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Fool's Gold? Virginia Elections Might Have Nuked a 2020 Democratic Party Voting Narrative

AP Photo/David Goldman

When there’s a voting bloc that is 60 or so million deep and you think you can win without them, you’re in fantasy land. When some young progressive thinks this is a viable electoral strategy, you should fire that person. The Virginia election offered something the Democrats that have given more than a few night terrors: an electoral apocalypse. Virginia Gov-elect Glenn Youngkin won rural Virginia big league, but he also chipped into the Democratic gains in the suburbs. This could be a lesson for Republicans as well. Nothing is permanent in politics. One year can make a difference. In 2008, it was the year of the Democrat and questions—very silly questions—about whether conservatism was dead. Then, the 2010 Tea Party wave crashed into Washington. Suburban voters are centrist. They do flip—and Democrats are wondering whether a lot of the 2020 exit polls were nothing but fool’s gold. Bottom line: they need to reach out to the very people they hate. White rural voters and the working poor (via NYT):


In the jigsaw puzzle that is electoral politics, Democrats have often focused their energy on swingy suburbs and voter-rich cities, content to mostly ignore many white, rural communities that lean conservative. The belief was, in part, that the party had already bottomed out there, especially during the Trump era, when Republicans had run up the numbers of white voters in rural areas to dizzying new heights.

Virginia, however, is proof: It can get worse.

In 2008, there were only four small Virginia counties where Republicans won 70 percent or more of the vote in that year’s presidential race. Nowhere was the party above 75 percent. This year, Mr. Youngkin was above 70 percent in 45 counties — and he surpassed 80 percent in 15 of them.

“Look at some of those rural counties in Virginia as a wake-up call,” said Steve Bullock, the Democratic former governor of Montana who made a long-shot 2020 presidential run, partly on a message that his party needed to compete in more conservative parts of the country. “Folks don’t feel like we’re offering them anything, or hearing or listening to them.”

Mr. Youngkin not only won less populated areas by record margins — he was outpacing former President Donald J. Trump’s 2020 showing in even the reddest counties, including by six percentage points in Bath County — but he also successfully rolled back Democratic gains in the bedroom communities outside Washington and Richmond, where many college-educated white voters had rejected Republicanism under Mr. Trump.

 The twin results raise a foreboding possibility for Democrats: that the party had simply leased the suburbs in the Trump era, while Republicans may have bought and now own even more of rural America.

Republicans have never had a demographic stronghold as reliable as Black voters have been for Democrats, a group that delivers as many as nine out of 10 votes for the party. But some Democratic leaders are now sounding the alarm: What if rural, white voters — of which there are many — start voting that reliably Republican?

“It’s not sustainable for our party to continue to tank in small-town America,” said Representative Cheri Bustos, the Illinois congresswoman who led the House Democratic campaign arm in 2020.

“We’ve got a branding problem as Democrats in way too many parts of our country,” said Ms. Bustos, who is retiring from a downstate and heavily rural Illinois seat that Mr. Trump carried twice. She called it “political malpractice” and “disrespectful to think it’s OK to run up the score in big cities and just neglect the smaller towns.”


The groups who recruit Democrats to run know the dangers. The folks who have tracked voter patterns for decades know the dangers. The data crunchers that work for Democrats know what’s at stake. They see the problem, but they also knew this back in 2016—and nothing happened. There were no messaging changes. Instead, the national party doubled down on ‘woke’ narratives. And the result was nothing was done. ‘Wokism’ is not popular. Normal people do not speak in the lexicon of the far-left. Biden was Mr. Executive Order for the better part of this year and his first spending bill while a ‘win’ when it comes to checking a box, was an absolute circus to pass. Another thing Democrats need to keep in mind is the ‘defund the police’ nonsense. Minneapolis’ initiative on that crashed and burned, with a lot of help from nonwhite voters. The jury is out. It’s not popular, and it’s just the seat of irony that the faction most in favor of this insane policy are rich, college-educated white liberals. 

They’re pushing nonwhite voters into the GOP camp, especially those in the working class. White and nonwhite working-class voters becoming reliable Republican cohorts. That’s electoral death for the Left. Yet, we know they won’t do anything. Liberal America is too insulated to make any changes. They’re the most self-righteous and condescending folks in America. The moral superiority complex was already at play when they lost in 2021. We’re not wrong—it’s just everyone else is a white supremacist. 


Yeah, and this is you lost, guys. But they don’t care. It’s a rinse and repeat cycle. It’s a vicious one and while it’s annoying to hear all their fantasy-land crap—it’s helping us tremendously in freeing voters from the toxicity that is American liberalism. 

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