Jack DeVine / November 9, 2021

2021 Elections — What Just Happened?

What counts most to the voters is how they feel about what’s happening to their country. And they don’t like it.

Last week, Democrats took an epic and unexpected drubbing in Virginia’s gubernatorial race, very nearly lost the race for governor in deep blue New Jersey, and came up short in many other local races and referenda across the country.

What happened? Was it a tectonic shift, an abrupt end to the progressive movement?

Or was it just a bump in the road, a one-off reminder to Democrats to drive more carefully in the future?

Probably neither. Some argue that a few local particulars — like Terry McAuliffe’s ill-advised comments about parents and school boards in Virginia, and sharply higher crime rates in Minneapolis — explain the stunning results. Perhaps, but I believe that there is something deeper and broader in play.

It’s this. Most voters are aware of — but not obsessed by — current events and partisan issues. Yes, their voting choices are influenced by TV commentary and ads, by yard signs, by social media, etc. But they are more strongly influenced by their own everyday personal experiences — the little things that, consciously or subconsciously, affect how they feel about what’s happening to the country they love. And make no mistake, right now they don’t feel good about it.

Like it or not, we are repeatedly dunked into the sloppy soup of progressive culture imposed by our elected leaders. For a while we can shrug it off. We can even laugh about it. But there comes a point at which we’ve had enough, want no part of it, and are unwilling to support leaders who seem blissfully unaware of how poorly their loony dictates are being received on Main Street.

Call it the tipping point of little things that drive us nuts.

Random examples:

  • A good friend recently attended a trade association conference (one having nothing whatsoever to do with social issues). Having pre-paid his attendance fee, he checked in at the reception desk and was given his ID badge showing his name, affiliation, and — believe it or not — the pronouns “he/him/his.” Somehow, he’d made it through 60 years of professional life without ever worrying about someone addressing him by the wrong pronouns.

  • On Sunday, my wife and I enjoyed a delicious brunch buffet at a private dining room at a retirement facility where all members have been vaccinated. We all sat mask-free at large tables, at close quarters, eating and chatting freely — but in the corridor to and from the dining room, mask wear was strictly enforced. What’s the “science” behind that?

  • Atlanta baseball fans just watched their beloved Braves win the World Series, winning two critical games in their home field — the very same place where just this year the commissioner of Major League Baseball had refused to allow them to host the MLB All-Star Game because of Georgia’s supposedly restrictive, racist new voting law. The one Joe Biden called “Jim Crow 2.0”. But by all accounts, voting in last week’s election was more orderly, convenient, and secure than ever. On what basis is the repeated claim that the new law is excessively restrictive? Are we racists because we agree with it? And how does the MLB’s politicized, ham-handed treatment of Atlanta sit with Braves fans?

  • And speaking of the Atlanta Braves, isn’t the name “Braves” offensive to someone, somewhere? We now have special commissions coast-to-coast, busily renaming schools, streets, sports teams, university buildings, etc., erasing tradition and history for no reason other than virtue signaling. What person of any color is now more comfortable watching an NFL broadcast of a Washington Football Team game than they were a year ago watching a Redskins game?

  • We’re tired of being called racists, xenophobes, extremists, or white supremacists simply because we believe that what’s good about our country far outweighs its deficiencies. We support the flag, the anthem, police officers and our military — as I suspect many Democrats and independent voters do.

The examples are endless. These are small, tone-deaf, and unnecessary irritants, steamrolled by woke media and politicians who like to show off to their base and who assume that everyone else is just fine with it.

Bulletin: We’re not fine with it. We’re sick of it.

Readers will have to check with their expert political advisors to find out if any of these pesky cultural items actually influenced the 2021 elections. But my instinct tells me that they did — they fired up the Republicans, they whispered in the ears of independent and undecided voters suggesting that they reconsider their 2020 judgments, and they spiked Democrats’ enthusiasm for their side.

Here’s a tip from outside the bubble — little things matter!

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