Democrats’ Freakout: McAuliffe Loses VA Governor Race by Nearly 3 Points; NJ Governor Result Too Close to Call

We predicted a mid-term wipeout for the Democrats based on their indifference to supply chain-induced shortages, which are already making critical medications like chemotherapy drugs and insulin hard to get. That’s now become a much less daring call based on challenger Glenn Youngkin beating former governor and Democratic fixture Terry McAuliffe by a comfortable margin, a real blow to Democrats’ trying to convince themselves that the dogs are eating their dogfood. From NBC:

The state was Democrats’ to lose. No Republican had won statewide since 2009. Biden won by 10 percentage points last November. And outgoing Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who is prohibited by the state constitution from running for a second term, won by 9 percentage points in 2017. Democrats won control of the state legislature for the first time in decades two years ago and pushed through an expansion of early voting rules that some analysts predicted would help the party turn out its base.

As far as I can tell, the Democrats big pitch for McAuliffe was that Youngkin was a Trumpie. Rather hard to pin that on an independently wealthy businessman (ex the private equity firm Carlyle) who is exactly the sort the Trump Administration would have given a senior post in a heartbeat had he been game. The Youngkin team managed to persuade Trump to stay out of Virginia, and the ex prez made only a few supportive noises from the sidelines.

The fact that Youngkin is 6’7″ didn’t hurt.

It also seems noteworthy that the press called the Virginia election late. I can’t recall, clock-wise, when I checked, but then, according to Associated Press, over 92% of the votes had been counted and Youngkin was ahead by two points….yet no one had called the race? By contrast, our John Siman, who teaches in Loudon, had sent an e-mail at 10:01 EDT, with scruffy Buzzfeed declaring Youngkin the winner, with the majors not following suit for more than two and a half ours. What gives>?

And remember, absentee ballots, which were expected to skew Democrat, were tallied first.

Oh, and the Democrats may have lost the Virginia house by one vote. Stay tuned.

And in the writeups I’ve seen so far (Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Associated Press, NBC, Bloomberg, save for Bloomberg, no one included the actual results, as in Youngkin 51%, McAuliffe 48.3% when Associated Press weighted in. I can’t recall evah seeing an omission like this. Is it hive mind self-censorship? The Journal admittedly has this image on its first page, but not in the article proper, which is where you land if you fallow an e-mail alert or Twitter of Facebook link:

By contrast, the Democrats’ efforts to shore up McAuliffe not only didn’t succeed but appear to have backfired. The press took note of McAullife’s use of what the Democrats consider to be star power. From Associated Press last week in In Virginia, McAuliffe brings big names, Youngkin goes solo:

Democrat Terry McAuliffe has brought in the biggest names in Democratic politics to come to his aid in Virginia’s hotly contested gubernatorial race: Obama, Harris, Abrams, Biden (both Joe and Jill).

Republican Glenn Youngkin, meanwhile, is campaigning with … Glenn Youngkin

In fact, if you look at polling over time (not that the polls were so hot, they predicted the candidates as tied or Youngkin only a half point ahead on the eve of voting), Youngkin pulled ahead right before the election:

Nate Silver commented one day ago:

On one hand, the competitiveness of the race is a bit surprising as Virginia has leaned Democratic in recent years. It voted for President Biden by 10 points in 2020, and it has elected a Democrat in every statewide election dating back to 2012.1 But on the other hand, this D+5 state, according to FiveThirtyEight’s partisan lean,2 is still very susceptible to shifts in the national environment. And thanks to an unpopular Democratic president in the White House, the electoral environment currently favors the GOP.

Headed into the election, Biden’s approval rating sits at about 43 percent and his disapproval rating at about 51 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight’s presidential approval tracker.3 It’s underwater in Virginia, too. Recent polls from USA Today/Suffolk University, Fox News and The Washington Post/Schar School found Biden’s approval rating in the mid-to-low 40s. This may galvanize Republicans — who were already more likely to show up at the polls in reaction to having a Democratic president — while also potentially repelling some independents who backed Biden last November. It’s also dampened enthusiasm among Democrats. The final poll from Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center found that 80 percent of Republicans were “very enthusiastic” about voting, compared with just 65 percent of Democrats.

So it was clueless and probably counterproductive to send in national Democratic figures when the voters are not keen about them. Even worse, Obama scolded voters the day before the Loundon county teen accused of raping a girl in a women’s bathroom while cross-dressing was found guilty on an pervious rape, um, non-consensual sex charge.

It’s not clear what Obama meant by “trumped up culture wars” in his speech, but many took it as a slap against parents upset that a boy with an outstanding rape allegation was allowed to use a women’s bathroom. And if you look at the poll chart, Youngkin’s momentum increased after the speech. So at a minimum, Obama’s star turn was no help.

Youngkin, by contrast, made a point of sticking strictly to in-state issues. McAuliffe, who could have tried to stay above the teaching controversy by (correctly) depicting it as a local matter, instead put himself on the side of the defensive officialdom by saying, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Youngkin made hay with that in campaign ads.

Youngkin also promised more responsive services. The night before the election, he told voters they would know he’d changed things when they called the DMV and not only got a live person but also had that person say, “How can I help you?” The crowd roared.

Exit polls had voters putting the economy as their top issue and “education” as number two. But the Loudon controversy got so much attention that one wonders if it had greater impact on the marginal voter.

And the Democrats couldn’t call out Youngkin (a native son, unlike McAuliffe) as a Richie Rich:

And although the fat lady has not yet sung, an even more dire signal for Democrats’ prospects comes from New Jersey:

More post mortems coming!

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  1. vlade

    Democrats are turning out to be more and more totally incapable of anything except for in-party infighting.

    Same goes for the UK’s Labour, at least US Dems could have claimed to be in power (well, could, if it wasn’t for the “moderates”, who by most people’s political compass are centre right in fact).

    The really sad thing is that even a total Dems wipeout won’t help, because in the US two-party system it won’t let anyone else in easily, and the temptation to

    Well, it seems that relatively peaceful options for the change in the US are going away.

      1. vlade

        yes, it was. But chances are that Dems are not going to look at the real reasons why they lost, and instead keep looking for more Russiagates and similar.

        In addition to that, it’s not like Republicans would present a real alternative..

        1. Cheryl

          The Democratic Pharm club immediately look outside themselves when they lose an election.

          Who will they blame for this, Trump? Russia, Racists?

          Kamala Harris butting into Virginia probably pushed Youngkin over the line.

          The Demowhigs are history if they let her appear in anywhere in public.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Let us pray Kamala Harris appears everywhere in public whether the Demowhigs “let” her or not.

        2. Skip Intro

          Some say the Russians have kompromat on Manchin, and are forcing him, against his will, to be so openly corrupt that he discredits not just the democrats, but the whole of our Democracy (as embodied in Terry McAuliffe). I won’t believe it until we get an official denial from the DNI.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Well, actually the Republicans do present a real alternative. It is an even worse alternative, but it is a real one.

          Sometime soon a critical tipping point massload of people will decide that the time has come to fly the plane into the side of the mountain and see what happens next. When that time comes, they will vote for the best suicide-pilot for that job.

          Better an end with horror than horror without end?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      This is one thing that I find striking about the Democrats and, to a lesser extent, Labour in the UK. The obvious electoral incompetence that would have a student union canvasser fired. How difficult is it to establish whether bringing in establishment big guns for a local election is going to be positive or negative for a campaign? This is absolute basic knowledge for an electoral strategist, and yet it seems to have been beyond the grasp of the Dems.

      My personal theory is that in FTP type systems, in the long run selective pressures within major political parties pick strategists who are very good at internal politicking (i.e. ensuring they keep their jobs), without there being any pressures to pick ones who are any good at winning elections. At least, unless there is some external force (doners) insisting on victory as a primary requirement. The details may be different, but I think the underlying dynamics are the same.

      The question though is why, with all their disfunctionality, the Republicans (and the Conservatives) never seen to forget that the purpose of a political party is to win power.

      1. vlade

        IMO, because they actually like the power, and know what they would do if they had it. Unlike many lefties, who dream about “what we could do”, but in reality aren’t really that keen on getting there.

        So IMO a better question is to ask, why do the left leaning parties lack the drive for power.

        1. jsn

          Because of the centering of money in Neoliberal politics.

          So long as the first qualification for entry into electoral politics is the willingness to solicit bribes, only those willing to solicit bribes will be in politics. When money is the goal of power, there’s a nearly circular Venn Diagram between those wanting power and those wanting money: “conservatives”. Where other initial motives predominate, there is a Vescia piscis shaped Venn: “liberals”.

          Liberals all go into politics to do something “good” but to do whatever that initial motive was they must first do something they know is “bad”: solicit bribes. The institutional interest of this system favors those who more desire money than whatever power could do for whatever “good” excuse they found to solicit bribes in the first place. Thus became The Democratic Party in the US, the Labor Party in the UK. And the conservative circle rolls right over the liberal Vesia piscis most of the time.

          1. redleg

            The Dems take that rolling over as instruction on how to win and adopt ever-so-slightly milder versions of the policies of the victors. Both parties then become more conservative. Lather, rinse, repeat.

        2. Left in Wisconsin

          Um, because actually opposing powerful interests is hard: it’s bad for your fundraising; it’s bad for your personal and social life; if you become a real threat, those powerful interests constantly come for you, over and over, until they get you. What politician wants that?

          In the U.S., and I would guess in the UK too, the vast majority of Democrat/Labour politicians are “high school class president” types. They want to be liked and admired and respected. They don’t want to challenge power, they want to join it. The mistake is believing that any of these people are “left leaning,” if by “left” we mean opposed to and willing to challenge existing systems of power.

          1. jsn

            And they’ve mostly bought into the need to solicit bribes to get what “they” want, thus identifying, when push comes to shove, with their donors.

          2. Terry Humphrey

            “They don’t want to challenge power, they want to join it”
            Great observation LIW, one of the best summations of today’s Democratic Party I’ve ever read. Reminds me of the old Dylan lyric, “Money doesn’t talk, it swears.”

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          ” Drive-for-power” leftists were purged from pubic life in two waves, first during the Administration of Twentieth Century America’s most evil President, Woodrow Wilson, and second during the Truman-McCarthy anti-communist-socialist-left adjacentist crusade.

          So after that, very little left was left. And what left was left was spiritually polluted and contaminated with the vile filth of spiritual pacifism. Listen to Joan Baez songs. You won’t hear the slightest trace of Drive-to-power in any of them.

          And of course the Paperclip Nazi Deep State stands ready to assassinate any leftist, or even non-rightist, who might attain and use real power; if the Clintonite Sh*tobamacrats can’t “assassinate” them first, the way they did with Sanders.

          It looks like National level electoral politics is a radioactive sewage lagoon, and change-seekers will have to find other battlefields to wage culture/economic/social combat operations on.

