The problems include Biden, Trump and more

WASHINGTON – Politicians across the country are going to school this week, looking for orientation towards the national elections of 2022 by studying the results of a single political race: the contest for governor of Virginia.

Voting methods during the election between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin will provide clues on how to approach the 2022 campaigns that will decide control of Congress and governor’s offices in large states like Florida, Texas, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

“There are things to be learned from this race regardless of the outcome,” said Nadia Brown, government professor and chair of the Women and Gender Studies program at Georgetown University.

The last news:Live: Election day updates on Virginia and New Jersey governors’ races, New York mayor, more

The Virginia gubernatorial race is one of many races on the ballot Tuesday, including a gubernatorial contest in New Jersey. The Virginia contest has gained more attention in part because of its proximity to the Washington, DC media, and in part because of its history.

The 1993 victory by Republican George Allen reflects the reaction of voters against President Bill Clinton and the Democrats. A year later, the GOP took control of the United States House and Senate.

Four years ago, Democrat Ralph Northam won the governor’s race as voters expressed their displeasure with new President Trump. Democrats won control of the United States House in the 2018 midterm election and Senate control after the 2020 election.

Here are five things people are watching:

The Donald Trump card

Members of both parties are eager to see how many votes Republicans could lose by teaming up with Trump, who lost Virginia in his two presidential elections. Last year, Biden beat Trump in Virginia by ten percentage points.

Gallery:Virginia governor’s race remains tight ahead of election day

Look:Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin have two different views on Virginia’s future

McAuliffe has based much of his gubernatorial campaign on Trump’s unpopularity. He introduced Youngkin as an “aspiring Trump” and said the former businessman would push for Trump-style economic policies that favor wealthy and social policies that discriminate against people of color.

No one knows yet if this will work. As Virginia has become a more democratic state over the past decade – McAuliffe himself won the governor’s race in 2013 – the current contest is too close to call, according to a series of recent polls. Average of recent polls from TheRealClear Politics website gives Youngkin a very slight lead, well within the margin of error.

Political analysts and Republicans have their own questions about how the Trump Factor will play out in Virginia, the most important of which is: Will die-hard Trump voters come forward to vote for a moderate figure like Youngkin?

The Republican candidate uses some of Trump’s issues – tax cuts, deregulation, parental rights in education – but has kept Trump himself at bay. Youngkin did not organize campaign events with Trump, like McAuliffe with President Biden.

“Can you still get Trump voters out when Trump is not on the ballot,” said Jessica Taylor, Senate and Governors Editor for The Cook Political Report.

For its part, Trump says he and his constituents will decide Youngkin’s fate. He also denies any friction with Youngkin, saying in a written statement Monday that “we get along very well together and strongly believe in many of the same policies.”

What about Biden?

In years past, the unpopularity of the current president – whether Bill Clinton or Donald Trump – has hurt his party’s candidate for governor in Virginia.

This week, Democrats will be looking to see if, or how many, Biden’s negative ratings hurt McAuliffe. In an NBC News poll released on Sunday, just 42% of adults said they approved of Biden’s performance at work, down 7 percentage points from August.

Following:Joe Biden vs. Donald Trump: the race of the other governor of Virginia

At a virtual rally with supporters last month, McAuliffe told donors that “we are facing a lot of headwinds from Washington, as you know. The President is sadly unpopular here today in Virginie, so we have to make do. “

McAuliffe then played down his comments about the president, telling CNN that “it doesn’t drag me down.”

Still, McAuliffe urged his fellow Democrats in Washington to pass major infrastructures and economic legislationprove to voters in Virginia that Democrats can get things done.

As they seek to gain control of Congress, Republicans are expected to use Biden next year to disparage Congressional Democrats – a strategy they will strengthen if Youngkin defeats McAuliffe on Tuesday.

“If McAuliffe loses, people will try to attribute it to Biden,” pollster Frank Luntz said. “And they will have a justification.”

Jatia Wrighten, assistant professor of political science at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, said midterm elections like next year are often “a check on the president’s power. It is common for a presidential party to lose seats “.

Black voters

Strong support from black voters is one of the main reasons Virginia had a Democratic streak in the last election and will be a major factor in the current race.

“We’ve seen historically that the black vote – especially in Virginia – makes a difference in who wins,” Wrighten said. “Democrats know this.”

Campaign officials in 2022 and beyond will study the effectiveness of McAuliffe’s plan to exit the black vote.

The strategy included targeted television commercials, radio spots, social media posts, black college voter registration campaigns, and an event featuring prominent black leaders like former President Barack Obama. and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Following:Barack Obama clashes with Terry McAuliffe as Virginia governor’s tight race worries Democrats

Hala Ayala vs. Winsome Sears:Virginia’s next lieutenant governor will make history

Virginia’s election will also have something to say about the viability of black candidates in a whiter electorate: Democrat Hala Ayala and Republican Winsome Sears are trying to become the first woman of color to win the election for lieutenant governor.

Suburban voters

The Youngkin campaign spent much of its time attracting a special kind of suburban voters: moderate to conservative people who voted for Biden because they couldn’t stand Trump.

Many political analysts believe Biden won the 2020 presidential election in the suburbs. This is why Youngkin and McAuliffe focused on the areas around the city of Richmond and in northern Virginia near Washington, DC, and why professionals in politics will study the success or failure of their strategies. suburb.

Vote in the suburbs:Can Republicans win back suburban voters put off by Donald Trump?

“The ultimate goal for a candidate like Youngkin is to energize the Trump base without alienating Republicans and suburban independents,” GOP strategist Tim Miller said.

Cultural wars: COVID, schools, abortion

Elections are often decided by the issues of the day. In the race for Virginia, political analysts seek to assess the impact of cultural conflicts rocking the nation, including abortion, education policies, and COVID vaccines.

McAuliffe has repeatedly hit Youngkin for his opposition to government mandates to vaccinate people against COVID-19, saying the Republican’s stance puts lives at risk.

Youngkin said individuals should be allowed to make their own decisions about COVID. This includes parents making choices for their children, one of the hot spots of fervent disputes with school boards in Virginia.

Following:How this suburban school board became the hottest issue in Virginia’s race for governor

The Republican candidate has raised a number of parental protests against school boards on topics ranging from mask mandates to trans students to teaching race in schools.

“Education is what Youngkin has been betting on for the past few weeks here,” said Taylor, an issue targeting “the suburbs and suburbs where Republicans have lost ground in the Trump years.”

The Virginia run will also say something about abortion, an issue that is likely to be prominent in governor races in places like Florida, Texas, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

As the Supreme Court reviews cases on the constitutionality of state laws that effectively prohibit most abortions, McAuliffe said Youngkin is considering pursuing a similar law in Virginia.

During the campaign, Youngkin was filmed telling a supporter that he and a Republican lawmaker could ‘offend’ abortion, but he did not want to discuss the subject during the election campaign because it ‘will not win my life. independence votes I need to get.

McAuliffe said Youngkin used racist and sexist whistles to appeal to Trump voters. “I’m just tired of him messing it up,” McAuliffe told NBC’s Meet The Press, adding, “I’m a unifier. He’s a divider.”

In an interview last week on Fox News, Youngkin said, “This run is about the future of our children, the future of Virginia, and Terry McAuliffe doesn’t want to talk about it.” He later added, “And the whole nation is watching this.”


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