Virginia governor's race: Glenn Youngkin may win due to 'white backlash', expert says

The promise to ban critical racism theory from the state's schools may have helped Republican gain support. However, it is not currently taught in these schools.

Virginia governor's race: Glenn Youngkin may win due to 'white backlash', expert says

Glenn Youngkin could be riding a wave "white backlash", according to a leading polling expert in Virginia. The Republican took Terry McAuliffe into the election.

Asked why education was a key factor in Youngkin's stronger-than-expected showing in a state recently dominated by Democrats, Larry Sabato of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia said: "One of the candidates decided it was his ticket to the governor's mansion and he may well be right."

Sabato spoke to MSNBC and emphasized Youngkin's main appeal to education: the promise to ban critical racial theory in schools. Critical race theory (or CRT) is an academic discipline that studies the effects of racism in American society and laws. Despite Youngkin's promises to ban it, it is not taught at Virginia schools.

Sabato stated, "The operative phrase is not critical." It's not theory. It's about race. It's a shocking thought, right? Race. This is what really matters. That's why it sticks.

"There are a lot of it, you can call it white backlash or white resistance, whatever name you like. It all has to do race. We live in a post-factual age... It doesn’t matter that [CRT] has been removed from Virginia schools. We have to change this generalised mindset that whites are being pushed on. We being white voters."

Youngkin, despite campaigning on an issue that is popular on the left, has attempted to distance himself from Donald Trump, who lost Virginia by 10 points to Joe Biden. Youngkin didn't participate in the Trump Tele-Rally on Monday, his last day of frenetic campaigning.

McAuliffe was a Clinton ally and was Governor of Virginia from 2014-2018. The state doesn't allow consecutive terms. This has seen a significant lead disappear. National Democrats would be concerned if McAuliffe is defeated, especially after he failed to pass Biden’s spending bill and a bipartisan Infrastructure deal. His approval ratings have fallen to their lowest levels since his presidency.

Virginia's cultural issues dominate the race. Youngkin promised to give parents more control over gender and Covid-19 in public schools, while McAuliffe pledged to protect voting rights as well as abortion access.

According to polls, Youngkin was successful in appealing to Trump-affected independents. His strategy could be a roadmap for Republicans in 2022, when control of Congress and Biden's fate will be on the line. It won't alienate hard-liners.

Youngkin, 54, a former executive in private equity, ran as an advocate for parents who want greater control over their children's education. He took advantage of anger from conservatives who feel schools are too far reaching in the name diversity. On Monday, Youngkin spoke in Richmond and promised to bring about a Virginia where the government doesn't tell us what we should do.

McAuliffe (64), gave Youngkin a political gift when, in September, he stated that "I don’t believe parents should tell schools what they should learn."

Youngkin has been relentlessly trying to tie Trump to Youngkin, attacking him for not stating whether Biden won the presidency legally. Youngkin acknowledged Biden’s victory, but also demanded an audit of Virginia’s voting machines. This led Democrats to accuse Youngkin of validating Trump’s baseless conspiracy theories.

Barack Obama and Biden both voted for McAuliffe. Youngkin has avoided any discussion about Trump, who has never visited the state. The former president claimed that Youngkin would protect the suburbs, and did not repeat his lies regarding voter fraud in his tele-rally.

McAuliffe replied on Twitter that Trump was "pulling all the stops" to win the race, because he knew Glenn would advance his Maga agenda in Virginia. Tomorrow Virginia will choose a better path.

Youngkin attracted a larger audience to his final rallies. McAuliffe stated in Fairfax that Glenn Youngkin was finishing his campaign. It was a lie.

Sabato's UVA team changed their prediction from "leans Democratic” to "leans Republican" in their final words on the campaign.

"Our perception is that the race has moved toward Youngkin," Kyle Kondik, J Miles Coleman wrote. "In large part, this is because of the political climate." McAuliffe’s Trump-centric campaign just doesn't seem to be as potent in non-federal races with the former President no longer in office.

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