      2. Cat Burglar

        Republicans have fewer internal political blockages than Dems — the donors pay, and the Republicans deliver. They believe in what they are doing. So no problem.

        Democrats are suffering from a blockage between large donor interests, and popular pressure from below for policy change in the interest of working, living people on a living planet. So far, the political party plumbing system has held up, but the pressure in the system has risen enough that it is springing leaks and valves are getting sticky. Unless the party leaders can do some real work on the system, we’re headed into system failure mode: valves stuck shut, blowback (this is the correct engineering origin of the term, I believe), system transients, and pipe rupture. The success of the large donor Democrats has meant that the left’s only option is to continue to increase the pressure more.

        Trying to psychologize Democrats might be interesting in individual cases, but if we are going to reduce our understanding of how the system works to the interactions of the smallest possible particles, then we should at least get the type of particle right: not individual politicians, but dollars.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If the House DemProgs can destroy both bills, and be SEEN to be the ones who destroy both bills, they will at least have earned the personal credibility which comes from being willing to use power to destroy their enemies.

          They can then start to build up their own separate parallel plumbing system for gathering and using the basic particle of politics, the dollar. Every dollar they can deny from reaching the Clintonite Sh*tobamacrats will help scorch the earth under and around the Mainstream Democrats. And every dollar gained for themselves can help them become the start of a Red Gingrich Party devoted to burning down the House and the Senate too if they don’t get their way.

          Unless they, too, are too subhuman to see it that way.

          Love is a crock of sh*t.
          Welcome to the Behated Society.

          1. Cat Burglar

            The House left made an act of power in blocking the infrastructure bill. We only have to wait to find out how much they meant it. Perhaps it is just a setup for the final sellout, when the fix holds.

            My guess is the Senate — if the fix is not already in — might be doing some multi-dimensional chess in the negotiations. Manchin and Sinema are bribable — perhaps tax breaks for the rich in trade for drug price negotiations? No capital gains tax increase for Medicare expansion?

            One stuck-open valve caused the Three Mile Island nuclear accident.

    2. Big River Bandido

      What you call “in-party fighting”, I call “theater”. The Democrats clearly never had any intention of doing any of the things they promised to do. The “fight” is staged to try and convince voters otherwise.

      If Chuck Schumer and the Senate Democrats were the least bit unhappy with Manchin and Sinema, they would have “six ways to Sunday” of making them pay for it.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        There is zero the Dems can do to Joe Manchin or Sinema. If they bolt, the Biden Administration never gets another cabinet secretary or federal judge. The psychopaths are in charge

        1. jsn

          Which is why Schumer and Pelosi recruited them and hooked them up with DCC funds.

          Here is the strategy everyone is always saying the Democrats don’t have: they had the foresight to crush progressives in the Primaries to ensure the Republicans would maintain veto power even if the Democrats had a nominal majority. They doubted that GA could really deliver, but on the outside chance it did, they had this card left to play.

          Maximum fund raising, minimum governance.

          1. Mike Elwin

            I think both views are correct. I don’t think the Demopluticrats want to lose the control they so recently barely won, but they’re not broken hearted about it, either. They will go only so far to maintain it, but no farther. I think they know they will personally be fine if they hold back and play along, just as the plutocrats played along with the fascists in Italy and Germany.

            I’ve been hoping Biden could hold on, but I’m getting scared. And, being a career independent contractor, I have a conflicted stake in maintaining the filibuster; once it is broken the PRO Act will pass and most independent contracting will go the way of blacksmithing.

        2. Mo.B

          Wrong and you missed the point. As Lambert keeps emphasizing, the Manchin and Sinema types are exactly the ones that the Bidens and Schumers support. The reason is exactly what Big River says — to make it seem like there are some good Democrats, and we just need to keep fighting to elect more of them. It is a scam and you have fallen for it (or maybe you’re just trying to fool others)

        3. Otis B Driftwood

          Nonsense. The first thing they can do is remove them from committees. That would be an important start.

          1. juno mas

            That is a potential move for dealing with Sinema as she is facing a grumbling electorate back in Arizona. Manchin would just flip his Party affiliation; Dems then lose the power of Harris breaking tie votes, Joe now gets Repub funding and wins next Senate election in WV.

            (The US Senate is the most undemocratic, powerful, political body in the world.)

        4. drumlin woodchuckles

          The Joemala Administration can appoint Acting Cabinet Secretaries and can scorch the earth around every federal judge the Republicans would support.

          A Red Gingrich Party would think that way.

          A Red Gingrich Movement would try to destroy the lives and reputations of Manchin and Sinema so they could never walk the streets in daylight again. They could seek revenge.

          The House Dems could spend the next year holding hearings on price fixing of insulin. They could destroy Daughter Manchin’s life so Senator Manchin has to watch his daughter’s life being destroyed, and every other future rotating-villain Democrat sees it and wonders whether it is worth being a rotating villain.

          If the House Dems do that, they will prove themselves to be human beings capable of revenge. If they don’t do that, they will reveal themselves to be the sort of slimy ooze-festering subhumans from which all decent humans recoil and turn away in nauseated disgust.

        5. Michael Fiorillo

          One thing they could have done six months ago (not that they ever would have) was impanel a federal grand jury in West Virginia, to investigate price gouging in the medical products industry. Senator Manchin could have then been called to the White House and informed that the well-publicized exponential prics rise in Epi-Pens was a primary focus, and that his daughter (head of the company at the time) is a person of interest in said investigation.

          They might have been surprised how pliant he’d become in negotiations.

          1. John k

            Yes, there are things they coulda done.
            You don’t suppose they needed his obstruction to keep pharma and other donors happy? Bearing in mind dnc funded him and sinema? Were their right wing pro-pharma positions secret?

      2. TimH

        An example being Obama’s big lie promising medicare for all, while assuring the industry that it won’t happen?

        To my mind, Rebublicans say they’ll do things I don’t want, and succeed to a large degree. Democrats promise things I do want, but have no intention of making any change except for a weak gesture that has high soundbite value but no real effect.

        1. Oh

          Obamba did the same thing about overturning NAFTA – told the people one thing and the Corporations the opposite. Net resut – Money won!

  2. Maritimer

    No mention of Covid in that article. Strange indeed since Covid is so political. Is it the censorship? If Covid is a negative factor, don’t mention it, one cannot report anything negative about Covid policy, even if it influences an election.

    Here are the vaccination rates by county as of October 30, 2021 in Virginia.

    Pretty hard to believe political analysts would not look at Covid as a factor. Even more so since Florida, Texas and other States dissatisfied with Covid policies are making their own decisions.

    If the Democrats are on the wrong side of Covid, watch out. They may need more than just a booster.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, the exit polls didn’t find it one of tippy top issues in this election. From the NBC story:

      NBC News exit polls found the economy was the top issue for Virginia voters — they split roughly evenly on which candidate they trusted more to handle the issue — followed by education, taxes, Covid and abortion, in that order.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The shift in parents with kids in K-12 seems like a big deal, though I suspect they voted for Trump and Romney and so forth.

        It’s underreported, but Virginia had the longest lock down for schools and basically no strategy for going back to school. It’s from the 4th of July in 2020, but a friend who was on the faculty, now teaching again said said the plan was basically to have everything back to normal by the end of September of 2020. All they were planning was weekly waves. This is at a good school system, probably past glories and coasting. 15 points in one group doesn’t explain a 12 point swing in total, but I imagine continued dissatisfaction with Virginia schools was what brought out that group. It’s the part of government they see everyday. Youngkin hit that and the grocery tax. I saw almost nothing about the fuel tax. You eat everyday, and I suppose understanding poor vehicle choices is ones own fault.

        I really go back to the Kaine 2005 race. Education was his non stop mantra. He won by 7 points in a race everyone was preparing for a recount.

        Going back to education, parents should have received their first round of report cards, right before Youngkin moved in the polls. Terry closed with his “big, full plans” line because “huge” was already taken, but where was his five step plan to get kids back on grade level? And if they aren’t college educated as exit polling indicated, the are going to be more dependent on schools by and large.

      2. jonboinAR

        Speaking of education, I wonder how much the Loudon County school board controversy specifically factored in.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I think it did, but not in the way it would be presented. My gut is the 15 point parent swing (more non off year voters becoming activated than a swing) was a result of their own dissatisfaction with the current school situation and renewed messaging pushing them to vote. CRT by October 1st was bland and played out. Terry Mac still had a commanding lead, but the realities of exposures and grades that weren’t merely turning in assignments likely fed real concerns. Youngkin isnt mean (he probably is, just not in public) or a weenie like the last set of GOP state wide candidates since 2009.

          If there was more leadership on the schools by Northam, there would be noise in Loudon and nothing more. These kinds of “gaffes” for lack of a better word don’t hurt unless there is an underlying issue. It’s like George Allens fall in 2006. The rumors about him had been around for years. There is stuff in a different area that never came out that is maybe worse about him, but when he had his dog whistle moment it changed the attitude of the media and nice establishment. People came off the sidelines. People who didn’t expect to win, voted just to say eff you.

          1. Anthony Noel

            From what I can tell with limited and conflicting information is that CRT was largely a smokescreen to try and paper over significant push back against the removal of things like advanced math and other “merit” based placement systems with so called “equity” based programs by trying to claim the parents against it were racist trump supporters.

            Of course the irony being that a significant portion of the students who were successful in those programs are Asian, but poc status seems bestowed not based on your identifiable ancestry but rather your identifiable politics.

            I would imagine that this sort of thing is a fault line that the GOP will be able to effectively widen in the mid terms and in 2024. The courtier class does not like the idea of anything stripping opportunity away from them or there offspring.

            After all they’re the good people. They believe in all the right things, you don’t need to undercut our kids chance to join the courtier class, no no we all know it’s the rubes and deplorables, now they need to clean up their racist institutions, not us. Nothing a PMC hates more then being called whatever insults they’ve been slinging at the deplorables.

            If the GOP is smart they can Judo throw the Dems IDpol bs right back at them next cycle.

      3. outside observer

        Saagar Enjeti yesterday mentioned that those who have not been vaccinated overwhelmingly supported Youngkin (about a minute and a half in):
        I’m not sure how big of an impact that had in the results, but I thought it interesting that not one word was spoken about either covid or the vaccine mandates in NPR reporting this morning.

        1. Arizona Slim

          I’m wondering if the word “mandate” is being put into the same MSM jail as that drug whose name must not be named unless it’s referred to as something you give to horses.

    2. Louis Fyne

      From the livefeed, easily 70% of the Dem. crowd at the McAuliffe post-election “celebration” were maskless, and packed in like sardines. Take that Florida.

      check out the archived live feeds at youtube

        1. Michael Ismoe

          Perhaps that they are hypocrites.

