What worries suburbanites extra: the coronavirus or what their youngsters are being taught in faculties?

Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin speaks during a rally in Glen Allen, Va., Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. Youngkin will face Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the November election. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

© (Steve Helber/AP)
Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin speaks throughout a rally in Glen Allen, Va., Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. Youngkin will face Democrat Terry McAuliffe within the November election. (AP Photograph/Steve Helber)

The reply to that query might decide who wins Virginia’s razor-close gubernatorial race subsequent week and will reverberate in subsequent 12 months’s midterm elections.


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Virginia has voted Democratic for president within the final 4 election cycles, and President Joe’s Biden’s double-digit win was due largely to inroads Democrats made within the suburbs.

However GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, a rich businessman pushing a socially conservative agenda, is inside attain of retaking the governor’s mansion for his social gathering, largely due to a “dad and mom matter” marketing campaign he has launched that accuses Democrats – and Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe specifically – of taking away dad and mom’ management of their youngsters’s training.

Youngkin launched a TV advert this week that includes a dad or mum who claims her youngster had nightmares after being required to learn the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Beloved” in a sophisticated highschool literature class. The guide, by Toni Morrison and based mostly on a real story, depicts the horrors of slavery with graphics descriptions of intercourse and homicide.

McAuliffe, who served as Virginia governor from 2014-18 (Virginia doesn’t allow consecutive phrases) vetoed a invoice that might permit dad and mom to excuse their youngsters from studying books they noticed as sexually express. McAuliffe mentioned on the time that the definition of “sexually express” was not clear and that the choice was greatest made by faculty boards.

In response to his opponent’s new advert, McAuliffe launched a press release calling the advert “racist.” McAuliffe additionally tied Youngkin to former President Donald Trump, who has endorsed Youngkin however has not campaigned for the GOP candidate in Virginia, the place a private Trump go to may encourage Democrats and anti-Trump independents McAuliffe wants to indicate up on the polls.

“Within the closing week of this race, Glenn Youngkin has doubled down on the identical divisive tradition wars which have fueled his marketing campaign from the very starting,” McAuliffe mentioned within the assertion. “Youngkin’s closing message of guide banning and silencing esteemed Black authors is a racist canine whistle designed to gin up assist from essentially the most excessive components of his social gathering – primarily his high endorser and surrogate, Donald Trump.”

Youngkin has additionally pledged to ban, on his first day, the instructing of “essential race idea” in faculties. The concept – which posits that racism is pervasive and baked into the muse of the U.S. authorized system and society as an entire – is just not a part of the Okay-12 curriculum in Virginia. Politifact rated his cost in any other case as “false.”

However Youngkin’s message has resonated with many Virginia dad and mom, who say they fear their child will probably be made to really feel responsible about being white.

“Our freedom is at stake. Our training system has gone loopy,” says Wanda Dawson, a Marshall, Virginia, resident, as she attended a current rally for Youngkin. “It makes dad and mom wish to throw up.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence – a possible 2024 presidential candidate, ought to Trump sit out the race – additionally was set to ship an deal with Tuesday afternoon on “academic freedom,” a problem that would not solely encourage voters in subsequent week’s election, however contests subsequent 12 months.

Biden received suburban voters by a 50-48% margin nationally in 2020, and Democrats imagine that the shift from 2016 (when Trump took the suburbs, 49% to 45%, towards Democrat Hillary Clinton) had been essential to each Biden’s win and the successes of congressional Democrats. Suburban voters are thought of a vital swing vote subsequent 12 months – when Democrats face a frightening problem as they search to hold onto their slender management of the Home and Senate – in addition to in 2024.

McAuliffe, in the meantime, bests Youngkin in public polls on one other matter necessary to Virginians – the pandemic. Polling exhibits that voters in Virginia imagine McAuliffe would do a greater job dealing with the pandemic and are extra aligned with the Democrat on masks and vaccine mandates – which Youngkin opposes.

However even that benefit is nuanced for McAuliffe. A ballot launched Monday by Emerson School – which has the 2 candidates tied at 48% assist every – discovered that whereas a plurality (23%) of McAuliffe voters mentioned the coronavirus was crucial problem dealing with Virginians, a plurality (34%) of Youngkin voters mentioned training was crucial matter.

McAuliffe staffers level to a Fox Information ballot exhibiting that the previous Democratic governor fares higher with dad and mom than Youngkin, with 49% supporting McAuliffe and 40% backing the Republican nominee. However Youngkin’s relentless concentrate on parental management of training seems to have moved the needle.

For McAuliffe, the problem is to get a dispirited Democratic base, together with Democratic-leaning independents, out to vote. Former President Barack Obama was in Richmond final weekend to rally the Democratic troops. Biden is ready to look with McAuliffe on Tuesday evening in Arlington, a county Biden received overwhelmingly in 2020.

A McAuliffe win will deliver an enormous sigh of aid to Democrats, who fended off a recall effort of the Democratic governor of California, Gavin Newsom, final month, and who wish to gear up for tougher races subsequent 12 months. However a Youngkin win will present the GOP with a stable blueprint for taking the suburbs again subsequent 12 months and past.

Copyright 2021 U.S. Information & World Report

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