Spoken like the true O’Biden worshipper you are, based on your numerous feckless comments…Go hide beneath your slimy rock please & stay there…
Bill on the Hill…

Charlie Adkins
2 months ago

Obviously we need a better understanding of our history. This was an important

Deborah
2 months ago

Pray that Virginia does go RED that would be a great change for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Ron Howard
2 months ago

We should welcome any Blue state that becomes a Rede state.

Warren Miller
2 months ago

Mr. Roman needs a copy editor. In the seventh paragraph, he begins the third sentence with a glaring redundancy, which the late NYT lexicographer, Bill Safire, would call a ‘howler’ (because the writing glitch was so dreadful it made him howl in pain)::

A native Virginian all his life

Please awaken either Mr. Roman or his somnambulating Copy Editor.

WDM

Andrea Rugland
2 months ago
Reply to  Warren Miller

WDM,

Where were YOUR proofreading skills when you failed to correct the double colon following the awkwardly placed parenthetical phrase above?

Charlie
2 months ago
Reply to  Warren Miller

Funny. How about, “A native Virginian and life long citizen”.

Edward Hornik
2 months ago

VA may be lost. DC is a swamp and the swamp is overflowing

Gary Swanzy
2 months ago

Unfortunately, a lot of democrats moved to Virginia to get out of the crap of D.C. and Maryland but brought their crappy values with them and will vote for anyone with a D by their name no matter how much the state is in shambles.

Howard Hirsch
2 months ago

The VA GOP’s electoral disaster of 2019 was due in large part because they failed to field candidates for 36 delegate seats.

I’m not as optimistic about November as the author is, but even then, the most important thing to remember is that you don’t win if you don’t show up.

Hal
2 months ago

“There is no honor among thieves.” now has a corollary phrase …. “There is no honor among Democrats.” Republicans better do what is necessary to fix the abused voting system so that a repeat of the last POTUS election will not reoccur.

Hannah Tee
2 months ago

This article is ridiculous. It claims VA dems are embracing the far left while noting that several of the most leftist candidates have been booted… by the Dems. And it’s penned by an anonymous someone using a pen name. What? Realise Repubs are so toxic following the abysmal Trump years and insurrection attempt that putting your name to something so poisonous would risk ridicule?

Ralph
2 months ago
Reply to  Hannah Tee

wbere are you from. realize is spelled with a z in this country not a s

Hannah Tee
2 months ago

Your racism is showing

Charles
2 months ago

“the Republican party having opted the month before for an “unassembled convention”

No pesky voters to influence the outcome.

Last edited 2 months ago by Charles
Andrew P
2 months ago

The best thing Youngkin has going for him is that Roe v Wade will not be overturned until June 2022 – long after the election for Governor takes place. However, the case may be heard before the VA election, or not, depending on how SCOTUS schedules the case. If it is heard before or around election time, the Media will broadcast saturation scare stories to get the affluent suburban voters to vote Democrat, regardless of other issues. We will see what happens.

Paul Puletti
2 months ago

Conservatives, by large margins, believe the 2020 election was stolen from Trump and several R House candidates. Youngkin’s biggest challenge will be convincing the base that they’re not wasting their time going to the polls.

Richard Reed
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul Puletti

The evidence is overwhelming that the election was in fact stolen. The people who refuse to provide any evidence are the ones who claim it was not.

Patricia R.
2 months ago

Look at what lies ahead for our country. Biden is creating another 9/11, only not with air planes but
walking through our Southern border… He made this horrible crisis, and then there’s abortion. He
approves of it, that’s murder. God tells us if His people will turn from their wicked ways He will bless
their land.We have a very long way to go God help us,He is the only answer for our country.

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