          On the other hand, the Dems have now found out that running to make the world “safe for trannys” probably isn’t a winning electoral strategy

          1. Otis B Driftwood

            I know the right wing like to focus on culture wars. As do corporate dems. Otherwise, they have nothing of substance to offer.

            VA and NJ offer more convincing proof that this is more about the Dems in Congress and Biden not delivering on a single campaign promise on issues that actually matter to voters.

            Bookend this with the way the corporate dems and the republicans in Buffalo coalesced to defeat socialist India Walton.

            A perfect reflection of the rottenness of our political system.

            1. Code Name D

              The right wing focuses on culture wars because it WORKS for them. It mobilizes their voters and shapes their zeitgeist. Conservatives are in a war of good vs evil, build on religion and fear. For good or ill, Republicans service this perverted popular interest held by their base, and are reworded with votes when they serve it.

              Corporate Dems in contrast only think they understand the culture wars. They THINK they have INVENTED the perfect cultural touch stones; critical race theory and vaccine mandates are just the most recent example and that the voters will turn out to support it. And when their constituents complain, they are beaten over the head “conform or Trump will win.” It doesn’t work. It has NEVER worked.

              Republicans want to dismantle public education through school vouchers and privatization. You vote for Democrats to reverse that agenda. And what do you get when you vote for Democrats? Further dismantling of the public education system through school vouchers and privatization. But “critical race theory! Our “privet” schools will have colored teachers and gender-neutral bathrooms!

              The mask issue that original pointed out is a part of this. It’s this foe cultural issue that isn’t reflective of reality. It also exposes their hypocrisy. Remember the recent Texas Dems flight from Huston? They didn’t wear masks either and even ended up spreading COVID to the Capital Building. But that’s just fine because – reasons. It exposes the fact that Dems do not have a coherent COVID policy, let alone one founded on science. Instead, its little more than scoffing at the unwashed rednecks.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                Your assertion is not supported by evidence. The big issues in VA were the economy and education. The districts that went R had >75% of their voters polling as seeing the economy as not very good. That was far and away the strongest predictor.

                It was the wealthy suburbs that swung most, and they aren’t bastions of Fox watchers. Their issue was education, and their concerns were much narrower. They were pissed about having moved to districts with pricey housing and then having advanced math and other programs cut because blacks did poorly and Asians did well. This is not “culture wars” in the way Fox and Breitbart present it, but elite/elite aspiring parents finding merit-based education going out the window.

                McAuliffe saying that parents should not tell schools what to teach…when that is one of the big reasons we have public school boards in the US, was waving a red flag in front of these voters.

                1. Code Name D

                  I really must disagree here. I will admit that I do not have access to McAuliffe’s side of the debate. But even here in Kansas, I DO have access to Younkin’s side through talk radio and other publications. I can’t get away from it. There are you-tube adds, face book posts. The Water cooler. Hell, I was getting Younkin adds in my mailbox! (Looking for donations and canvassers.) Yes, Younkin’s campaign reached me here in Wichita Kansas. And they have been non-stop 24/7 about how “critical race theory” is “destroying our schools.”

                  Part of the campaign was a set of congressional hearings involved turning parents into domestic terrorists, and clips from those hearings have been on heavy looks for days now. The “criminalization” of prenatal concern that ended up on you-tube and face book. Oh, this may not have been part of Younkin’s campaign, but it didn’t need too as Younkin is just a small bit player in a much larger narrative.

                  I don’t know how McAuliffe responded, but I would bet he made the same mistake as you – assuming this had to do with some esoteric budget cuts involving math class. (Really? Show me the exit polling that asked questions about math-class budgets.) That is NOT where the debate is! All we really know for sure is that education was one of the top issues of the race. But education is ALWAYS one of the top issues of any race. It’s true here in Kansas, and VA is not some random outlier with education. So even that polling data is not as informative as you might think.

                  With respect, your range of evidence is way to narrow. This is where Republicans excel, horizontal media uniformity. They had congressional hearings about this. The Younkin campaign has an effect here in Kansas (and I expect elsewhere as well), laying the groundwork for the mid term elections that other Republicans can use in their campaigns – without a great deal of money I might add.

                  The thing about culture wars is that it is about cultural identity of the rank and file. These issues live on the kitchen table. While establishment democrats can’t be bothered to come down from their ivory towers built from programs and impenetrable academe. More often then now shouting down their own base about very real issues.

                2. Code Name D

                  This is a very good discussion on the topic. It starts with real yet complex issues held by real voters. Issues that are usually born from real or perceived Democratic arrogance and entitlement. Republicans weaponize the issue into the culture war zitegist. Democrats respond poorly, not understanding either the real issues at work or how Republicans distort the issue for their own ends.

                  Voters: We are not sure its worth bringing in these high-priced consultants (with questionable degrees no less) who come in and lecture us about gender identity bathrooms.


                  Democrats: You are making the whole thing up.

                  Voters: Um, no, these consultants are expensive!

                  Democrats: Shut up! Vote for us because Trump.

          2. feox

            “Trannys”? Why such hate for people who are different? And why would voters with such hatred deserve good governance?

            1. Lambert Strether

              > why would voters with such hatred deserve good governance?

              In a democracy, all voters deserve good governance. Those who do not hate, those who hate, and (above all) those who think they don’t hate, but do.

              1. TBellT

                Certainly, but strong irrational feelings cloud the mind and lead to poor decision making. Those who hate may deserve good governance, but seems unlikely that they’re hatred will produce it.

            2. jimmy cc

              so the Democrat position is that they are too good for us?

              ‘its not us, its you. Vote Blue ’22’.

                1. ambrit

                  My favourite version of that theme is: “Don’t change whores in the middle of a revenue stream.”

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                That’s the sentiment which got Dr. King assassinated.

                By Lee Harvey Oswald. Acting alone.

    3. Carolinian

      The vaccine mandate and the callous way it has been handled are merely symptoms of Biden’s general cluelessness and–always lurking in people’s minds–possible mental fade. And other rather radical ideas like packing the Supreme Court indicate an institutional mental fade on the part of the Dems in general. The rationale in the minds of the Dems seems to be that radical change is needed due to crises like AGW. But the public aren’t stupid and can well see that people like Pelosi and assorted other Congressional trogs are more out for power than the general welfare. So clearly the only message our politicians are going to understand is for that power to be taken away.

    4. Lynne

      I saw an interview with the Republican lt governor candidate, in which she claimed that waiters in restaurants were required to ask for proof of vaccination before serving a customer. And that, in some cases, they insisted on photo ID as well to confirm that the person was the same one as named in the vaccination card.

      Is that actually, true? Does anyone know? Even one isolated incident like that would be devastating for the Democrats next year if they don’t change course. Imagine the ads: you don’t have to show photo ID to vote, but you do to grab a hamburger?

      1. wmkohler

        This has happened to me personally two times so far dining out in Los Angeles. The actual legal requirement for waiters to do so has not yet gone into effect – anecdotally it seems to be the more hipster-oriented establishments catering to a younger crowd that have asked.

        In both cases I showed the bartender a photo of my vaccine card and they did require ID as well to verify that it was mine.

        The ordinance that was passed that goes into effect on the 8th requires that you have a photo of both sides of the card, front and back, plus of course the corroborating photo ID. Interested to see if I get pressed on this going forward.

        But yes, happens regularly, not a remarkable occurrence at least out here in CA.

  3. thoughtful person

    A 3% loss here in VA is a 13% swing from 2020. NJ swing from 2020 probably even greater.

    My guess is it’s an enthusiasm gap. Lower turnout on the dem side.

    Why would that be?

    Lack of concrete material benefits.
    Supply chains just the latest dysfunctional breakdown. Look at healthcare. 760,000 dead from covid, 100x the rate in SKorea per capita. Insurance very expensive and huge deductibles mean angry customers. Eviction moritorium over….

    The Democrat party still needs working class votes to win elections, believe it or not

    1. Pavel

      Who could have predicted that a party that broke two essential promises during a pandemic (the Jan 2021 “$2000” payment and a vow to reform prescription medicine prices) would fail to inspire voters to turn out?

      And that speech of Obama’s was tone deaf at best.

      Everyone who had a part in this feckless campaign should retire from Dem politics.

    2. cocomaan

      I’ve already seen the $2000/$1400 stimmy debacle from earlier this year mentioned.

      Not to mention democrats threatening to turn student loan payments back on.

      At this point Trump delivered on more material benefits for people than Biden.

      1. marym

        “Trump delivered on more material benefits for people than Biden”

        It’s a low bar, though. No one expects Republicans to deliver any material benefits to the 99%, so it’s not deemed a failure when they don’t. Trump’s general outrageousness gave the Democrats a temporary reprieve from having to pretend any interest in delivering for the people. Now their failures are on display again.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          The last time they gave us money to spend it caused an “inflationary spiral” that hurt rich people. We will never see direct checks again, ever.

        1. redleg

          And provided more relief payments than the Dems. Next year is going to be a red tide for sure.
          The Dems deserve to be crushed, except the only alternative is the GOP, and history has shown that Dems don’t think they have lost anything at all since 1992.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            There are “DemProgs” maybe, and there are Clintonite Sh*tobamacrats for sure. If you think your election running office-seeker is “DemProg” enough for your taste, then go ahead and vote for it.

            If you think your DemParty office-seeker is a Clintonite Sh*tobamacrat, then why not vote against it, one way or another? If the goal is to exterminate the Clintonite Sh*tobamacrat Party from existence, isn’t defeating every single DS candidate in every single election a way to do that?

            And then maybe a legitimate political party can be seeded and grown on the empty space left behind.

            And the Congressional Clyburn Caucus will be the last Clintonite Sh*tobamacrats left standing, because their racially loyal base will never ever vote against them. But if they can be marginalized, then they can be excluded from National politics to prevent their Sh*tobamacratic Clintonism from polluting the broader political process.

      2. lance ringquist

        name one universal concrete material benefit that nafta billy clinton, or empty suit hollowman obama delivered. can’t name one.

        trump however needed to do little to look way better than any nafta democrat. biden is living up to his nafta reputation, nothing will fundamentaly change.

        the bar nafta democrats set is so low, that a real estate/game show host looked like FDR to a lot of people.

  4. dk

    I was wondering about comparative spending on this one.

    This page at The Virginia Public Access Project gives some overall figures.

    Based on that data, Dems outspent GOP about 2:1 on NGO’s, the parties roughly even on media, and 88% of “Independent Expenditures” (advocacy) went Anti-McAuliffe or Pro-Youngkin.

