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Posts Tagged ‘Glenn Youngkin’

Rural Voters, Guns, and Decentralization Sank the Democrats in Virginia | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on December 11, 2021

But there’s a forgotten man behind Youngkin’s electoral success: the rural voter. This vote was strong not only in terms of the percentages but also in terms of turnout, which was able to take Youngkin across the finish line.

José Niño

America’s growing rural divide is not going away any time soon. Recent gubernatorial elections in Virginia have rekindled talk about an inevitable Republican resurgence during the 2022 midterms. History has repeatedly shown the party outside of the White House making gains during the midterms elections, one of the most predictable trends of election cycles in American history.

However, what’s more intriguing is some of the new trends that are gradually crystallizing as fixtures of twenty-first-century politics, namely, soft secession. Although Virginia’s 2021 elections had the trappings of an off-year election, what took place below the surface was simply too enticing to ignore.

There was much talk about the suburban vote in Virginia, and justifiably so. Running under the Republican banner, Glenn Youngkin improved Republican margins with voters in major suburbs across the state by hammering away at the latest iteration of leftist curricula engulfing public schools in the Old Dominion.

But there’s a forgotten man behind Youngkin’s electoral success: the rural voter. This vote was strong not only in terms of the percentages but also in terms of turnout, which was able to take Youngkin across the finish line. For example, Donald Trump only beat Joe Biden 52–46 percent among rural voters during the 2020 elections. Youngkin dramatically expanded upon the victory margin, winning the rural vote by a decisive 63–36 percent margin, according to an exit poll by Edison Research.

Political onlookers were enthralled by Youngkin’s strong rural performance. Some pundits at the milquetoast conservative outlet The Bulwark even described Youngkin’s victory margins in rural areas as “Assad-like.” The culturally radical path the Virginia Democratic Party has taken since it achieved a trifecta in 2019 offers a glimpse of what caused such an electoral backlash. Specifically, gun policy stands out as an underrated factor behind the strong rural reaction against Virginia Democrats.

Much of this vote likely came on the heels of the budding Second Amendment sanctuary movement kicking off in 2019. This was the year the Democrat-controlled General Assembly passed red flag gun confiscation orders, universal background checks, and monthly limits on the number of handguns a law-abiding individual can purchase.

Subsequently, Virginian gun owners marched straight to their county supervisors’ meetings where they pushed for the implementation of Second Amendment resolutions. By getting active in their respective localities, gun owners quickly built a sizable bloc of angry voters who were ready to lash out against any Virginia Democrat running for statewide office.

Presently, there are well over two hundred municipalities in Virginia that have passed sanctuary resolutions of some sort. The rural counties Youngkin dominated in were among the most prominent in the sanctuary movement. Areas such as Carroll County, the first county to pass a sanctuary resolution in 2019, went to Youngkin handedly, by a vote of 83 percent to 16 percent. This was a marked improvement on Republicans’ victory margin in the 2017 gubernatorial election (77 percent to 22 percent).

The vote breakdown of Virginia elections illustrates the heightened degree of polarization of US politics, where rural areas are not only moving in the opposite direction with regard to their voting behavior but are also trying to break away from urban cores imposing their self-styled “progressive” values on them. We shouldn’t forget that rural Virginia has entertained the idea of seceding from Virginia and potentially joining West Virginia.

The 2021 gubernatorial election could be widely seen as a victory for frustrated Virginians who used the elections as an outlet to constructively lash out against the state’s ruling class. Before the elections, the Democratic trifecta thought its gun control power grab would not be met with pushback. They were operating under the arrogant assumption that Virginia was on the fast track to California or New York status. However, they vastly underestimated the level of furor boiling over in the Virginian hinterlands.

For many Virginians living in Second Amendment sanctuary counties, the right to bear arms is an integral part of their identity. In fact, it would not be a stretch to assume that a sizable portion of rural Virginians can trace their lineage back to the initial settlement of Virginia or share Scots-Irish ancestry—a group that has stubbornly resisted centralized political power since the eighteenth century. Any form of gun control, or iconoclastic attempts to erase their heritage, will activate rural Virginian voters.

Electoral jubilee notwithstanding, governing a state is a whole different kettle of fish. As I mentioned in a previous post on this website, Youngkin appears to be a typical Republican who will not rock the boat. That means lukewarm tax cuts and platitudes about limited government are in short order.

From a historical standpoint, Republican gatekeepers have repeatedly co-opted the contrarian energy of disaffected groups and reoriented it into regime-friendly projects that don’t accomplish much of substance. The biggest fear coming in the wake of Virginia’s elections is the possibility of many individuals going back home now that a Republican is in office, thereby doing nothing to fix Virginia’s current laws or discontinue the decentralist project that the sanctuary movement jump-started.

