Election time in Virginia: McAuliffe fails to gain momentum, inspire

Terry McAuliffe has an enthusiasm problem because his unhinged socialist base knows he’s not a radical, but he’s sure campaigning as one.  

For months, Republicans, independents and conservative Democrats in Virginia have watched Mr. McAuliffe falsely label critical race theory a conspiracy and tell parents they shouldn’t be involved with their children’s schooling. They’ve grown outraged by his elitist tone. An organic coalition of moms and dads has formed to fight the divisive curriculum that’s poisoning our schools, and Mr. McAuliffe is on the wrong side of history. This is not where the former governor expected to be just days before Election Day 2021.

Radical Democrats in Virginia made no secret that they would have preferred one of their own as their next governor and fully understand that Mr. McAuliffe is an old Clinton retread who’s now just pandering for their votes. In fact, about 38 percent of Democrat primary voters in Virginia voted against nominating Mr. McAuliffe for another term.  

That’s problematic for Mr. McAuliffe because success in the general election on Tuesday is all about enthusiasm and voter turnout, and quite simply, left-wing Democrats in the Commonwealth don’t trust him.  

Conversely, all the excitement appears to be on the side of Republicans and their nominee for governor, a political outsider and businessman Glenn Youngkin.  Mr. Youngkin is running as a fresh-faced reformer trying to end the destructive one-party rule in Richmond. By contrast, Mr. McAuliffe is a career politician and political hack running to defend the corrupt liberal status quo failing our children.

What’s making matters worse for Mr. McAuliffe is sitting just across the Potomac River at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.: President Joe Biden. In just over nine months in office, Mr. Biden is failing the American people on all fronts. Instead of solving problems, Mr. Biden has developed an annoying habit of creating them. On account of Mr. Biden’s disastrous left-wing policies, America faces a border crisis, crime crisis, inflation crisis, Afghanistan crisis, and a vaccine mandate crisis.  And this is bad news for Mr. McAuliffe, the first Democrat on the ballot during Mr. Biden’s unfolding catastrophe. 

In September, Politico reported The Presidential Coalition (TPC) poll found Mr. Biden’s approval rating in Virginia at 49 percent approve to 48 percent disapprove and Mr. McAuliffe beating Mr. Youngkin 46 percent to 42 percent. In late October, that same poll found Mr. Biden’s approval rating had fallen to 45 percent approve — 50 percent disapprove in just a month, and the horse race showed Mr. Youngkin now leading Mr. McAuliffe 43 percent to 41 percent.  

This data makes clear Mr. Biden’s recent appearance in Virginia to campaign with Mr. McAuliffe is a huge risk for Democrats in the lead up to the election. Mr. McAuliffe is desperate to get his base motivated to vote, and Mr. Biden is in no position to do that. The reality is that progressives view Mr. Biden’s time in office as an abject failure because they don’t think he’s been radical enough. Imagine that.    

Mr. Youngkin’s hopeful and inclusive message of education reform and ending critical race theory, honoring and funding police, and creating more economic opportunity for all Virginians is resonating with voters. The aforementioned poll also found that Mr. Youngkin is more trusted than Mr. McAuliffe to create jobs and jumpstart the economy by a margin of 44 percent to 38 percent.  

Mr. McAuliffe’s standing with Virginians on education issues isn’t any better. For example, when asked which candidate is more trusted to make sure parents have a say on where their children go to school and what is being taught, Mr. Youngkin is favored in the polling data by a huge twenty-point margin, 48 percent to 28 percent.

And when surveyed about Mr. McAuliffe’s recent controversial statement, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach kids,” 37 percent of respondents said it bothered them and made them less likely to vote for Mr. McAuliffe. In the world of politics, that’s an unforced error that may end up costing Mr. McAuliffe a tight election.  

The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) outrageous letter equating parents who attend school board meetings to domestic terrorists has become a defining issue in the race for governor. A whopping 84 percent of Virginia voters polled said that they agree parents “should be able to freely question and raise concerns to their local school boards regarding their children’s education.” Maybe that’s why the NSBA sent a memorandum to their members to say that they now “regret and apologize for the letter.”

It’s been a year since the controversial 2020 presidential election, and all eyes are now on Mr. Youngkin and Mr. McAuliffe in Virginia. Enormous questions about the mood of our country and the future of Mr. Biden’s socialist agenda are on the ballot.

Come Nov. 2, and we’ll have some answers.  

• David N. Bossie is president of Citizens United, and he served as deputy campaign manager for Donald J. Trump for President.  

Sign up for Daily Opinion Newsletter