    The Outside Groups tab shows:
    Single Interest Groups
        D: $3,669,562
        R: $150,000
    Partisan Groups
        D: $8,870,196
        R: $10,770,000
    Organized Labor
        D: $7,343,563
        R: $0
        D: $19,883,321
        R: $10,920,000

    Political Ads tab:
        Pro-McAuliffe or Anti-Youngkin: $31,636,083
        Pro-Youngkin or Anti-McAuliffe: $29,120,877

    On the Election Overview tab, scrolling down, we find:

    Independent Expenditures
    “An independent expenditure is money spent — without coordination with any campaign — to advocate for the election or defeat of a specific candidate. These are often attack ads that appear on TV, social media, direct mail or involve door-to-door canvassing.”
    Total: $5,036,317
        Pro-McAuliffe: $137,986 (2.74%)
        Anti-McAuliffe: $2,801,669 (55.63%)
        Pro-Youngkin: $1,656,389 (32.89%)
        Anti-Youngkin: $408,974 (8.12%)
        Pro-Blanding: $31,298 (0.62%)
        Anti-Blanding: $0 (0%)
    Pro-McAuliffe + Anti-Youngkin: $564,960
    Pro-Youngkin + Anti -McAuliffe: $4,458,058

  5. Henry Moon Pie

    Might the end of the collaborationist Democrats finally be in sight?

    I was having some positive thoughts about Jayapal and the team the Progressive Caucus had assembled, including Omar and Gallego, but if they vote for the Billionaires Bonanza Bill and its concrete pouring and privatization, I have no us for them either. Nothing could be worse for the climate than that stupid bill.

    I would love to see someone, Tlaib, Omar, AOC, someone stand up and lay out the recent history of our billionaires and their corporate flunkies assembling the bipartisan bill, then destroying Bernie’s bill to the point where it’s a net negative. Then they should say they’re striking out in a new direction not controlled by the donors.

    As for the danger of allowing the Republicans back in power, there is some, but they will have no better success trying to correct course and get things working again. In fact, they will be even worse. Being in power will finish them off too.

    The question remains:, what will politics look like after both parties meet their demise.

    1. Buckeye

      I’m sorry, but this is just wishful thinking. The Dems may be destroyed (to the joy of all on this site) but the Rethuglicans will NOT. They are already a pseudofascist one party dicatatorship and will rule the failed
      nation with an iron fist. All failings, economic, climate, educational, judicial etc. are already blamed on “leftists”; they have been doing it on steroids here in Ohio.

      With complete power the right wing will wage a “dirty war” against all opposition, just like they do in Latin America. We are subjected to a hell-scape of conservatism and it will only get more violent because there is NO solution to reduced energy supplies (and higher prices), no solution to farmland ruined by drought and idiot farming practices (with food shortages and high prices), and no solution to concentrated wealth and power other than revolution, which the right-wingers welcome as a chance to slaughter people they consider “not real Americans”.

      1. marku52

        I’m afraid this is too accurate. Our “democracy” already on its last legs, has been demolished by the Dems insistence that they would rather fail than let the left have anything.

        Obama’s night of the long knives (amongst others) ended US democracy. It’s right wing fascism from now on out. The only thing between us and Trump 2.0 is a heart attack. But the pubs have others nearly as bad (tho Trump has an unusual evil level of cunning).

        1. MG

          Trump is a lazy grifter who fails at almost anything he has ever started in life. Often in spectacular fashion.

          If Trump had an ‘evil level of cunning,’ then the attempted coup he plotted on Jan. 6th would have succeeded including having a military option contingency.

          Bolisinaro is even more incompetent and loathed in Brazil but he understands that if he has the military leadership lined up behind him he stands a good chance of retaining power regardless of what happens in the 2022 election. Courts and National Congress are too weak and distrusted to oppose him.

      2. Big River Bandido

        They are already a pseudofascist one party dicatatorship and will rule the failed
        nation with an iron fist.

        Had to re-read this to verify which party was referenced — I’d say the above statement applies equally to both sides of the Uniparty.

        1. Buckeye

          Paul Street at Counterpunch dot com disagrees. He notes the failings of the Democrats but he VEHEMENTLY condemns people who see this as “both sides guilty.” No, the Republicans are the Amerikaner Fascist Party of Trump.

          Anyone who wants a blistering education should read Paul Streets’ posts at Counterpunch dot com. He has posts on this going back 2 1/2 years at least.

          1. CoryP

            It is indeed all Paul Street has talked about for the last 6 years. I have one or two of his older books that were worth reading earlier in my political education.

          2. CoryP

            It is indeed all Paul Street has talked about for the last 6 years. I have one or two of his older books that were worth reading earlier in my political education. “They Rule” and something about Obama.

      3. albrt

        We shall see. All it takes to get the “pseudofascist one party dictatorship” republicans out of power is for an opposition party to make credible promises of material improvements for the great mass of working people. It’s so easy that even the utterly dishonest and incompetent democrats have been able to do it a couple of times in recent memory.

        If the American people want to get out from under the thumb of the pseudofascists, they just need to get rid of the democrats and organize a party that stands for something and then elect moderately honest representatives. As Winston Churchill allegedly said, “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” Apparently things just haven’t gotten bad enough yet.

        1. TBellT

          Churchill was wrong or talking about different Americans. This country looked at 700k deaths and decided everything was fine and the idea of a national health program was ludicrous. They’re not waking up from this dream and the rest of us screaming about it are stuck in their nightmare.

          1. eg

            From outside of America it looks to me like your death toll is about an order of magnitude too small to move the needle there. You live in a seriously sick and disordered polity.

          2. anonymous

            To repeat the poster above… “Apparently things just haven’t gotten bad enough yet.”

            Buckle up.

        2. jonboinAR

          The problem is the Democrats, Republicans, whoever is a real candidate for election as in, has a real chance, they’re ALL beholden to donors. The big donors own both parties, entirely. For a candidate to be a REAL candidate, AND not be owned by the big donors, whatever you want to call your party, I don’t know. Maybe they can go the route that Bernie pioneered with the small donations, but what happened to him? Totally caved. Was it just his mild character? His attitude seemed to be “I have to give in to the Democrats because they’re better than the Republicans, who are Satan incarnate.” WE all know there’s no practical difference actually between the two parties (&^%$ Demo-rats gave us Obamacare!. Prolonged the Afg. war, gave us Syria, etc.). How is it Bernie doesn’t understand this? I’m flummoxed. Anyway, back to topic. As long as big donors are calling the shot, nothing CAN change, IMO.

        3. marym

          Let’s say for the argument that both sides are trending more or less equally pseudofascist. If one side of the keepers of the established order is destroyed without the existence of a movement with a vision and constituency committed to something different, the winning side doesn’t just sit there while a third party movement is built to elect “moderately honest representatives.”

          The older establishment Republicans embraced and funded the movement from the right, which is now replacing it in government power from school boards to the Trump presidency and the SC. They’re enacting the formerly somewhat quiet parts of their corrupt, authoritarian, anti-working class economic and social agenda.

          The establishment Democrats so far have destroyed or coopted any movement from the left and even from the somewhat well-meaning liberal players of the game, like the few House progressives. They’re exposing their own quiet parts, but there is no organized movement to build something different.

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        The ” not real Americans” still have a chance to acquire firearms and ammunition, and learn how to use them. Black Americans are setting an example here.

        If the “not real Americans” are too pacificentricly hoplophobic to buy guns and ammo and learn how to use them and then train to use them in organized action groups, then I suppose they are indeed choosing to set themselves up for “mass slaughter”.

        If they are too pacifist to at least make sure the mass slaughter goes both ways, then let Darwin take them.

  6. Redlife2017

    Just to back up what Yves noted on articles not saying what the percentage win was in Virginia – our friends at the Guardian also did the same thing. I had to go to to find out what the results looked like. I mean you can’t even tell from the article if it was super close or comfortable win.

    I find hive mind type of stuff like that rather disturbing.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      And all the headlines I was seeing this morning were variations of “Dems lose close election…” implying VA looked more like NJ.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The Clintons lost this. It wasnt a layup where they manage to win in the past except for 2016. There are dangers out there for sure, but:
        -Terry Mac is a warmed over turd.
        -Youngkin is the best GOP candidate since Taliban Bob and maybe better. Their bench is a clown show
        -the education stuff was huge. There were real issues.
        -Trump lost. Sometimes people go home, but parties in VA do a good job of getting their voters on board to stick around, especially if they have been activated. Resources came into VA at one point in 2020 and likely stayed. 2005, 2009, and 2017. The opposite party won after the presidential election. Obama’s crazy black support in 2012 might have skewed the 2913 results.
        -not only is Terry crummy. He didn’t give people a reason to vote for him. His numbers out of democratic precincts look to be okay, but with a focus on organizing instead of ads, he could easily have won and still been the same spaz. Renters have their own issues, so addresses probably changed. Was that being addressed by his campaign or the party? Probably not.
        -Despite all of it, Younkin didn’t get a majority in the House of Delegates. Given who they are, he probably can’t pull off a special election win if they get someone to leave.

        Normally, an under 2% win would be close, but given the demographics and Hillary, Northam and now Biden coasting to wins bigger than Kaine and more recently Warner (I might be wrong on that). It’s a big win for Youngkin. An exciting for the GOP candidate beat a giant turd by 70k votes. At the size of Virginia, that’s winnable even in a banner year. McAuliffe like so many Clinton led rats before him seemed to just be a bumbling turd every day.

        The beltway media is upset because their pal lost. I mean Bill Kristol endorsed Terry Mac. I tended to think Youngkin was dangerous because of his style compared to other recent GOP candidates, but 1.8%. Kaine won by 7 points in 2005. Yes, Tim Kaine in the Membrane won by 7.

        I will add this. The real story is the Team Clinton losses over the years. Gottheimer is the only elected Clinton White House lackey left. Everything Hillary was really just disappeared. The Clinton Foundation. Gone. No one else is really calling back to Clinton. Biden might be full of it, but he calls on FDR. Starting with the 1992 joke, we go to 1994 where Newt messing up the rugs caused a ’96 squeaker. Then we have 2000, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2014, and 2016. The Clintons run losing campaigns.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Aren’t there still hundreds or thousands of malignant metastatic clintonoma tumor cells implanted throughout the whole Democratic Party rulership and membership? Unless we can find the political chemotherapy to exterminate them all from out of the DemParty, they will still destroy what is left of the Party.

          Until the very last malignant clintonoma cell has been destroyed, it is still Clintons all the way down.

          1. lance ringquist

            yep, nafta billy clinton took a meat ax to america, and none of his policies have been reversed, and americans know this.
            its why the nafta democrats win or lose by the skins of their teeth. but every win is even slimmer than the last one.
            they are on the verge of becoming a small regional party.

  7. cocomaan

    It also seems noteworthy that the press called the Virginia election late. I can’t recall, clock-wise, when I checked, but then, according to Associated Press, over 92% of the votes had been counted and Youngkin was ahead by two points….yet no one had called the race? By contrast, our John Siman, who teaches in Loudon, had sent an e-mail at 10:01 EDT, with scruffy Buzzfeed declaring Youngkin the winner, with the majors not following suit for more than two and a half ours. What gives?

