Republicans are eyeing Glenn Youngkin’s successful campaign for the Virginia governor’s mansion as a roadmap for the 2022 midterm elections.
For the GOP, the victory is more valuable than simply gaining another governorship. Youngkin’s campaign, Republicans argue, offers a blueprint for dealing with some of their biggest challenges of the upcoming midterm elections, including how to win over swing voters, exploit President Biden’s vulnerabilities and navigate their party’s relationship with former President Trump.
“I think it’s clear that Youngkin and Republicans have found issues that work,” Keith Naughton, a veteran Republican strategist, said. “You’ve got to address voters’ direct concerns and not your own hobby horses, for lack of a better term. You’ve got to react to what the voters want.”
Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a former Virginia governor, on Tuesday in a hard-fought race that dealt a blow to Democrats’ belief that Virginia had moved firmly into their corner. The victory is almost certain to propel Youngkin to star status within his party as Republicans dissect his campaign for lessons ahead of the midterms.
A former private equity CEO and first-time candidate, Youngkin used his campaign to elevate issues like taxes and education. While Trump endorsed Youngkin for the governor’s mansion, it was only after he had secured the GOP’s nomination, and Youngkin never campaigned side-by-side with the former president.
In fact, he rarely mentioned Trump’s name during his general election campaign. While he seized on issues that resonated with Trump’s conservative base — demands for increased election security, for instance — he talked about less controversial messages with swing voters.
Naughton said that strategy undermined Democrats’ efforts to cast him as a Trump acolyte while helping him avoid backlash from the former president’s most loyal supporters.
“The things that mattered in suburbia — over education and safety and crime — they resonate with Trump voters,” Naughton said. “You just have to translate that to the broader electorate, people in the suburbs. And Glenn Youngkin did that very successfully.”
Jean Card, a former Bush administration official and Trump critic, said that Youngkin’s campaign offers a new model to other Republican candidates by defying what has often been treated as conventional wisdom in the GOP in recent years: that fealty to Trump is the best and easiest path to victory.
“It has a lot to do with threading that needle; accepting the Trump endorsement, but not embracing Trump in any way,” said Card, who lives in Virginia and voted for Youngkin in Tuesday’s election. “It’s clear to me that a lot of effort must have been made to keep Trump away. He never campaigned here.”
“The more McAuliffe said ‘Trump, Trump, Trump,’ the more Youngkin’s team seemed to stay away,” she added.
That strategy appeared to help Youngkin win back some of the support that Republicans lost in Virginia during Trump’s time in the White House. He outperformed the former president’s margins in places like Loudoun County and won outright in Chesterfield County, just south of Richmond, where Trump lost to Biden by nearly 7 points.
“It’s a matter of keeping Trump at arm’s length, or maybe fingertip length. He had the right personality for this. He looks like a governor, he has an upbeat personality. His style was so obviously different from Trump.”
Trump hasn’t hesitated to take credit for Youngkin’s win, arguing that it was his loyal base of voters that handed him the governorship. In a radio interview on Wednesday morning, the former president expressed frustration that he had not been given more credit for the race’s outcome.
“Without MAGA, he would have lost by 15 points or more,” Trump said on the “John Fredericks Radio Show,” using the acronym for one of his political slogans. “Instead of giving us credit, they say, ‘Oh he’s more popular than Trump.’ It’s unbelievable.”
Still, Youngkin’s success exposed the limits of Democrats’ continued focus on Trump as a campaign weapon, a strategy that helped propel them to victory in recent years.
It also underscored the party’s vulnerabilities as it prepares to head into the 2022 midterm elections. Biden’s approval rating has plummeted in recent months, damaged by the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, a summer surge in new COVID-19 infections and rising inflation.
At the same time, Democrats in Congress have been mired in an intraparty debate over Biden’s key legislative priorities, including a $1 trillion infrastructure package and a $1.75 trillion social policy and climate change bill. One veteran Democratic strategist said that McAuliffe’s loss emphasized the need for the party to act quickly on Biden’s agenda.
“We missed the writing on the wall” in Virginia, the strategist said. “We haven’t shown that we can get anything done and we’re still expecting people to give us more power, more governing capacity.”
Other Democrats, however, had a different takeaway. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who has pumped the brakes on his party’s spending plans, said that the election results were proof that many voters are concerned about the size and scope of Democrats’ agenda.
“You can read so much into all of that last night,” he said. “I think it should be a call to all of us have to be more attentive to the people back home.”
The Democratic losses in Virginia were a sobering reminder for the party of its precarious position heading into 2022. The GOP needs to net just five seats in the House and only one in the Senate to recapture control of Congress. What’s more, the party of a new president almost always loses ground in Congress in the midterm elections — a foreboding reality that Democrats are well aware of.
Republicans, meanwhile, are already game-planning around Youngkin’s strategy. In a memo sent to members of the conservative Republican Study Committee on Tuesday night, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) advised lawmakers to “learn from Glenn Youngkin.”
“Youngkin turned out the Republican base in southern Virginia, kept working class voters in the fold, and made big gains in suburban, immigrant-heavy, college-educated and wealthy northern Virginia. The exact group that supposedly ‘disowned’ the GOP,” the memo reads. “He expanded the GOP tent and he did it by focusing on the issues.”
Of course, picking which issues and messages to focus on is one thing, Naughton said, but keeping Trump on the sidelines in 2022 is a fool’s errand.
“You can’t keep Trump from being quiet. He’s going to do what he wants to do for himself,” Naughton said. “He’s unpredictable. He can say anything and stick his nose in at any time and upset the apple cart. And Republican candidates have no control over it.”