Indeed, there are valid criticisms of the present set of Second Amendment sanctuary projects, so there’s a significant amount of work to be done. The worst thing that could happen is for people to pack up and stay on the sidelines, thinking everything will be fine and dandy with Republicans back in office. As always, vigilance and dissatisfaction should be the principal mindsets that guide people’s political actions.

All told, the ship has sailed for “normal” politics in America. If anything, the Virginia case shows the need to make nullification projects the new normal. Why bother trying to preserve the very same political order that brought us to our current state of political malaise?

The American system needs a major shake-up. The ever-growing nullification rebellion might just do the trick. Author:

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José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook or Twitter. Get his premium newsletter here.

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The Virginia Elections Showed Some Parents Are Seeing How Bad the Government Schools Really Are | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on November 26, 2021

There is hope but it depends on you

José Niño

In the aftermath of the Virginia gubernatorial elections, armchair pundits are still offering their spin on the upset that Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin pulled off against former governor Terry McAuliffe. While there’s a lot of talk about the results of this election being a referendum on the Biden administration’s plummeting approval rate and mishandling of the economy, education is one local contributing factor behind Republicans’ strong performance in the Old Dominion that cannot be overlooked.

After all, off-year elections at the state levels tend to be somewhat insulated from DC happenings. By default, local issues take precedence over DC topics du jour. According to exit polls, education figured prominently among issues that brought Virginians to the polls. Exit poll data from the Washington Post showed that education was among the top three issues that concerned Virginian voters.

While the instruction of key concepts of critical race theory was a major factor (and will continue to be so) in motivating Virginians to vote against the Left, other permutations of leftist indoctrination and social experiments germinating inside of public schools provoked a strong response from disaffected voters in Virginia.

After government-sponsored lockdown measures compelled many students to take their classes online, parents now had the chance to look over their children’s shoulders and find out what they were being taught. Parents who casually dumped their children off at glorified taxpayer-funded daycare centers received a rude wake-up call once they grasped the level of indoctrination their children were being subjected to. Some parents were so impacted by what they learned that they ended up rushing to their local school board meetings and gave education functionaries a piece of their mind.

It also didn’t help that throughout the campaign trail Terry McAuliffe did everything possible to position himself as the candidate of the education establishment.

McAuliffe outdid himself by declaring that parents had no right to tell schools what to teach. To cap it all off, McAuliffe held a campaign rally with Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, right before election time. Weingarten heads the largest teacher union in the nation and was one of the most enthusiastic boosters of covid-19 lockdowns.

To say that McAuliffe’s campaign was oozing with elitism would be an understatement. Regardless of how one felt about Republicans, the moralizing of the promask, prolockdown crowd and the aloofness of the edu-cracy throughout the pandemic was an insufferable maelstrom of elitism that had to go down at the polls.

One of the key lessons from the Virginia elections is that paying attention to local issues is of the utmost importance for any meaningful change to occur in politics. People tuning in to their local affairs is superior to having one’s eyes glued to federal politics and futilely pulling the lever for politicians who do scant little to roll back the state’s encroachments on people’s daily lives.

Altogether, the Virginia race is not about Youngkin but the grassroots discontent that got him elected. In fact, Youngkin has all of the trappings of a conventional Republican who’ll regurgitate bland talking points about conservative values and enact some marginal tax cuts here and there. Nothing special when it comes to making transformational reforms that put the administrative state on a diet.

Nevertheless, there are silver linings that can be found. What’s on display in Virginia is a generalized discontent toward institutions that have been traditionally treated as normal fixtures of American politics. People who were previously intoxicated by propaganda about government schools serving as institutions that educated and civilized the masses are now sobering up to the realities of government schooling. Now it’s dawning upon many bewildered parents that government schools function as indoctrination centers and are increasingly turning into dangerous social experiments.

From a big picture perspective, there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic about the prospects of education reform. Over the past two decades, homeschooling has been on the rise. According to a Yahoo! News report released at the end of August, 11 percent of US households are now homeschooling. Overall, that means 5 million children are no longer under the thumbs of indoctrination agents cosplaying as educators.

Contrast this to 1999, when the percentage of students being homeschooled stood at around 1.7 percent. In that year, there were 850,000 school-aged children being homeschooled according to numbers from the National Center for Education Statistics

Perhaps under Youngkin’s watch government will not move much in terms of education freedom. After all, history has repeatedly shown, at least at the federal level, that the Republican Party is not a vehicle for the structural reforms Americans need in order to live free from the grasp of the managerial state. But one positive takeaway from this election cycle is the burgeoning local engagement across Virginia, and nationwide, for that matter. A redirection of energy from federal activism to state and local activism is a good first step toward building movements that will hack away at the state’s myriad tentacles of power.