    The big media outlets need to get their story straight before they declare a victory they don’t like. The same thing happened in 2016 when Hillary had clearly lost but the press was having a hard time processing it.

    It’s a matter of narrative creation. They like to coordinate how we’re going to spin the news.

    My guess is that you’ll find the “lessons learned” from this election to also be eerily similar.

    1. marku52

      “lessons learned”

      We offered too many things to the stupid voters. /s

      And don’t forget to sneer while you say it.

      1. lance ringquist

        they will never ever let reality, trump ideology. its the deplorable fault, they never learned how to code.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      Watching MSDNC last night was incredible. At about 10pm, probably just when it became clear to them that McAuliffe had lost, and even though they refused to admit it for a few more hours, it was like a switch was turned on and all the chatter became “We can’t look backward at what we might have done better, we have to keep looking forward, pass BBB and show voters that electing Dems improves their lives.” Regardless of what one thinks of the messaging, it was impossible to miss that a new narrative was being, or at least attempting to be, constructed right before our eyes.

      The Dems are in huge trouble. The one thing establishment Dems believe they are truly good at – reading poll results and crafting appropriate messaging strategies – is the #1 thing that turns people off about them. Excellent “messaging” = fake news. One might think that having no firm ideology would be a good thing for a politician… most Dems apparently still believe this. But it turns out that when people think you are slimy and untrustworthy, as when the whole team starts spitting out a brand new message all at once in tandem, having no ideology to fall back on is a hindrance, not a help.

      The only thing lamer than the Dems is the left: see Buffalo.

      1. Librarian Guy

        As Chapo Trap House, Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper and many, many others have pointed out, the Dems don’t care if they lose!! Their PMC staffs raise and spend plenty of donor money, paying themselves generously for losing . . . e.g., whichever clown they picked to run and fail against Mitch McConnell last time, wasted million$ promoting, and who lost by like 17%. The Dems are a total sham, I am 62 years old and ashamed that I ever in the past supported them after the Clinton’s made it a Reagan Light NeoLib sham. They are not an opposition, they are the ReThuglican fascist enablers just playing the Washington Generals to the R’s more disciplined (until Trump, who doesn’t know that word) Harlem Globetrotters. I guess Obama, Clyburn and Biden at least deserve credit for showing that Bernie (to whom, sadly, I donated several times), AOC and the other performative “Left” of the squad are simply Trojan horses who will always bow down before the DNC/Pelosi & Schumer installed corporatists like Manchin and Sinema . . . Now the Dems can say Vote for Us or you’ll have full-on fascism, LOSE again like they always do, but still collect their share of corporate cash. Wash, Rinse, Repeat, Thatcher told the little folks the truth 5 decades ago, “There Is No Alternative,” your Betters are in Charge, so ask nicely for another beating when the last one has ended. Nina Simone warned in the 60s, “This whole country is full of lies, you’re all gonna die and you’ll die like flies.” The Political elites think they will be exempt from the death and destruction as they currently are from their white-collar corruption and crimes. And for some time, I’m sure they will be, but I’m not sure that that can continue forever.

        1. Janie

          Hey, don’t insult the Washington Generals. They’ve had some darn good players over the years. Comparable to the Democrats we have now? Plu-leese!

    3. Peter VE

      I had CNN on in the other room last night, while I had the Virginia Department of Elections website open. On the website, at about a third of the vote counted, the balance was 57% to 43% for Youngkin, while CNN was reporting a 55% to 45% lead for Youngkin. MSNBC reported a similar margin. Were they reporting the news they thought would keep their viewers watching?
      On election night 2016, I was driving home from a nearby state. I listened to NPR for most of the ride, not calling Virginia for Clinton because the margin was too close. I remember the fear creeping into their voices as the possibility of a Trump victory came to them.

  8. VietnamVet

    The plebes are recognizing that the top 10% could care less about their schools, their health, their jobs, or the future. The ongoing pandemic, shortages of goods and workers, and the pointless vaccine mandates are driving “Let’s go Brandon!”.

    Today’s USA is not unlike Yuri Andropov’s Soviet Union. The 10% cannot lord it over the 90% forever. The next generation’s US President will be an American Mikail Gorbachev presiding over the secession of the Union unless a progressive people’s party rises out of the ruins of the Democratic Party.

          1. ambrit

            Even the boys and girls in the White House mailroom can make bank if they just learn to “deduce” the contents of letters and folders passing through their hands. With that data available, the methods of personal enrichment are many and varied.

    1. feox

      The plebes are recognizing that the top 10% could care less about their schools, their health, their jobs, or the future. By voting for big finance republicans? How does that assessment make any sense?

      1. lance ringquist

        why are the democrats so upset about betsy Devos, bill clinton helped to create her: he signed charter schools into law, then President Bill Clinton provided nearly $100 million to the states for charter schools throughout his presidency.

        it was Bill Clinton who created the federal grant initiative, Charter Schools Program (CSP), which was expanded by the Obama administration. The CSP has handed out $3 billion in federal funds to charter school chains.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      People living in parts of the country which do not have their own fossil fuel deposits and industries should focus on creating and then entrenching their own regional separate survival economies and social-political cultures, in preparation for a national multi-way breakup which would hopefully be more velvet-divorce than not.

  9. Taurus

    Later this month we are going to see two catalysts to the great Democrat election prospect erosion:

    – thanksgiving air travel in the time of pilot shortage/ sick outs
    – not being able to have the Christmas presents for Christmas because Santa’s bag is floating off the California coast

    After this transpires, it doesn’t matter if the Democrats manage to vote The Bill in @1.75 tn (over 10 years :) or Ms Sinema is so moved by Mitt’s Ted Lasso impersonation that she joins the Mormon church and goes on a mission to Ghana.

  10. lakecabs

    When cameras scanned the crowds of Mcauliffe’s room people were sad and wearing masks.

    Stark contrast to Youngkin’s room. People happy and maskless.

    1. Darthbobber

      You must have seen footage from different times than me. What I saw of McAuliffe’s gathering was crowded and majority mask less. That was before they had clear reason to be sad.

  11. Michael

    Top three Virginia elected offices go red? Looks very possible.

    Virginia lieutenant governor results

    Winsome Sears

    Hala Ayala

    94.9% of precincts reporting (2,710/2,855)

    Virginia attorney general results

    Jason Miyares

    Mark Herring*

    95% of precincts reporting (2,712/2,855)

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I wasn’t familiar with these races. For those in the same position, it would seem that it’s republican voters who are quietly and unhysterically delivering the “diversity” that democrats demand as essential to “our democracy,” and claim repub white supremacist voters are desperate to prevent.

      Winsome Sears is a Jamaican immigrant, former marine, gun rights supporter and the first black woman elected Lt. Governor in VA.

      Jason Miyares is the son of a Cuban immigrant, and VA’s first Latino attorney general.

      It looks like dems are gonna need a different narrative.

  12. timbers

    Looks like some voters kicked the table again after noticing the game they were playing is rigged. A corner of my mind is whispering “Obama 2024” but which one?

  13. thoughtful person

    I suspect GOP takes Gov by higher margin than AG or LtGov races. This could be annoyed dems and independents, who did show up to vote, just leaving the top box blank.

    More lack of enthusiasm

  14. IM Doc

    Sometimes, if you pay attention close enough, you can see the hand of Nemesis at play. Nemesis having been let loose by the gods to overcome Hubris.

    One such event happened last night.

    Remember what the MLB did last summer. Bowed down to the woke corporations and moved the all star game to Denver. Yes, the Anitracist corporations and MLB forced this move from Atlanta harming all kinds of black businesses and moved the game to one of the whitest cities in America. And Big Media did not say a word.

    And to all the prole deplorables the corporations and the MLB are all one in the same now with the Dems. Right or wrong, the Dems are now largely perceived as the big corporate party.

    Nemesis played her hand last night. At the same time of the political shellacking, look who won the World Series. A team that was not really expected to do so.

    The Dems should realize that Nemesis has an eternal pattern of just such actions. I am afraid she is just getting started. As has also been the case with Nemesis’ action before, she has a habit of blinding her victims to what is happening to them. I spent 10 minutes listening to Rachel Maddow and Joy Reid on MSNBC last night. Long enough to know they do not have a clue what is happening. Nemesis is blinding them just like she always has. They are doubling down. They will never see what is coming from miles away.

    1. marku52

      “I spent 10 minutes listening to Rachel Maddow and Joy Reid on MSNBC last night.”

      Brave man. That would send me to the vomitorium.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      If Nemesis does not exterminate the Democratic Party from the face of the earth, then Nemesis will not be enough to help us.

  15. Glossolalia

    I’m next door in Maryland, but if I could have I would have voted for Youngkin just because McAuliffe used his last campaign breath to complain that there are too many white teachers.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      He spent the last night of his campaign wishing that “Donald Trump has access to Twitter again”. He deserved to lose and he did

  16. Roquentin

    I think the culture war is mostly to blame. You can’t keep taking more and more extreme positions which fewer and fewer people support and not have it end up like this. I think the whole Loudon county scandal exemplifies this. More than that, I don’t think most liberals are cognizant of winning almost exclusively for not being Trump. That Trump and the modern GOP being irredeemably stupid and crazy was the only reason a whole lot of voters ever saw them as a better option. I doubt it will happen, but if the GOP somehow banishes the Qanon nutters and anti-vaxers from its ranks and runs some kind of “common sense” platform headed up by someone with a little polish the Dems can basically count on loosing everywhere.

    1. PKMKII

      Except the Dems don’t run on culture war issues for the most part. Sure, they’ll throw out the occasional “Black Lives Matter” and wear white, but it’s just that, slogans and signals. There’s no big policy platform there.

      I think the issue is that the Republicans have a well-oiled, funded, coordinated propaganda machine that is expertly tuned to tap into the id of the conservative base and get them frothy about cultural issues. The Dems, well they have propaganda outfits but they’re trash in comparison. Too unfocused, too concerned with looking clever, too defensive and letting the Republicans set the narrative. There’s no id activation, mostly because the Dems don’t want a base, they want a coalition of the reasonable for reasonable’s sake.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the DLC Hamilton Project Wall Street Schumer-Pelosi Dems had something useful to offer, they could propagandize about it. But they don’t. So they can’t.

    2. feox

      That argument doesn’t make sense for multiple reasons: 1. Democrats don’t run on culture war issues. They barely even pay lip service to it. 2. Republicans run on culture war issues far more prominently.

      More importantly, do the electorate deserve the socioeconomically ultra-violent policies of the Republicans if they vote for them because they don’t like soft vaccine mandates and multigender bathrooms? I’m not sure, but I would have a tendency to say yes.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Gun control is a culture war issue. PMC Dems want gun control because they are afraid of so many guns in the hands of people with the wrong color neck.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          And look! Scary Gun Lady was elected Lt. Governor of Virginia even though she is Black. It looks like the gun-owning White voters of Virginia are either not the racists which the PMC Democrats accuse them of being, or else the gun-owning voters of Virginia consider their gun culture to be more important to them than their race-culture.

