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Politics Trump-backed candidate would turn back the clock on progress in Virginia

20:21  14 october  2021
20:21  14 october  2021 Source:   thehill.com

Black voters were central to Terry McAuliffe winning the governor's mansion in 2013. Will they help him return?

  Black voters were central to Terry McAuliffe winning the governor's mansion in 2013. Will they help him return? Back in 2013, Terry McAuliffe won a majority of Black voters when he sought -- and ultimately won -- the top office in Virginia. © Drew Angerer/Getty Images Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) arrives to speak during an election night event after winning the Democratic primary for governor on June 8, 2021 in McLean, Virginia. M As he vies for a second term as the Commonwealth's governor, he wants to do it again.

Political scientists like to call states the "laboratories of democracy." The theory is that states are greenhouses where democratic reforms take root, then flower and eventually grow outside large enough to cover the nation. Populist and progressive reforms that started in the states bore fruit and became the basis of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal.

Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin and Democratic Terry McAuliffe © Greg Nash Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin and Democratic Terry McAuliffe

But the laboratories of democracy have morphed into houses of horror as we approach Halloween. Red states like Texas and Florida are doing everything in their power to restrict voting and to obstruct the fight to tackle the deadly COVID_19 delta variant.

Virginia GOP candidate tests school fight message for 2022

  Virginia GOP candidate tests school fight message for 2022 LEESBURG, Va. (AP) — When Democrat Terry McAuliffe said during the Virginia governor’s debate last week that he doesn’t believe “parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” his opponent pounced. Republican Glenn Youngkin quickly turned the footage into a digital ad, then announced spending $1 million on a commercial airing statewide proclaiming that “Terry went on the attack against parents.” Youngkin's campaign has since foundedRepublican Glenn Youngkin quickly turned the footage into a digital ad, then announced spending $1 million on a commercial airing statewide proclaiming that “Terry went on the attack against parents.

We have learned the hard way during the pandemic why governors are so vitally important. High COVID-19 rates in Florida and Texas under Republican governors Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott vividly contrast with states welcoming COVID-19 precautions and vaccines mandates.

Governors are the last line of defense in the battle for reproductive freedom. The abortion ban in Texas and the possibility and the prospect of SCOTUS action to restrict choice have raised the stakes in gubernatorial races.

Which brings us to Virginia. Once the bastion of the Confederacy, Virginia has become a laboratory for progressive policies and programs.

Since they took complete control of state government early last year, Democratic legislators have passed, and Gov. Ralph Northam (D), has signed groundbreaking laws to increase the minimum wage, protect reproductive choice and to control violent gun crimes.

Can Democrats in Virginia and New Jersey replicate the 2020 wins?

  Can Democrats in Virginia and New Jersey replicate the 2020 wins? Both races could be barometers for both parties for the 2022 midterms.The races have focused on some similar issues: handling the COVID-19 pandemic, access to abortion, the economy, and both the current and former occupants of the White House.

The GOP candidate running to succeed Northam is wealthy businessman Glenn Youngkin is a conservative Trump supporter who describes himself as "pro-life."

Progress will become a thing of the past if voters turn back the clock and elect Youngkin, the Republican on the ballot. His Democratic opponent is Terry McAuliffe, who previously served as Virginia governor from 2014 to 2018. Governors in Virginia cannot serve consecutive terms.

If the policy impact of the race isn't enough to whet your appetite, the political implications are mouth-watering. There are several good reasons to focus the bright lights toward the white-hot governor's race in Virginia.

The party that wins the gubernatorial contest will have national bragging rights when the media spotlights shine on election night.

The campaign in Virginia is of course an appetizer for the dinner next November during the midterm elections when voters in 35 states will go to the polls to vote for governors. Then there's the all-you-can-eat feast in a potential rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump for the White House in 2024.

Virginia's elections will be the most telling political test yet of stringent Covid policies

  Virginia's elections will be the most telling political test yet of stringent Covid policies The off-year elections in Virginia this November will serve as possibly the most revealing test of whether strict coronavirus policies, like vaccine mandates and mask requirements, are good politics in a contested election. © Win McNamee/Getty Images ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA - SEPTEMBER 28: Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (L) (D-VA) and Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin (C) participate in a debate hosted by the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce September 28, 2021 in Alexandria, Virginia. The gubernatorial election is November 2. Also pictured is moderator Chuck Todd (R).

Youngkin has the dubious endorsement of Trump who lost Virginia in his failed bid for reelection by 10 points to Biden. Democrats are hoping to make Trump's support a liability for the candidate they call "Trumpkin." But a poll completed this week by CBS News and YouGov shows voters there evenly divided on the Biden's performance.

Competing streaks are on the line on Election Day. Democrats have won every statewide election in Virginia going back to 2013. But in last two contests, the party occupying the White House has lost its lease on the governor's mansion.

The gubernatorial contest between McAuliffe and Youngkin is as tight as a tick on a hound dog, according to the CBS survey. The close race indicates that partisan turnout will determine the outcome. Early voting has already commenced and the Virginians who have voted have voted Democratic. However, late voters appear to be more inclined to support the Republican.

The poll also indicates that the Republican candidate has an advantage among likely voters, so Democrats are pulling out all the stops to motivate their base. This weekend former Georgia gubernatorial hopeful Stacy Abrams will campaign for McAuliffe. Later this month former President Barack Obama will travel there to motivate turnout.

Biden has already campaigned for McAuliffe and will visit the state again before Election Day. The visits by prominent national Democrats underscore the urgency of the outcome and the desire to preserve progress that Democrats have produced in Virginia.

Voters in Virginia can leap forward this fall to continue the progress under Democrats or turn the clock back to reverse the recent progressive policies with Republican leadership.

Brad Bannon is a Democratic pollster and CEO of Bannon Communications Research. His podcast, "Deadline D.C. with Brad Bannon," airs on Periscope TV and the Progressive Voices Network. Follow him on Twitter: @BradBannon

GOP's Youngkin stays away from 'Take Back Virginia' rally .
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — GOP gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin stayed away from a rally Wednesday featuring Republicans who have spread falsehoods about election fraud, although political allies were due to attend and former President Donald Trump, a Youngkin backer, was expected to call in. Conservative radio host John Fredericks, a former Trump campaign chairman in Virginia, organized the “Take Back Virginia Rally” that drew at least a few hundred people in the Richmond suburbs to fire up the GOP's right wing in the runup to the Nov. 2 elections. Among those who spoke or were expected to were: Winsome Sears, a Republican running against Democratic Del.

usr: 1
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