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OPINION

If Virginia Could Flip Republican, Other States Can Flip Too

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez

A year ago this week, the unthinkable happened: the Commonwealth of Virginia flipped Republican after eight years of Democratic rule. 

1.6 million Virginia voters spanning all political stripes elected Glenn Youngkin, Winsome Sears, and Jason Miyares as governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general, respectively. 

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I was very proud to cast my vote for the aforementioned candidates. After Democratic overreach in Richmond, many voters had buyers' remorse about the statewide blueward shift. Republicans also flipped back the House of Delegates, one of two lawmaking bodies comprising Virginia’s General Assembly, after losing it two years before. 

Governor Youngkin recently mused that Virginia is the headwaters from which the red waves commences. He’s right. Should Republicans sweep House, Senate, and gubernatorial seats next Tuesday–an increasingly likely prospect–Virginia will be cited as an inflection point. 

There are many parallels to draw between the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election and competitive 2022 midterms races. 

Much to the chagrin of Democrats, many legislative seats are in play for Republicans this year. Who would have guessed House seats in California, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Oregon, among many, being competitive? (I didn’t!) Or Senate seats like New Hampshire’s, for instance, now being in play? Real Clear Politics predicts Republicans could control upwards of 54 Senate seats and some predict the GOP could capture as high as 249 House seats.

Critics and naysayers similarly downplayed the Virginia results—calling it a fluke. The D.C. press accused Virginia’s new top office holders of being white supremacists. (Two of the three elected officials, mind you, aren’t white.) The deplorable Lincoln Project stoked racial division in Charlottesville. Critics reduced Youngkin’s victory to “Trumpism in a vest.” But none of these gross mischaracterizations stuck. Virginia voters outwitted the Democratic machine, Richmond and D.C. press, and consultant class to usher in change here in Old Dominion.

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As was the case here in Virginia, pocketbook issues are motivating voters to the polls to counter the Biden administration’s disastrous policies.

Crime, inflation, and the economy have emerged as top issues in competitive races across the country—even in blue outposts like New York and Oregon. 

In the Empire State, crime is top of mind for voters. This past week, 70 New York City Latino supermarket owners who typically vote Democrat cumulatively donated $70,000 to Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin’s ascendent gubernatorial campaign. This comes after the appointed New York Governor, Kathy Hochul, pulled her own Terry McAuliffe claiming Republican concern about crime is an invented conspiracy.

Oregon–a state that hasn’t been governed by Republicans in over four decades–is now competitive due to rampant crime, homelessness, and drugs. It also doesn’t hurt that this is a three-way race. Christine Drazan, a stalwart conservative, has garnered bipartisan support for her campaign from unlikely folks—including lifelong Democratic voters to Nike co-founder Phil Knight. This race’s outcome, if trends hold up for Drazan, will shock the country. 

Concern for pocketbook issues similarly influenced Virginia voters to reject leftist policies. Parents were rightfully angered by Critical Race Theory, schools abandoning merit-based admissions processes, and former Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-VA)’s famous confession, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”` 

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This admission ignited a firestorm by Virginia parents, even in deep blue Northern Virginia, to punish Democrats and elect changemakers to office. Along with displeasure in one-party Democratic rule in Richmond, education and the botched Afghanistan withdrawal worked against Virginia Democrats. 

Democrats outside Virginia are following the same playbook of projecting their bad policies onto their Republican opponents. Don’t be surprised if next week’s midterm results show different voting blocs—independents, suburban women, black Americans, and Latinos–pulling the lever for Republicans en masse. 

There’s a 25 point net shift to Republican candidates from, you guessed it, white suburban women. The same ladies who, just two years ago, voted for Biden because he was billed as a nice, old man. But his perceived niceness has resulted in very mean policies: higher gas prices, expensive groceries, soaring energy costs, and rampant violent crime, for example. Who could blame them for coming back home?  

A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll also shed light on GOP gains among minority voters, revealing these astounding findings: 

The issue of inflation – and the feeling that the White House hasn't done enough to address it – is helping Republicans score significant inroads among Hispanic and Black voters, both demographic groups that Democrats have long relied on for support. Now 40% of Hispanics and 21% of Blacks are backing the Republican candidate.

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If this holds up next Tuesday and into 2024, Democrats are in deep trouble going forward.

The same gains among similar constituencies was witnessed by the Youngkin-Sears-Miyares ticket. They recovered some lost ground made by President Trump in Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Hampton Roads. Independents favored them too. And laudable gains were noticed in Hispanic voters, as well.

The takeaway here is this: As goes Virginia, so goes the U.S.

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