          Perhaps they overheard various Liberal intellectuals calling them “gun-humpers” and “ammosexuals” and got scared and offended.

      2. lance ringquist

        truman was right, why vote for a fake republican when you can have the real deal: the charter school boom was prominent under Bill Clinton. Clinton publicly praised charter schools and vowed to see 2000 more charter schools opened before he stepped down as president. Because of his efforts, he received a lifetime achievement award from the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools: Will the hypocrisy ever cease?

        “In a now-infamous 60 Minutes interview in May 1996, Leslie Stahl questioned Albright about the policy. “We have heard that a half million children have died,” the veteran journalist said. “I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” Albright responded, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.”

        “Regime change polices were set up by bill clinton: This was a unit established by President Bill Clinton, then continued by Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz. Mike Pompeo, the current director of the CIA, has confirmed that this unit exists. This has led to rumours in the press, followed up by President Trump, of a US military option.

        When Iraq Was Clinton’s War
        Chip Gibbons
        Bill Clinton’s “quiet war” on Iraq set the stage for George W. Bush’s bloody invasion.

  17. Jackiebass63

    This election shows how volatile the electorate is. They change at the drop of a hat. Much of it is due to the constant propaganda voters are bombarded with. Instead of making an informed decision, they vote based on some short talking point they probably heard and didn’t bother to verify . Voters are lazy when it comes to being well informed. Until voters realize who they elect at all levels of government effects them personally we will continue to have government that doesn’t serve all of the people. I do see a glimmer of hope in our youth. It seems to be one group that has figured out they are not represented by government.

    1. Buckeye

      Well said! The voting public is lazy, weak-minded and manipulated by emotionalism. They then hide behind the “kitchen table issues!” excuse for their horrifying support for horrifying politicians and policies. It’s a pure psychological defense, deflecting their guilt away from their own selfish and anti-solidarity attitudes.

      Tommy Lee Jones had it right in “Men in Black”:

      “A PERSON can handle the truth. PEOPLE are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals; and you know it, sport!”

      The biggest threat to America’s “common man” is right in their own mirror, and right between their own ears!

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Or from Charles Mackay in Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds: people “… go mad in herds, while they only recover their sense slowly, one by one.”

        We’ll likely run out of time long before enough people shake off the manias they’re bombarded with or actively seek out…

      2. tegnost

        The voting public is lazy, weak-minded and manipulated by emotionalism

        Exactly how we wound up voting for mr hopey changey…and “dumb, panicky, dangerous animals” pretty much describes the MBA class with their selfish and anti solidarity attitudes… how do you feel about bernie sanders? Was he a threat to wall st solidarity? You claim that others need to look in the mirror, maybe go take a look at your own.

        1. Buckeye

          Bernie Sanders is an over the hill hippy, and his “one man band” style of activist politics is a failure. He’s been in politics for what, 50 years or more? Where are his precinct captains, his county party officials, his state central committee party officials?

          How many Bernie governors are there? How many Bernie-controlled state legislatures, state supreme courts, state auditors, attorney’s general? How many?


          You MUST have a party structure from local to state to federal to get anywhere. It’s the way the system works. Bernie can talk all the “socialist goodies” he wants but if there is no political work being done, than very little gets done.

          Bernie has wandered around like a hippy Hebrew Gandalf, getting people motivated and whipped up, and that’s good. Except he has no magical powers and no immortal lifespan. He cannot deliver permanent political/social change. He is not a wizard. Stop viewing him as one.

          1. tegnost

            I was referring to bernie more in the sense of the ire he and his issues raise.
            And although he’s not perfect he’s present and legislating now.
            Thanks for the colorful prose

          2. Otis B Driftwood

            Everything Sanders stands for is supported by a majority of Americans.

            Only fool would hang the corruption of our political system on Sanders.

          3. drumlin woodchuckles

            Can the people who got motivated by Sanders remember the feeling of being part of something effective which they felt when they were motivated and acting on that motivation?

            If they can remember it, can they find eachother in their several millions, and up-motivate eachother and organize eachother into groups practicing being organized, at least?

            If they can do that, can they then begin thinking through, at their various organized group levels, what sort of things they think they can do to get or create something of what they want?

            If they can do that, then they don’t need a Sanders figure anymore. Perhaps Sanders was the launch vehicle and they were the payload launched into political orbit, if they decide to see it that way. And Sanders ran out of fuel and fell back to earth, but if the Sanderistas stay organized in organized orbit, then the Sanders Rocket did its job.

      3. The Historian

        Sorry, but I disagree. I think voters are very smart. They didn’t pick these candidates – the 1% did it for them and they know neither candidate is going to do anything about their Main Street economy, neither candidate is going to do anything about affordable health care, neither candidate is going to do anything about student debt, etc., so they made the only choice they could have made – kick out the one they hate the most, and keep doing so until someone wakes up and gives them a candidate they can actually respect and get behind. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they could do that for themselves for a change?

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Huh? In many states, like NY and CA, the elections are determined in the primaries. And you saw with Sanders how much cheating goes on. In NY, candidates who are not machine candidates (AOC, Zephyr Teachout) are rare and they nearly always lose.

        1. TBellT

          They’ve been doing that for 30 years now, where has that gotten us? It doesn’t actually work and we’re still on the road to hell. Thanks for playing.

      4. Mac na Michomhairle

        Working people that I interact with are not generally weak-minded, lazy or stupid. Maybe they are in other places: I don’t know.

        Many of the older (over 40) people I talk to around here — and I suspect their counterparts in other states — know very well that that the management and the supervisors will screw them out of greed, habit and for personal satisfaction. They know that most politicians and elected officials are not there to help ordinary people. If given a choice between two mealy-mouthed managers, they will often choose the one who at least claims to support the family and community values that are actually important in face-to-face life in small communities; as opposed to the manager who treats them with outright contempt.

        It is dishonest to blame the stupid voters.

        By the way, Bernie Sanders is a very rare exception to the politician thing, and before dismissing him because of the disappointing results of his presidential campaign results, you should look at how a loner outsider from a five-hundred person town became a big city mayor, national Rep and Congressman, changing the conversation in the state , building community, helping many many many people, and then shifting the limits of the national “possible.” The national Democratic power structure outmaneuvered him and ground him up, and it looks like his legacy will not be lasting, but he does not in the least deserve flip derisive dismissals from the sidelines.

          1. lance ringquist

            its better late than never, except i amended it, unless it involves politics and economics, then its to late.
            bob dole should have won in 1996. he would have produced gridlock, perhaps even some small good things. nafta billy clintons second term was even worse than his first term.
            it was like going from friday the 13th, to night of the living dead.
            daddy bush was told that if he wanted to be re-elected, he should sign the highway bill, he did, nafta billy clinton gave us free trade with a communist dictaorship and the repeal of the new deal as his crowning achievments.

        1. jonboinAR

          I have to disagree with you, somewhat. I work with working class people, always have. They’re whom I mainly interact with. I don’t know about stupid or weak-minded, but I would call them mentally lazy when it comes to political or economic issues, and horribly informed. I would consider myself one of the least well-informed participants here. It’s why I don’t post more. I’m amazed and somewhat intimidated by the erudition and wide knowledge I find here and a few other sites. (Just trying to locate myself in the pantheon of informed/not informed citizens as well as I can.)

          But when I talk to my working compatriots, I tend to find that I’m the one that knows a little, at least, while they usually really don’t know much at all beyond their immediate interests. Much of what they state as facts to support premises are plain wrong or completely out of the context that would mitigate them. On the other hand, they can tell you all about the RPO offense or the 3-2-6 defense (football), so it’s not like they’re stupid, as that stuff can get complicated. They just don’t seem interested in becoming informed on larger social, political, or economic issues.

          I think it was last year that I kept running into people for whom the main political concern was “socialism”. We had to do something to keep the country from turning more socialist. They’d point to Venezuela and some poor state it was in at the time as what can happen when you allow socialists to be in charge, and we have to stop the country heading in that direction. OMG! OMG! I still hear that. In fact, I heard that opinion recently from a retired banker. So, I don’t know. I’m glad to hear that the people you talk to aren’t as politically ignorant as the ones I talk to. I guess it gives me a glimmer of hope.

        2. Janie

          Thank you for your well-stated defense of Bernie. Criticizing him for losing to a well-funded crooked machine is despicable. (Cue Daffy Duck.)

    2. flora

      Volatile, maybe. On the other hand, how many Va workers/voters are being forced by mandate to either take a jab they still aren’t sure about or else find themselves unemployed by this weekend, Nov. 8th? How many have already been forced out of their jobs by Biden’s mandate? How many military men and women ( Va is a big military base state) are about to be discharged because of the mandate?

      I think that might have some effect on the vote. Lets go, Brandon!

      1. Buckeye

        You have and obligation to protect other citizens in a democracy. Get your damn vaxx and F-you, Brandon!

        1. Basil Pesto

          that this morally correct but technically incorrect observation comes in a thread bitching about voters being happily misinformed is too much.

          Well said! The voting public is lazy, weak-minded and manipulated by emotionalism.

          physician, heal thyself

        2. ambrit

          You are ignoring the many problems with the specific vaccines we are being mandated to allow in our bloodstreams.
          To have moral ‘force,’ a public health mandate must have clear health benefits.

        3. DanB

          As best I can determine, Covid vaccines give an individual some -perhaps a lot- of protection, but do not, repeat do not, protect others. If these vaccines were sterilizing we’d have an entirely different situation. What about the obligation of government to be “transparent”?

        4. Soredemos

          I would actually agree, in theory. I can conceive of a scenario where you could argue for a vaccine mandate. But it’s not the current scenario. The covid vaccines don’t confer sterilizing immunity; vaxxed and unvaxxed both transmit the virus equally. Vilifying the unvaccinated is simply an attempt at misdirecting anger for a widespread public health failure.

        5. drumlin woodchuckles

          How does getting yourself mRNA neo-vaccinoided protect any other citizen in this democracy?
          Can you explain the biology and epidemiology behind your statement?

      2. feox

        A vaccine mandate is a basic form of solidarity. There is no possibility of any positive socioeconomic policies with an electorate that doesn’t support a form of solidarity that is so basic. Opposition to a vaccine mandate is one of the worse forms of individualism and is a good test to see if the electorate should be recompensed with other good policies (a.k.a policies based on solidarity).

          1. jimmy cc


            i will get my vaccine when the Democrats create a national health care system.

            you know solidarity has to work both ways.

          2. Michael Fiorillo

            “Coercion is solidarity?”

