In a desperate attempt to keep Virginia blue, Democrats trotted out old accusations of white supremacy and lobbed them against Republican Glenn Youngkin. Like spaghetti on a wall, it didn't stick.
For McAuliffe, winning Virginia should have been easy. There are more registered Democratic voters than there are Republicans, and much like urban areas throughout the country, highly populated northern Virginia could have delivered enough votes to outdraw the rest of the state.
But McAuliffe's arrogance and entitlement peaked at the end of his campaign. He became undisciplined, and one answer during the final debate with Youngkin changed everything.
"I'm not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decisions," McAuliffe said. "I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach."
McAuliffe made the statement after Youngkin held him accountable to his own record. As governor, McAuliffe limited parental rights. He vetoed legislation that would have allowed for school choice through education savings accounts, charter school funding and refused to bolster safety measures for students in schools.
"What we've seen over the course of this last 20 months is our school systems refusing to engage with parents. In fact, in Fairfax County this past week, we watched parents so upset because there was such sexually explicit material in the library they had never seen. It was shocking," Youngkin said. "And in fact, you vetoed the bill that would have informed parents that they were there. You believe school systems should tell children what to do. I believe parents should be in charge of their kids' education."
Parents immediately, if they hadn't already, considered voting for Youngkin. McAuliffe's numbers, despite early voting already being underway, began to nosedive. The panic started to set in, and McAuliffe got extra focused on calling Youngkin and his supporters "white supremacists."
"He's ending his campaign on a racist dog whistle," McAuliffe said.
Given McAuliffe's own endorsement from Democratic Governor Ralph Northam, whose yearbook page shows him in a Klu Klux Klan robe and hood or black face, the accusations were quite ironic. Virginia Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring, who also endorsed and campaigned for McAuliffe, admitted to wearing black face.
Finally, and just days before the election, The Lincoln Project sent a number of Democratic staffers to dress up as "white supremacists." They posed as supporters of Youngkin during an event in Charlottesville. Making the stunt painfully obvious, they all wore the same white shirts, khaki pants and an assortment of hats. Although it was raining, they wore sunglasses and stood with newly purchased tiki torches. It was immediately obvious they were frauds, and when exposed, shut down their social media accounts. The McAuliffe campaign never condemned the behavior.
But on November 2, the cheap and despicable smears of white supremacy and racism failed to land, and Glenn Youngkin became Governor-elect of the Commonwealth. Winsome Sears became the first black woman to win the race for lieutenant governor. Jason Miyares became the first Hispanic attorney general.
"There are some who want to divide us, and we must not let that happen. Some people would like us to believe we're back in 1963 when my father came. We can live where we want; we can eat where we want; we own the water fountains. We have had a black president elected not once but twice, and here I am, living proof," Sears said during her victory speech. "In case you haven't noticed, I am black, and I have been black all my life."
"Education lifted my father out of poverty, education lifted me out of poverty, education will lift us all out of poverty because we must have marketable skills so that our children cannot just survive, but they will thrive, and they will create generational wealth. That's what this is about," she continued.
Democrats' cynical and dishonest tactics on race failed in Virginia. They should fail where they are tried in future elections, too.