As Virginia goes, so goes the nation!
The election of Republican Glenn Youngkin as governor of Virginia this week shocked Democrats and their media allies, but has put politicians and teacher unions nationwide on notice: parents, not bureaucrats, direct their children’s education.
Tuesday’s historic upset of Democrat powerhouse Terry McAuliffe was decisive. Virginia saw its highest voter turnout in recent history and Youngkin won by two percentage points in a state Biden carried by 10 points just last year. The latest polling shows education was a top issue for voters.
Democrats in California should take note. The parallels between California and Virginia are remarkable.
McAuliffe campaigned aggressively with teachers union leaders, including a last-minute appearance with American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten. He dismissed parent concerns about the introduction of critical race theory in Virginia schools, and fumbled badly over questions raised about sexually explicit material in school libraries. “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” McAuliffe declared during the last televised debate.
Youngkin stood in stark contrast to McAuliffe by making parental rights central to his campaign. “I believe parents should be in charge of their kids’ education,” Youngkin said. The governor-elect celebrated his high-profile victory by declaring his commitment to introducing school choice in the Virginia school system and getting parents more involved.
The mainstream media has been quick to try to excuse McAuliffe’s devastating loss by painting Virginia voters as “white supremacists.” It’s a tough sell since voters also elected Republican Winsome Sears as the state’s first female and woman of color to serve as Lieutenant Governor. In other news: the same “racist” voters also elected Republican Jason Miyares, Virginia’s first Latino Attorney General.
Surprisingly, even CNN admits this powerful parent movement is not unique to Virginia. “School board debates are being amplified in early campaigns from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt,” a reporter for the network acknowledged.
Manhattan Institute’s Christopher Rufo, an outspoken opponent of critical race theory in schools, called the Virginia elections “a political sea change” and observed that “a new special interest group” has emerged: “middle-class suburban parents.”
In California, political strategists on both sides of the aisle are opining that there are obvious similarities between the Virginia race and voter sentiment in California.
Gov. Newsom allied himself with California’s radical teachers union throughout his recent recall election. Emboldened by surviving the recall, Newsom continues to promote the most aggressive school closures, and student mask and vaccine mandates, in the nation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s also advancing divisive race-based curricula in K-12 schools statewide.
The response from California parents of every political persuasion has been outrage – and organization. The 260,000 California parents represented by California Policy Center’s Parent Union want schools that produce educated – not indoctrinated – students.
We hear from parents daily who are frustrated with local school boards over the lack of transparency about school curricula and policies, and the arrogance of school board members who block parent issues from meeting agendas and ignore parent concerns.
But it’s not just out-of-control school boards and teacher unions that have California voters fed up. Voters also want relief from the highest taxes in the nation, chronic wildfires, the nation’s largest population of homeless, rising crime and historic inflation driven by policies that have caused a massive exodus of residents and businesses to other states.
With Newsom facing a primary vote in just eight months, one thing is certain: the lessons from Virginia will not be lost on his campaign team.