            Sometimes it is, even if force-fed. Keeping people from scabbing is a frequently-necessary form of coercion during strikes. Coercion – threatening workers who refused to shut down their machinery – was used during the Flint sit-downs in 1937, in order to gain control of the facility.

            GM was in many respects “coerced” into recognizing the UAW in 1937: would you rather that hadn’t happened?

        1. Silent Bob

          Good test to see if the electorate should be recompensed?!? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

        2. Soredemos

          Or people don’t want to run the risks of side-effects for vaccines that don’t help with group immunity.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          If the mRNA neo-vaccinoids don’t prevent the spread of covid, then where is the solidarity in getting neo-vaccinoided?

        4. Yves Smith Post author

          Where is the solidarity in mandating vaccines that were:

          1. Inadequately tested (no vaccine ever has gotten full FDA approval in less than 4 years; there were no additional clinical trials after the first round and reporting on efficacy and side effects when the vaccine were deployed on a widespread basis sucked).

          2. For the most part (the mRNA vaccines) use a novel technology NEVER before deployed on humans save in a small scale study for a Zika vaccine (which didn’t lead to a Zika vaccine)

          3. Do so little to prevent transmission that there is no correlation between vax and contagion levels?

          4. Produce unprecedented levels of side effects for a vaccine, including deaths? The swine flu vaccine was pulled on vastly fewer deaths.

          5. And most important, the government gave Big Pharma and all the parties in the delivery chain immunity from liability, and the only recourse for injured parties is a Federal vaccine fund which is hostile to paying claims and does not pay much when it does?

        5. tegnost

          Clever usage of “electorate” over “society” as the electorate is separate from the political class and the attendant effetes…Maybe if our bettors, who are being so wholly failed, were to exercise some solidarity with the rest of the nation, or society, there may be less reluctance to believe in their BS? Instead it’s scolding and clever wordplay from a morally decrepit self serving, self involved and grifter takes all attitude.

    3. Big River Bandido

      This election shows how volatile the electorate is. They change at the drop of a hat.

      I think this is correct, but not in the sense you intended. As Yves said above, this was the Democrats’ race to lose. When you are the “majority party”, it’s on you to govern in a way that will *turn out your voters*. That is your first responsibility. Democrats deliberately neglect this, every single cycle — because it’s not what they want, first of all, and second, it’s hard to motivate people to come out and vote for the kind of “governance” that is so obviously dysfunctional.

      As Stefan said above, how could Democratic voters possibly be enthusiastic about what Democrats in power are doing?

    4. Pat

      How do you make an informed decision anymore?
      The actual record of those who run OR what they say?
      If it is the record they have to get elected before you get that. If it is what they say, when do you determine what they say does or does not match what they do?

      And most important of all, when you have a media that chooses sides and cheerleads rather than challenge ALL candidates so as to provide a real data driven record of previous time in office and clear list of candidates’ stands on issues how does the average voter find the time to dig down into the history and data to make that informed decision.

      And not for nothing my knowledge of MacAuliffe’s record would make me very reluctant to vote for him.

  18. The Rev Kev

    I find it remarkable in the use that both parties made with their former Presidents.The Republicans let it be know that Trump was on their side but kept him away from Virginia as the voters were really concentrating on local issues and Trump would have been an unnecessary distraction. The Democrats decided to make it a national event and brought in the big guns. They decided that the results of this election would be a reflection of the Democrats in power so it became a must-win for them. So Obama came in and basically said ‘Voters should pull up their pants’ which did not help. Bringing in Harris, Abrams and both Biden did not seem to help either. And Terry McAuliffe seemed to have imploded his campaign when he said “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” That put him squarely on the side of the Loudon school board who thought of complaining parents as terrorists and sicked sheriffs on the father of the girl who was raped for complaining at a public meeting. I heard that a lot of white women voted Republican this time but maybe a better definition would be white mothers and white grandmothers who were worried for the sake of their children based on what was happening in Loudon County decided to vote Republican.

    1. Jackiebass63

      The one person the democrats should have brought in wasn’t apparently invited. I’m talking about Bernie Sanders. He knows how to run an effective ground level campaign. Unfortunately Democrat leadership is still run by their Wall Street handlers. As long as the Democratic Party continues to bow down to Wall Street, they will continue to lose elections they should have won. They need to return to their roots and abandon Clintonism.

      1. redleg

        Except their roots are Clintonism. It’s all they know, and all they have. All of the post-mortems I’ve seen are clutching pearls over how Dems moved too far left to win.
        I suppose that if the roots of the Dem party are Andrew Jackson and Franklin Pierce, and the whole FDR thing is an outlier (it is), then they’ve essentially arrived back at their roots.

        1. Buckeye

          That’s exactly right. Both the Democrats and Republicans are right-wing business parties. Always have been.

          The Repubs were only “liberal” when first founded by the Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men coalition of one-issue regional parties in the 1850’s. Those people were one faction of the GOP and abandoned the party when they got their “single issue” pet projects after the Civil War. It shows the stupidity of having one issue and “materialist benefits” be the motivating factor in politics. The right wing GOP has had control since 1870, including Teddy Roosevelt, who was just Old Money conservative blunting both the New Money robber barons and the Populist working class.

          Democrats have had only two “liberal” periods, one was in the 1930’s and again in the 60’s. The Democrats were a rural right wing party stuck to Jeffersonian/Jacksonian fantasies of personal freedom and private wealth and hatred of Government. Stephen Douglas formed an alliance between Northern business interests and Southern slavers in the 1840’s-50’s and solidified Reactionary attitudes in the Democratic ideology that keeps cropping up like weeds.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Teddy Roosevelt did a lot of blunting. National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, etc.
            Some Square Deal regulation of the worst type of contamination and poisoning of the food supply, drug supply, etc.

            The Big Biz Republicans of the time were not happy when McKinley died. What did Mark Hannah say? ” My God! Now that damn cowboy is in the White House!”

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        Terry McAuliffe is Clintonism. What kind of lipstick was Sanders going to put on that pig?

        1. Michael Ismoe

          Bernie Sanders gave a tongue bath to Phil Murphy – called him a “friend of the working man” – all the while the Governor was the former head of Goldmann Sachs and vacations in his Italian villa.

          Bernie is unbelievable at this point

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            This is ad hominem. FDR was an aristocrat and was the best friend the American working man ever had.

            You need to indict Murphy on his record.

            1. lance ringquist

              FDR was a traitor to his class. he knew all of the tricks, and how to counter them.

              the clintonites are worshipers of the wealthy.

              who is more dangerous, the GOP that knows their ideology is complete economic nonsense, or a clintonite democrat who actually believes the economic nonsense?

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          McAuliffe was also one of the leading players in the Night of Long Knives. I doubt Sanders has forgotten that. I suspect there is a lot of mutual antipathy.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      Obama’s involvement is interesting to me also. Yes, there was the badgering, tone deaf speech. He really seems to be high on his own supply these days. (Or maybe the curtain has moved just enough to reveal more who he is?) But, as has been noted here before, he doesn’t tend to back losers. Rather, he won’t jump in unless it’s a sure thing. That speech didn’t help, but I wonder if the Obama coattails are at an end?

      The story of this election should be that the Dems lost an election they should have won and they threw all the “star power” they have at it. No one has any coattails. They have no bench, so to speak. Oh, and going out of your way to pain the other guy as a Trumper isn’t a winner.

  19. CG

    Spit balling here with a large basis in Thomas Ferguson’s work, the basic problem for Democrats is that past Reagan (and likely more accurately Carter) there has been no significant faction of business that is willing to support a more social democratic program, unlike during the New Deal. This has lead to economic issues by and large being taken off the table for Democrats, because except at the margins their donors and Republican donors broadly agree on questions of economics. Two examples that come to mind of this would be, of course, Obama passing Republican health care reform and most strikingly to me the agreement that existed between Rush Limbaugh and Obama on how to handle the financial crisis.

    The Democratic response to this has been two fold. First, as those elements of the Democratic Party that provided an actual framework of politics such as unions fell by the wayside, to replace any political content the Party had with more or less a series of cults of personality. For comparisons sake, while members of the Bush clan are unlikely to be invited to speak at future Republican National Conventions, Bill Clinton will likely be a welcome guest until the day he dies at future Democratic National Conventions. With the only issue being with Bill not that he tore up key elements of traditional Democratic commitments, but that by all indications he was a serial rapist, a problem that Obama lacks. To emphasize, despite both men ripping apart what had been key elements of the Democratic brand, they faced no real push back from the Party base, nor have members of Congress, as rank and file Democrats are in a position where they simply love their leaders in a way that Republicans haven’t really until Trump came along.

    The second response has been to embrace various issues of kulturkampf as a replacement for economic policies that, while broadly popular, can’t find any purchase among donors. It should go without saying that it’s far easier to fundraise from the wealthy and well to do on the basis of issues like gun control (i.e. Michael Bloomberg) than it would be issues like empowering labor. This then helps fuel, not accidentally, the Democrats being able to compete successfully for middle and upper class college educated voters who traditionally would have tended to vote Republican and who are now increasingly stridently liberal on issues of culture war. By contrast, Democrats lose more and more non-college educated voters (i.e. working class voters) because a) they never actually deliver for them (it has been 16 years since Democrats promised to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices) and b) increasingly adopt positions that are bizarre or obnoxious to their thinking on issues that are bizarre and obnoxious to them as well as utterly pointless.

    While this process has yielded acceptable results in the short term, there is a basic long term issue of the Schumer “for every blue collar worker we lose in western PA, we pick up two college educated Republican women from the Philadelphia suburbs” strategy. That being that there are, Ruy Texiera has pointed out, there are a lot more of the former than the latter. Thus, if you have a polarization on the basis of education status and attending culture, Democrats find themselves at a distinct disadvantage. One made worse if recent trends continue and that polarization extends across racial lines, where Hispanic and possibly Black working class voters become even marginally more likely to vote Republican than they are now. And of course exacerbated by the distribution of political power that the US system provides for through the Senate and Electoral College weighing things towards more rural voters, who tend to have a larger portion of non-college educated voters. And, given the way Trump governed as more or less a regular Republican and the way that someone like Glenn Youngkins presented himself, there’s no guarantee that Republican economic policy will be sufficiently hostile to those factions of business that have supported the Democratic Party as of late that fundraising would truly make the difference.

    So, long story short, as American politics polarizes on issues of culture war which relate to educational status, and outside of the margins economic issues are taken off the table, Democrats find themselves at a major disadvantage electorally. They find themselves at this disadvantage due to their cultural issues being those of the minority of college educated voters while Republicans can appeal, increasingly, to the broader population of non-college educated voters, without regards to race. Which means that Democrats can spend most of their time fundraising sans governing and, whenever they get power due to Republican missteps while in government, they’ll be able to maintain those policies that the ruling class agrees broadly upon while creating the appearance of political disputes on the basis of fights over cultural issues.