Undoubtedly, winning on the education front would yield massive results for liberty, as it would deprive petty despots of the opportunity to poison millions of malleable minds with pro-state propaganda. A significant reason why statism is so embedded in the psyche of so many Americans is the state’s ability to throw countless youth on the indoctrination conveyor belt and endlessly churn out pro-state zealots.

If there’s one political fight worth seeing through, it’s the crusade against government schooling. Defeating edu-crats once and for all would be one of the most effective ways to put the administrative state on a diet.  Author:

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José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook or Twitter. Get his premium newsletter here.

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Who Decides What Kids Should Be Taught? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on October 30, 2021

“I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decisions. … I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Virginia is a newly blue state, with a Democratic governor and two Democratic senators, that Joe Biden won by 10 points.

Hence, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe was an early and solid favorite to regain the office he vacated in 2017. But if McAuliffe loses Tuesday, the defeat will be measured on the Richter scale.

For if he does lose, it will be because of an elitist belief McAuliffe blurted out during a debate with Republican rival Glenn Youngkin:

“I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decisions. … I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

Yet, during his own term as governor, one Virginia school district pulled copies of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Huckleberry Finn” out of the schools because of the books’ use of racial slurs.

What McAuliffe was saying was that the knowledge, truths and beliefs imparted to children in public schools are to be determined by school officials and teachers alone. Parents have no role and should butt out.

His dismissal of any parental role in education did more than cause a backlash against McAuliffe. It put on the national agenda an issue that will be engaged and fought long after this Virginia governor’s race is over.

Former President Barack Obama was not amused at Virginia’s reaction to McAuliffe’s rejection of any parental role in education.

“We don’t have time to be wasting on these phony, trumped-up culture wars,” said Obama during a campaign stop for McAuliffe.

But to the voters of Virginia, who have been moving to Youngkin since McAuliffe made his now-famous remark, these are real issues.

For what their children are taught and not taught in the public schools to which parents consign them from age 5 to age 18 are matters of grave concern for those parents. For it will affect the kind of adults and citizens their children will become.

“Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man” is a saying attributed to the Jesuits’ founder St. Ignatius of Loyola.

These schools are helping shape what children come to believe about the moral, social and historical issues tearing our country apart. These schools are helping shape the men and women these children will become.

Consider. Under the landmark Supreme Court rulings in Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges, abortion and same-sex marriage have been made constitutional rights. Yet both decisions contradict biblical truths, Catholic doctrine and natural law.

While both decisions are today the law of the land, have parents no right to object if public-school teachers instruct their students that these decisions were right, moral and just? Do students and parents have no right to dissent, both inside and outside the classroom?

According to the New York Times’ “1619 Project,” American history began when the first slaves arrived in Virginia, not when the colonies declared independence in 1776 or when the Constitution was ratified.

Do parents have no right to object if the tenets of critical race theory — that America is shot through with “systemic racism,” that whites are privileged from birth and blacks oppressed — are taught as truth about the country to which they have given their loyalty and love?

For generations, statues to Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson stood on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia. Now that the statues are torn down, both are reviled as “traitors.”

Yet, until he was 40 years of age, George Washington was a loyal British subject. But when Virginia rose up against the British Crown, Washington joined the rebellion. Robert E. Lee was also a loyal U.S. soldier and hero of the Mexican War, until his home state Virginia seceded.

Both men were slave-owners. The great difference: Washington was victorious at Yorktown, and Lee surrendered at Appomattox.

President Dwight Eisenhower regarded Lee, whose portrait he hung in the Oval Office, as among the greatest of all Americans.

Whose view of Lee should be taught? Eisenhower’s or Harvard’s?

The question raised by McAuliffe is: Who decides? Who, in the education of America’s children, decides what is historically, morally and socially true? And who is allowed to participate in those decisions?

The nation is today divided over whether America is a good and a great country, or whether it has been irredeemably stained by its sins against the indigenous peoples and slavery. As the Dutch historian Pieter Geyl said, “History is indeed an argument without end.”

Again, the question: Who decides which version is taught in the public schools that are paid for with the tax dollars of the parents who send their children there?

Middle America’s view of the country is more than a little distant from the Ivy League’s, and somewhat closer to Merle Haggard’s. “When you’re running down my country, you’re walking on the fighting side of me.”

Whatever happens Tuesday, “the McAuliffe issue” will be on the table in the elections of 2022.

Patrick J. Buchanan is co-founder and editor of The American Conservative. He is also the author of Where the Right Went Wrong, and Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War. His latest book is Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever See his website.

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