By Shaun Kenney
McAuliffe may not think parents have much to say regarding the education of their children, but parents might have a thing or two to say about McAuliffe.
Funny thing about polling is that they are all snapshots of the past. Let something happen, give the environment enough time to acclimate to the new thing, survey a sample of the general population and then publish the results a few days later — a 7-10 day process if you do it right.
One can get quick answers or accurate answers — but not both.
With McAuliffe’s gaffe now demonstrable for all to see, somehow no one bothered to poll the state interposing itself between parents and their children as a bad idea. The result at present? Four points between the RCP averages and the Emerson data:
McAuliffe leads with women 51% to 45%, while Youngkin leads with men 50% to 46%. McAuliffe also leads among Black voters (72% to 25%), while Youngkin leads among White voters (53% to 45%) and Hispanic voters (55% to 45%).
Want to know the last Republican governor who got 25% of the black vote?
Remember back in June when TRS readers learned that the best move forward would be to imitate Jim Gilmore’s strategy for victory?
[I]f we’re looking for a model governor who actually reached out to black communities and build the coalition Youngkin is reaching for 20 years before its time?
Then you are looking for Governor Jim Gilmore.
. . . .
Gilmore followed through with a robust support of HBCUs and a robust fight within his own party about keeping his promise to end the universally hated car tax where Virginia Republicans ultimately came up short — a promise still unfulfilled, but certainly remembered by taxpayers disproportionately hurt by the highly regressive tax burden every six months.
At present, the former ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is still a potent and remembered force for many Virginia Republicans — and can still deliver a stemwinder of a speech.
For Virginians looking for a path forward in a tight political environment, Gilmore’s conservative optimism linked with grassroots populism was far ahead of its time — a known quality among those who respected his work on behalf of minority communities as equals and peers.
To wit, former Governor Doug Wilder has been relentless in his criticism that McAuliffe simply hasn’t done enough to pay attention to minority voters — period.
Youngkin may not have committed to a full repeal of the car tax — a more tricky move than one might think given the way it is linked to local government — but he did counter with a full repeal of the hated grocery tax. Pennies to be sure, but a moral imperative if there ever was one.
The Political Class vs. The Rest Of Us
The inestimable Jim Bacon sees it as well over at Bacon’s Rebellion — or rather, the revolt against the so-called (and aptly named) political class:
When I use the term “political class,” I am thinking not only of elected officials and senior government officials in policy-making decisions but the panoply of people working for trade associations, advocacy groups, lobbying firms, campaign consultancies and others whose make their livelihoods getting people elected, influencing public opinion, and shaping laws and regulations.
. . . .
To the extent that the political class extracts wealth from society through what economists refer to as rent seeking, it is similar to the old landowning aristocracies of Europe whose nobles performed no useful economic function. Admittedly, it is a different kind of aristocracy. Status is not conferred by birth. Status and power are largely earned — although, to be sure, family connections and wealth give some budding redistributors a head start over others.
. . . .
In Virginia today, Democrats and their factotums and allies comprise the ruling class. They are raising taxes, re-engineering the energy economy under the guise of combating climate change, using the institutions of K-12 and higher education to pit racial “oppressors” against their “victims,” and cleansing the culture of traditional icons and memorials. I sometimes call them “rulers” because many of the changes they are imposing on the country have not come about as a result of the legislative process. To an increasing degree, change is driven by regulatory action, lawsuits, and mob rule.
Bacon makes an excellent point by expanding ruling to political, one that Donald Trump touched on in the revolt of the deplorables in 2016 against the cubicle dwelling elites represented by the Clintonistas whose reductionist arguments grated against a working class who saw their jobs shipped overseas only to be told that the values that made America great were disposable in the new tomorrow.
The new frontier is entirely ideological, sharp and a Hobbesian war of all against all.
Yet if the new politics is to be defined as the institutions vs. the institutionalized, one doesn’t have to peek too far around the corner — Vaclav Havel comes to mind — to see how this is ultimately going to end.
Ideas Have Consequences
Of course, this new coalition Bacon detects reminds one of the perhaps not so old libertarian-populist coalition that Ted Cruz attempted to forge in 2016 before he was steamrolled by Trump-style — and by extension, Bannon-style — American nationalism, which was much more of a traditionalist project if it could be discerned to have a core at all.
Neither of these approaches are anything close to the old Reaganism consisting of pro-life, pro-2A, limited government and defense hawk conservatives that we have traditionally defined as the conservative movement in America — much less the disciples of Jack Kemp or acolytes of Newt Gingrich.
In fact, some aspects of both of these coalitions were opposed by the old libertarian-conservative fusionism of Reagan, Goldwater and Buckley — the “dead consensus” criticized by the likes of Sohrab Ahmari that has evolved into the now-classic French-Ahmari debates.
Yet here’s the key.
Trump didn’t have to define what he believed to the American public. All we knew and understood was that there was a coalition of the ascendant that simply knew better than the rest of us — because they flatly told us so.
So working class America put a middle finger right into the air and told Hillary to pound sand. Trump’s ideological core — to some degree much like Reagan’s — was excavated only after the fact and during his second term.
By the way, did we mention that Biden’s approval ratings are at 38% and that the congressional generic ballot is R+3? Which means we might be in D+2 territory in Virginia — either way, the opposite of good news for McAuliffe.
Of course, four weeks is an eternity in politics. With government shutdowns looming and dirty campaigning everywhere — I’m sure it will be entertaining so long as Biden remains in the low-to-mid 40s.
Much closer than the Democrats would prefer.
Shaun Kenney is the editor of The Republican Standard, former chairman of the Board of Supervisors for Fluvanna County, and a former executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia.