7 Reactions to Youngkin's Stunning Win in Virginia

And what it could mean for Democrats, particularly next year
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2021 3:11 AM CDT
Updated Nov 3, 2021 5:22 AM CDT
7 Reactions to Youngkin's Stunning Virginia Win
Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin greets supporters at an election night party in Chantilly, Va., early Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, after he defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Reactions started pouring in almost immediately after Republican Glenn Youngkin won Virginia's gubernatorial race Tuesday in a race that turned out much worse for Democrats than most people expected:

  • "Ominous": That's the word Andrew Prokop uses at Vox, saying this is just one such sign for the Democratic party. Others include President Biden's dismal approval rating and Youngkin's ability to get Trump voters to come out and vote for him even though he distanced himself from the former president. All of this, plus a look at historical trends, doesn't bode well for the Democrats in next year's midterm elections.
  • "Not easily replicated": At the AP, however, Steve Peoples points out that the Republican party could have a hard time replicating the Virginia situation (as well as Tuesday night's similarly tight gubernatorial race in New Jersey) "on a broad scale" next year, because it will depend on whether Trump is content to remain in the background.

  • COVID's role: At the Atlantic, Zachary D. Carter zeroes in on what he says is the focus of the race: parents' anger at how schools have handled the pandemic. "If you project similar troubles in suburban districts in other swing states, you get a disastrous midterm for the Democrats," he writes. "COVID-19 has fundamentally changed American politics, and the Democratic Party hasn’t figured out how to navigate those changes."
  • Once again a purple state: Virginia is clearly still a swing state, writes Paul Schwartzman at the Washington Post. "The results demonstrated that Virginia’s identity as a Democratic safe harbor was fleeting, existing mainly while Trump was the nation’s dominant political force," he writes.
  • Four takeaways: At the Los Angeles Times, Melanie Mason looks at Youngkin's balancing act when it came to Trump, his appeal to frustrated parents, the national dynamics that contributed to the statewide contest, and lastly, whether this is a "crystal ball." "Virginia’s gubernatorial races have a decent track record in foreshadowing the next year’s battle for Congress and statehouses," she writes.
  • The two Nates: Nate Cohn of the New York Times tweeted, "Biden has nearly the worst approval ratings of any president on record at this stage of his presidency. Just something to keep in mind if you're struggling to understand what happened tonight." And Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight tweets, "Entirely plausible scenario is that GOP has a bunch of good outcomes in 2021/2022 without Trump but then nominates Trump anyway and has a bad 2024."
(Read more Virginia stories.)

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