    Finally, I guess I could have just said “American politics in the 2020s will look like American politics between the end of Reconstruction and, at earliest, Woodrow Wilson”, but I just wanted to write my thoughts on this down fully.

    1. marku52

      Thanks you for this, well argued.

      “bizarre and obnoxious to them as well as utterly pointless.”

      Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the vaccine mandate.

  20. orlbucfan

    A has-been Third Way Reagan Democrat vs. a Private Equity Conservative GOPuker for Virginia governor? No wonder the young folks skipped it. I don’t blame them.

  21. Darthbobber

    New Jersey: To me, part of the problem is Murphy’s personality. Like fellow Goldman Sachs alum Corzine he is frequently dismissive and condescending about real questions, conveying the strong impression that it’s beneath his dignity to address them. This was the case with all the issues relating to the breakdown of the state’s unemployment system, and with endless questions about the state’s non-disbursement of various funds from both the 2020 and 2021 COVID packages.

    As to both NJ and VA, there’s an obvious limit to the effectiveness of trying to base your whole campaign on running against a guy who demonstrably is not a candidate in the race.

  22. TheMog

    Well, we live next door to VA in Eastern WV, and only seem to get the VA flavoured “news” on the propaganda box.

    The whole Youngkin/McAuliffe campaign came across as pretty nasty and shrill even by current political standards, but during the last few weeks it looked to me that the McAuliffe side must’ve lost what little plot they had left and basically seemed to push out only two messages – “Badbadbad Youngkin campaign is taking stuff out of context” and “Orange man bad, Youngkin is Orange Man in disguise”. The Youngkin campaign obviously kept running the “we’ll give parents more say in school, compared to the other guy” – presumably with glee and giving thanks to that particular own goal – but they also kept running ads stating “this is what I’m trying to do if you elect me”, something that at least in the couple of weeks l did not notice the McAuliffe campaign doing. The latter seemed to exclusively focus on how nigh the end was if “the other guy” was elected.

    TBH we were pretty sick of the campaign ads months ago, and just based on the ads alone the Dimocrats didn’t seem to have much of a plan over and above the old worn “they’re bad, elect us” sloganeering. I think from a pure advertising perspective the Youngkin campaign found their stride shortly before the polls flipped and then just ran with it.

    I guess people weren’t too impressed with the alleged adults in charge after all.

    1. Pat

      In NY. The NJ media campaign was similar, especially the anti-Ciattarelli ads run by Murphy and supporters.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Northam’s Transportation secretary use to be a delegate for basically just Lynchburg, Virginia, an independent city. The district was just the city, nothing but a sliver of the three or four adjacent counties. She won in a special election after the 2005 statewide race when the Republican joined Kaine’s cabinet. She’s a rich doctors wife and didn’t work. She ran unopposed in 2007. In 2009, she ran two ads. The first was her family, blonde blue eyes. Lynchburg city schools are basically half African American year to year. No issues. The other was a reservist doctor bringing up her support of Veterans issues which sounds great, right? She was good. She’s actually a widow. Her first husband died in an Air Force training accident. She cares.

      Here is the problem. Despite Virginia’s ex-military population, that part of Central Va has/had virtually no veterans. There are no longer veteran employers, no bases, and the kids who enlisted weren’t in line for the farms. She had done some other good things,,but she didn’t run on them concerning buses and trains (she really was just around for the train). She simply ran on the perceived safe issue and the expectation the conservative doctors would vote for her over the doctor the GOP recruited. So, her numbers out of the black ward in Lynchburg were anemic, and she lost. In 2005, there might have been more organizers/volunteers crawling around the same ward than people where she won half her votes. Because of her wine mom aspirational look, she had more money than God every race. She put out a safe face and not a fighting face. I knew people in the state party. They were convinced running on her veterans work would mean Republicans would be nice. Some one compared her to Toddy Puller, Chesty’s kids widow, which is true, but Toddy represents Quantico.

      Negativity has its own issues, but if you don’t talk about items, people genuinely care about you can’t win. The Democrats did do good stuff in the last two years, but if you heard Terry, the state needs to get back on track of being probusiness when he had a “positive” sounding issue. And as far as the Secretary goes, specific “non partisan” people plugged into the state really thought she would be the current governor before her 2009 loss out of the Lt spot from 2017 or the Lt runner up from a failed top of the ticket.

  23. Dave in Austin

    “And in the writeups I’ve seen so far (Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Associated Press, NBC, Bloomberg, save for Bloomberg, no one included the actual results, as in Youngkin 51%, McAuliffe 48.3% when”

    You forgot to add the NYT, which still hasn’t posted the numbers. Any idea who got the missing 2.7%?

    Of course, when things go bad, the incumbent is always blamed. Poor Biden; he got the same honeymoon Trump got. The public it seems is losing patience earlier than it used to.

  24. Matthew G. Saroff

    What, you mean that McAuliffe’s running on the fact that Youngkin’s employer helped steal Taylor Swift’s master recordings did not give him a win?

    Now THERE’S a surprise.

    1. Eric377

      It is also quite untrue. Swift did not control those masters and benefitted financially in the arrangements by which she did not control them. She got upset and that’s her right. She also re-recorded a great deal of them to have those recordings more under her control. So far it seems like a genius response. But her original complaint about it was goofy…..’you mean those arrangements I agreed to that put you in charge, put you in charge for real? But I’m Taylor Swift!’

      1. Matthew G. Saroff

        Your discussion of the minutiae of the music business is harshing my mockery of the incompetent consultant driven (His chief guy is the husband of the woman who bolluxed up the Iowa primary) campaign.

  25. marku52

    That Youngkin promise about the DMV was killer good.

    Let me make your life better in a totally obvious and measurable way.

    If I ran CA (as the dims do) first thing I’d do is fix the DMV. And the unemployment department while I was at it.

    1. albrt

      It’s only a good promise if you can make credible progress toward keeping it. Will any politician from either party really hire enough low level people at the DMV to have somebody answer every call?

      Oh wait, I see he didn’t promise that the people running the new Virginia DMV would be located in Virginia. Nevermind.

    2. Randy

      Am I the only person who has never, ever had an issue at the DMV? And I live in Florida, not really a local or state government wonderland. It feels like this talking point that has stuck around because it was in every hack comedian’s toolkit in the 80s and 90s.

      1. Jen

        Since I moved to NH the only real issue being that a Republican governor consolidated several DMV offices, closing the one that was 15 minutes from my office. I’m sure that had nothing at all to do with its proximity to a major college town. Of course team D has controlled all branches of government for good chunks of time since then, but they never restored the service.

        So now it’s a 45 minute to an hour drive to the nearest office. Once there, it’s quite civilized.

        But I used to live in Connecticut, and any politician who promised to fix the DMV there would have gotten my vote.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I agree. Its just like hack jokes about the Post Office which derived from Libertarian propaganda about the Post Office designed to abolish it and privatise the physical assets so that Senator Feinstein’s husband can make money selling off the buildings.

  26. Dean

    The sad fact still remains is the opposite side of the same coin (eg Republicans) are the other option to presented to us to choose from.

    The herd shifts left to team D and a few years later it shifts right to team R. Wash rinse repeat.

  27. Big River Bandido

    So, Bill Clinton’s bag man finally goes down in flames, taking the President, the Vice-President, a former President and others with him?

    Sometimes karma takes a long, long time to come home.

    1. Pat

      In this case Karma feels a little like the unsatisfactory fines that the federal government gives out to big business. It may hurt momentarily but everyone that went “down” went home to mansions, full healthcare and beyond comfort and will be back on the political grift by the end of the week at the latest.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Yes, to paraphrase what the great NYC journalist Murray Kempton once wrote about a Tammany Hall boodler, they gave away what “lesser” people would have sold for money.

      2. marym

        That’s as good* an excuse as any to say votes cast for one “side” are by definition legitimate and those for the “other” are fraud.

        * which is to say not good at all. There is no good excuse.

  28. John

    As a Va voter I pinched my nose to avoid the Clintonian stench and voted for McAuliffe several weeks ago. He seemed like the greater grifter, but I do like that the Dems essentially legalized pot and I don’t want that taken away. The Dem strategy seems to be: we will give the bottom 90% stingy or no material benefits and will constantly annoy you with fringe irrational idpol culture war garbage.

    1. Glossolalia

      That Dem strategy sounds very similar to the Republican strategy. It’s almost like they’re opposite sides of the same coin ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  29. Glossolalia

    The most liked comment on the New York Times opinion piece by Bret Stephens titled Why Democrats Are in Trouble:

    “The simple explanation for the Virginia result is that dog-whistled racism – or more overt racism – still works.”

    In other words, don’t self-reflect at all on this loss.

  30. Eric377

    Based on these results, maybe trying to pry loose a vote from Collins or someone like that would actually be more likely to work. Would Democrats be willing to ditch hundreds of sections of the reconciliation that create funding for closely aligned groups to get a few major elements in place and funded? It might come to that.

  31. Zephyrum

    “You got more questions? Well I’m telling you, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” — Joe Biden

    “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” — Terry McAuliffe

    “Fabulous, fabulous. What do you call yourselves?”

    “The Democrats!”

  32. notabanker

    Just went though my junk mail box, 12 emails from Terry yesterday asking for money. The day of the election. As if my contribution would have made the difference in his vote. I can’t believe there are idiots that actually respond to this stuff.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I figure he just panicked and asked for people like Jennifer Carroll Foy’s mailing list. I keep emails separate, so I have a good idea if a request ideas from an older list or a McClellan email list. Terry Mac rarely communicated, and then he asked JCF to be part of the campaign late and i was blasted after that with Terry tsking his grassroots supporters for not giving enough money. Phone calls, registration? Nope. Just cash.

  33. lyman alpha blob

    …the Democrats big pitch for McAuliffe was that Youngkin was a Trumpie. Rather hard to pin that on an independently wealthy businessman (ex the private equity firm Carlyle)…

    Well then with the Carlyle affiliation they could have pegged him to the war profiteering Bush clan. Except the feckless Democrat party has spent the last several years rehabbing W into some kindly avuncular figure rather than the war criminal he is.

    These dumb [family blog]ers in the DNC deserve every ounce of opprobrium heaped on them.

    1. John Steinbavh

      McAullife was a big investor in Carlyle & a multimillionaire, making it impossible for him to credibly to challenge Youngkin on his Carlyle record.

  34. Glen

    Hey, continually promising and never delivering is just so 00’s.

    And Obama showing up and telling voters to eat $hit and like it sealed the deal.

    Doing that in a nation where over 20% of the work force is saying FU and leaving their jobs is more than tone deaf, it’s insane.


    DC Democrats are insane. But that really means the mega corporations and billionaires that own them are insane.

    But I’m sure we will see anybody trying to make changes in our country being blamed and called the “radical what evers” – left, right, take your pick. Because the MSM is also owned by the mega corporations and the billionaires.

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