Nate Jackson / November 2, 2021

Who’s Really on the Ballot Today?

Joe Biden is extremely unpopular, and he’s weighing down Democrats in Virginia and New Jersey.

If you hadn’t heard, there’s an important gubernatorial election today … in New Jersey. Well, okay, in Virginia, too. The race in Old Dominion has the attention of the entire country, but both states could serve as a major bellwether and could have a big impact on Joe Biden’s radical agenda.

In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy is in a race that’s a bit tighter than he’d hoped with Republican Jack Ciattarelli. Murphy aims to become the first Democrat incumbent to win in more than 40 years, and in order to do it, he’s … running against Donald Trump. We’ll see if that works. But the last two times a Democrat retook the White House (Bill Clinton and Barack Obama), a Republican won the New Jersey governorship in the next election.

That brings us back to Virginia. We’ve covered Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s comments about parents and education, which likely made that the biggest issue in the race. We’ve covered the dustups in Loudoun County, both about Critical Race Theory in its schools and the “transgender” code that predictably resulted in sexual assault perpetrated by a boy in a girls’ bathroom. Where’s the #MeToo crowd on that one?

We’ve also covered Barack Obama’s gaslighting by dismissing those very real culture wars that the Left started. And we’ve wondered whether a political earthquake is coming in today’s election.

So what else is there to say?

Well, perhaps that the outcome depends on two things. First, the energy of each candidate’s supporters. Republican Glenn Youngkin’s crowds, much like Trump’s, dwarf those of his Democrat opponent. In 2016, crowd enthusiasm turned out to be an accurate barometer of Trump’s surprise win. In 2020, not so much, and that’s because of the second thing. Joe Biden campaigned from his basement and practically discouraged crowds, using the pandemic as an excuse, but he won anyway thanks to the Democrats’ bulk-mail ballot strategy. Virginia doesn’t mail ballots to ever voter by default like some states do, but applications for mail-in ballots were very high this year, and Democrats generally prefer them.

Perhaps because of that, Republicans nationally are discouraged. According to an NBC News poll, “50 percent [of Republicans] say they are not confident their vote will be counted accurately.” Will Virginia Republicans show up at the polls? And even if they do, will it be enough to overcome the Democrats’ sizable registration advantage and whatever inevitable shenanigans take place in Northern Virginia? Remember, Biden won Virginia by 10 points.

McAuliffe, by the way, is so desperate to tie Trump around Youngkin’s neck that he’s lying about Youngkin “doing an event with Donald Trump here in Virginia.”

Even Politico rebuked McAuliffe: “That was a lie. Trump wasn’t in Virginia and he never campaigned with Youngkin.”

In any case, tying Youngkin to Trump almost by default ties McAuliffe to Biden. That’s not going to work in McAuliffe’s favor, given that 71% of Americans believe the country’s going in the wrong direction under Biden’s leadership, and 44% of Democrats want Biden replaced in 2024. Maybe that’s why McAuliffe, who mentioned Trump 13 times in a 15-minute speech, also insisted over the weekend that “this is not about Trump.”

McAuliffe’s education tack, though, may be what does him in. Democrats think they own female voters, which is why they push such indoctrination in schools, but they might have overreached. “The issue in coming elections is going to be what’s going on in the schools,” says HBO’s anti-woke leftist Bill Maher. “Parents vote and they don’t like what’s going in schools.”

Political analyst Neil Patel agrees: “Any politician who interferes with a mother’s ability to raise her children with the values she sees fit is playing with fire.”

But there’s McAuliffe, holding the matches. He concluded his campaign beside teachers union president Randi Weingarten, who kept schools closed way longer than was ever necessary. And McAuliffe claimed that the biggest problem in Virginia schools is that there are too many white teachers.

On a final note, we’ll point to one more prognosticator. Sabato’s Crystal Ball has moved the race from “Leans Democratic” to “Leans Republican.”

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