A coalition of progressive groups issued a scathing reaction to Terry McAuliffe’s election loss in Virginia, blasting Democrats for running an “uninspired” campaign that failed to address issues voters really care about.
A statement issued by the left-wing groups Battle Born Collective, Justice Democrats, Sunrise Movement and United We Dream Action said McAuliffe’s “shellacking” Tuesday night by Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin should be a “wake up call for Democrats” ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
Democratic nominee for Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe looks on as he addresses supporters during an election night party and rally in McLean, Virginia, Nov. 2, 2021. (REUTERS/Leah Millis)
“Terry McAuliffe ran the milquetoast campaign he wanted to run — where every other word he uttered was ‘Donald Trump’ instead of focusing on the issues voters cared about the most,” the groups wrote.
“What happened in Virginia is what happens when Democrats fail to take on the GOP’s divide-and-conquer racism and motivate people to turn out,” they continued. “The McAuliffe campaign had no comprehensive pro-worker economic message against a literal private equity magnate. It had no positive message on what the next four years would be like for Virginians. It had no rebuttal to Republican race-baiting bull—-. Put simply: it was a campaign designed to fail.”
“This was a controlled experiment for what NOT to do in 2022,” they wrote. “This is what it looks like when Democrats get caught flat-footed and let Republicans dictate the terms of the debate by manufacturing a fake ‘education crisis.’ It does not have to be this way. There is still time to adopt an inclusive economic message that crowds out racist dog whistles. There is still time to go on offense and fight for the very voters who powered Democratic victories in 2020.”
The left-wing groups also blasted the “DC establishment” for rushing to back McAuliffe’s campaign, saying it “sidelined two potentially history-making Black women running for the same office.”
Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin arrives to speak at an election night party in Chantilly, Virginia, early Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, after he defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (AP )
Education and the teaching of critical race theory (CRT) in public schools became a key issue in the Virginia gubernatorial race. Youngkin has vowed to ban CRT from being taught in schools on his first day as governor, while McAuliffe has repeatedly described the fight against CRT as a racist dog whistle. He has also claimed the theory has never been taught in Virginia, despite it being promoted on the state’s department of education website.
Progressives have attempted to paint McAuliffe’s loss as a win for White supremacy.
“It’s not the messaging, folks. This country simply loves white supremacy,” tweeted The Atlantic contributor Jemele Hill.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, right, hugs his wife, Dorothy, as he makes an appearance at an election night party in McLean, Virginia, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP )
Critics noted that Virginia Republicans are set to elect Jason Miyares as the the state’s first Latino attorney general and Winsome Sears as the state’s first woman of color lieutenant governor. Both candidates have declared victory, though the AP has not called either race.
“Ah yes, that’s why we elected the first latino to Virginia AG and the first black woman to Lt. Governor. Really makes sense, Jemele,” conservative commentator Caleb Hull tweeted.