Foreign-born population soars to new record under Biden; highest rate of immigrants since 1910
The U.S. has had a massive surge in immigration this year, with as many as 1.5 million newcomers and a record 46.2 million foreign-born people, according to a report for the Center for Immigration Studies.
After a deep trough last year, likely because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the travel and migration restrictions imposed to control the spread, the flow of people rebounded around the time President Biden was elected.
In numbers never seen before, they are coming legally through airports and land border crossings and illegally across the Rio Grande and remote regions of Arizona and California.
“There was pent-up demand for legal immigration, and illegal immigration has exploded in one of the greatest surges, if not the greatest, we’ve ever seen,” said Steven A. Camarota, the demographer who was the chief author of the report. “It’s driving the numbers up and up and up.”
As it stands, 14.2% of the U.S. population is foreign-born, or 1 out of every 7 people. That is the highest rate of immigrants in the population since 1910, when the number was 14.7%. At current trends, the government says, the U.S. will break that record well before the end of this decade.
Those numbers are even starker given the reversal of trends.
The data showed a drop of 1.2 million immigrants from February to September 2020, likely the result of coronavirus restrictions blocking new entrants, even as outmigration continued. That left the population of the foreign-born — the Census Bureau’s term — at 43.8 million.
It was up to 45 million by January and marched steadily to the current 46.2 million total shown for last month.
In the year after President Trump’s election, the immigrant population flattened.
Mashup: MSM worst moments of 2021
Salvation Army’s Internal Survey Suggests Only Whites Are Racist
“I Took The Salvation Army’s Internal Survey On ‘Racism’ Within The Organization. Here’s What I Discovered.”
The Salvation Army has recently come under significant fire for asking white donors to “offer a sincere apology” for racism. The nearly 150-year old organization created a curriculum entitled “Let’s Talk About Racism” and shared it with its members, along with associated DEI Trainings that cite and draw from Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi’s work. The packet argues that Christians should “stop trying to be ‘colorblind’” and that they should apologize for being “antagonistic.. to black people or the culture, values and interests of the black community.” In response, donors by the thousands have vowed not to donate until the organization reverses their stance.
The Salvation Army has denied any wrongdoing, defiantly calling the allegations that they have gone woke “false.” While they admit that the topic of race in America can be fraught with controversy, they have denied they have “gone woke.” Much of their denial centers around their claim that use of the guide was completely voluntary, and that they are not peddling critical race narratives in their organization.
I obtained a copy of The Salvation Army’s internal survey on “racism within the Salvation Army” and tested that claim.
One Salvation Army officer reached out on condition of anonymity to Color Us United, the raceblind advocacy organization which I run, to reveal an internal survey he was asked to take. It was not a voluntary survey, and was sent by the Territorial Diversity and Inclusion Secretary to every Salvation Army Officer in the US Central Territory. The purpose of the survey, according to an email from the “Territorial Racial Diversity and Inclusion Secretary,” was “to better understand perception of institutional racial bias within The Salvation Army.” The accompanying email stated that there was no “preconceived idea” with regard to whether or not racism existed in The Salvation Army, and told recipients that there were no wrong answers.
I sat down and went through the questions.
First, Questions #1, #2, and #3 asked me for my race, age, and gender. I could not skip these questions. Already, I felt uncomfortable being required to list my personal attributes. If I was an officer, I would be wondering: how could this information be used against me in the future? (They did promise anonymity in this survey.)
The survey then asks Salvationists if they agree with the following definition of racism: “Institutional racism refers to organizational or system processes, behaviors, policies, or procedures, which produce negative outcomes for nonwhites relative to those for whites.” The remaining questions in the survey are dependent upon agreeing to this definition of racism. For any Officer or Soldier who disagrees with this framing, there is no way to express any disagreement or nuance apart from plainly saying that racism does not exist.
Question #6 goes on to ask the survey taker whether they believe there is any institutional bias or racism in The Salvation Army. Question #7 says: “If you answered no to question #6, do you think others in The Salvation Army think there are racial tensions or institutional racism?” The purpose of these questions, I started to feel, was to force the survey taker to admit that The Salvation Army is institutionally racist according to their definition of racism. There is no room for any Officer to elaborate on how they disagree with the definitions, framing, or worldview informing the questions.
The final question asks: “What is the best way to address Racism in The Salvation Army?” The answer options are: “individual reconciliation,” “group reconciliation,” “addressing structures and practices that cause racism,” “all of the above,” or “other.” Note that there is no option for the survey taker to simply say that racism is not a problem in The Salvation Army. The survey (which according to the email, was “intended to go to all the officers within your division, employees, and soldiers” for the Central Territory) simply assumes that racism is present in the organization.
Going through the survey, it became apparent that the survey was attempting to lead me to making only one conclusion about The Salvation Army – that it harbored problematic racism.
This belief is one of the core tenets of critical race theory. Critical race theorists teach that racism is ubiquitous in all aspects of American life. They also teach that it works systemically; that is, by being ingrained in the systems and institutions that operate in society. Their primary evidence of the system being racist is the reality that individuals from different demographics have different life outcomes on average, without taking into account any variables that might impact said life outcomes apart from the color of their skin. All of these concepts are reflected in The Salvation Army’s survey.
Any officer who believes in individualism, colorblindness, and meritocracy will be unable to answer any of the survey questions in good faith. Any officer who believes that The Salvation Army is not a racist organization would not be able to answer these questions in good faith either. Many (if not most) Americans believe that racism is primarily an issue of individuals who harbor feelings of hate against those of other races, not a society-wide conspiracy as alleged by antiracist activists. This survey totally excludes the colorblind perspective from the conversation and forces Officers and other Salvationists into a critical race theory-informed box.