With Glenn Youngkin defeating former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe by 50.9% to 48.4%, there are plenty of takes coming from the pundit sphere about how Youngkin was able to pull off such a victory.
This is after all a Republican victory in a state that is perceived as safely blue. Understanding how Republicans came out victorious not only in the gubernatorial race but also retook the Virginia House of Delegates is necessary for national populists to understand electoral dynamics moving forward.
Exit polls demonstrated that critical race theory, a theory that advances the idea that the U.S. is a fundamentally racist nation, played a major role in their decision to vote for Youngkin.
According to a Fox News Voter Analysis, 25% of Virginia voters perceived the CRT debate as the most important factor they considered when deciding who to pull the lever for in the gubernatorial race.
Of the voters who viewed CRT as the most important issue in the 2021 gubernatorial elections, 70% backed Youngkin, while only 29% supported former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe.
All told, 72% of Virginia voters indicated that CRT was an “important” factor in shaping the way they voted during the 2021 gubernatorial elections.
CRT and other forms of left-wing degeneracy being promoted at schools has motivated parents to flood local school board meetings in protest.
Similarly, a Twitter user by the handle of @JRoseThinks noted that CRT was at the top of Google searches in Virginia right around election time.
JRoseThinks tweeted “Red is ‘critical race theory’ google searches in Virginia; blue is “Roe v Wade.” Culture is what lost this race and will lose this country.”
What’s clear is that culture war issues ranging from CRT to other forms of radical leftist ideas being taught in the classroom can galvanize not only conservatives but also disaffected moderates and independents that think the Left’s Great Leap forwards in cultural radicalism go too far.
Gone are the days of only talking about basic economic policy items like tax cuts or fiscal conservatism. Now is the time for populists to dig deep on cultural issues and identity matters like immigration. Youngkin, who for all intents and purposes, is a Chamber of Commerce Republican, had the foresight to continue railing against CRT during the elections.
This represents a major shift in the Republican mindset that is needed if the party wants to remain relevant in the present environment of political polarization.
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