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Compare and Contrast: Closing Arguments on Education from Youngkin vs. McAuliffe in Virginia

AP Photo/Steve Helber

In case you missed my tweets embedded in Spencer's post last night, I spent the last evening of the Virginia gubernatorial campaign in Loudoun County at Glenn Youngkin's final rally. Youngkin flew in from Virginia Beach, where he'd just addressed a crowd of more than 2,000 in a place where Democrat Terry McAuliffe decided to cancel his own event at the last minute. The Republican drew around 1,500 in Loudoun, in my rough estimation, in a county that Joe Biden carried by 25 points one year ago. Youngkin's campaign believes they have made Loudoun competitive in this election. Elections guru Dave Wasserman calculates that Youngkin needs to pull low-to-mid-40's in the jurisdiction in order to remain on track to win statewide. What struck me most about Youngkin's tight, honed stump speech was the reaction he elicited from the crowd on education. It was the most enthusiastic and visceral issue. After pledging that Virginia schools will not face any additional systemic COVID shutdowns on his watch, the GOP nominee offered his closing argument on schools and education: 


I especially appreciated his "prebuttal" on Critical Race Theory, preemptively addressing the false leftist critique that conservatives are afraid to teach American history to students. Not so, Youngkin says; schools should teach all of our history, including the "dark" and "abhorrent" chapters. What schools should not teach, he continues, is ugly racial division and race essentialism. His line on banning CRT drew one of the biggest roars of the evening, rivaled by his unsubtle references to holding school boards accountable. Speaking of which, here's the latest out of Loudoun County, in regards to this outrageous story – via The Daily Wire:

Internal Loudoun County School Board emails show a shifting explanation about how much school board members knew about a bathroom sex assault, with one member writing to the superintendent in the wake of cover-up allegations that he might have “missed an email” informing him about it — even though he previously responded to that very email asking a follow-up question, after also hearing about the incident from someone else. “From my memory I recall” only learning about it “during the public comment process,” Democrat board member Harris Mahedavi wrote to the superintendent on October 12, one day after The Daily Wire revealed that a girl had been raped in a bathroom May 28, that the superintendent had denied it in a public board meeting June 22, and that the school system had quietly transferred the assailant to another school, where he was arrested for a different sex assault October 6.

As has been previously reported, immediately after the May rape, Ziegler wrote to the school board members saying, “The purpose of this email is to provide you with information regarding an incident that occurred at Stone Bridge HS. This afternoon a female student alleged that a male student sexually assaulted her in the restroom.” Three weeks later, on June 22, Ziegler said in a public board meeting that “To my knowledge, we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms.” None of the school board members raised the discrepancy. But a week after that, on June 28, it was on the mind of school board members, the newly obtained emails show. Mahedavi replied to the May 28 email that day, writing: “Dr. Ziegler, Has there been any update on this case that you can share with the board?” Ziegler replied: “This matter is under investigation by law enforcement, and I am unable to provide an update.”
I have no idea whether Loudoun is truly in play tonight, but it's no small wonder that it's expected to be much more competitive than it was 12 months ago. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Commonwealth, Terry McAuliffe wrapped up his relentlessly dishonest campaign alongside Randi Weingarten – the anti-science, anti-child union boss who single-handedly inflicted more harm on more children than perhaps any other American over the course of the pandemic: 

McAuliffe's last rally wouldn't have been complete without yet another brazen lie, which Politico called out

Not about Trump, remember. This thread is useful in watching the results come in later tonight: 


A Republican operative reacted to these tweets with advice for Republican voters in Virginia: "Importantly, if you're a conservative in line to vote at 7pm and you start hearing that the initial results are pro-McAuliffe, STAY IN LINE AND VOTE." Indeed. As I've been saying in my analyses of this race, Youngkin needs robust GOP turnout, plus all the indies and late-breakers flocking to him, to overcome the Democrats' early vote lead. This should be eminently doable, based on what the campaign has been telling me. But it is hardly guaranteed. This is still a Biden +10 state. Because of that, lackluster Democratic turnout could also be a key to a potential Youngkin upset. That ingredient may be materializing, although early and scattered reports should always be taken with big grains of salt. I'll leave you with these two hopeful notes: 


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