Glenn Youngkin’s victory in the Virginia governor’s race on Tuesday is a political thunderclap that should warn Democrats about their ideological overreach. But it may be more important as a template for how Republicans can win back the suburbs after their alienation from the GOP during the Trump presidency.
The rebuke to Democrats also was clear in New Jersey, where Republican Jack Ciattarelli was neck-and-neck Wednesday morning with incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy. Ciattarelli won back suburban counties in a huge voter swing that pollsters didn’t see coming in a state Joe Biden won by 16 points.
Youngkin, a businessman and first-time candidate, defied the historical trend by winning a state that has been trending Democratic. The GOP hadn’t won a statewide Virginia race in more than a decade, and Biden beat Donald Trump by 10 points. The decisive swing vote had moved away from the GOP in the suburbs around Washington, D.C., Richmond and Virginia Beach.
Youngkin clawed back enough of that vote to defeat former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and sweep the other two top statewide offices. He did so by focusing on quality-of-life issues such as education, public safety, and the cost of living. He didn’t shrink from disputes over culture and school curriculum, but he didn’t approach them as a zealot. He didn’t run a single immigration ad, a contrast with the Trump era. He talked like a normal human being.
The Republican was helped because this time the zealotry was on the left. McAuliffe, a centrist when he was raising money for Bill and Hillary Clinton, indulged every obsession of the party’s dominant progressive wing.
Keep schools closed, ignore parental objections to teaching critical race theory in schools, and call Youngkin a “Trumpkin” with sympathy for white supremacists.
McAuliffe closed his campaign by appearing with Randi Weingarten, the teachers union chief who fought to keep schools closed. There’s a political mood killer.
Off-year races for governor aren’t a predictor of 2022, but they should tell Democrats that they’re on a losing path.
President Biden ran as a centrist who would unite the country, but he has governed by bowing to the left on nearly everything. He has pushed identity politics and radical spending programs when people care about the soaring price of gasoline. The president’s approval rating has tanked, as independents and even many Democrats have grown disillusioned.
The Democratic temptation will be to dismiss their Tuesday thumping as a normal reaction against the party that controls Washington.
Congressional leaders will make the case that they must now, more than ever, pass their $4 trillion tax and spending bill lest they demoralize their supporters going into 2022.
That’s easy for Speaker Nancy Pelosi to say. She’s probably retiring anyway. But that strategy is volunteering 20 to 30 Democrats in swing suburban districts for political suicide.
Virginia Reps. Elaine Luria and Abigail Spanberger are prime targets. Without Trump on the ballot, Democrats are less motivated to vote. Their agenda of record social spending and higher taxes has compromised, with inflation and supply shortages, what should be a booming recovery.
The smart strategy would be to drop the Bernie Sanders agenda, settle for the Senate infrastructure bill, and recalibrate to win some bipartisan victories. The Virginia defeat gives Biden the opening he needs to finally say no to the left. It may be the only way to salvage his Presidency. Sen. Joe Manchin and the swing-district House Democrats would do their party a favor by withdrawing support for the Sanders-Pelosi entitlement blowout.
— The Wall Street Journal
The ill-conceived proposal to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a Department of Public Safety has been soundly defeated.
In the face of rising crime, including a 40% increase in carjackings, Minneapolis voters on Tuesday rejected an empty plan that featured promises and interpretations of what might happen, but few actual details.
That was always the proposal’s major failing. It would have rolled back minimum law enforcement staffing and funding requirements in a city that already has far too little of both.
It also would have extended the City Council’s power over policing and put another layer of bureaucracy above the police chief — if one remained in the new structure — in the form of a commissioner.
No one, however, should take the rejection of the amendment as a vote for the status quo. There is hunger for real change that will finally rid the Police Department of the toxic culture that was on full display with the murder of George Floyd.
The critical elements that allowed that culture to flourish would not have changed under the amendment. A union contract that has protected rogue officers must be renegotiated. State laws that handcuff the police chief from dealing with such officers must also be revisited.
— The Minneapolis Star Tribune
Most people have a vague awareness that huge swaths of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil are either on fire or being clear-cut by farming and lumber industries.
We also know that much of the scrubbing of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is accomplished by that same massive rainforest, a region that has been poetically but accurately described as the “lungs of the world.”
Just as the Amazon helps us land creatures to breathe, coral reefs provide a similar function for the fragile ecosystems beneath the world’s oceans. For the millions of sea creatures living in proximity to the great reefs, they are indispensable and irreplaceable links in the ocean’s ecosystem.
Last month in the science journal “One Earth,” a study concluded that half of the world’s coral reefs have been destroyed since 1950. This is a catastrophe.
Climate change, over-fishing and pollution are believed to be the primary culprits in the destruction of the source for food and shelter for the fish, crustacean, algae and plant life that have depended on a symbiotic relationship with the reefs since before humans took to the seas.
The accelerating destruction of the coral reefs also affects the economies of nearby indigenous populations who depend on fishing and tourism to provide a living. There isn’t much demand to visit once-healthy multi-colored coral reefs now bleached white and marinated by acidic waters toxic to all life.
— The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette