Blindsiding Biden: How Virginia’s GOP Stormed To Victory

The environment looks ripe for Trump’s return in 2024.

A Blow For Dems In Virginia

Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s governor race Tuesday, spelling a dire warning for Democrats ahead of midterms next year.

Exit polls from 2017 and 2021 have revealed the key groups that helped Youngkin turn Virginia red, with inroads among younger voters, moderates, independents, and White women proving the magic ingredient to swing the state.

Larry Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, told KCM that the environment is ripe for both a decisive retaking of both houses of Congress in the 2022 midterms and the return of President Trump in 2024 if the Democratic Party doesn’t make some major adjustments.

President Biden won Virginia by a resounding 10 points last year, but as CNN’s Stephen Collinson noted this week, while Democrats have tussled over their enormous spending bills, the GOP has focused more on issues that impact voters on a day-to-day basis.

Based on the result, it seems expensive gas prices, a lagging economy, steep grocery costs, crime rates and parents’ worries over their right to influence what schools teach their kids are closer to voters’ hearts than as yet intangible bills. Abortion rights advocates also fear that Youngkin’s win may result in new Texas-like restrictions.

Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin takes the stage at an election-night rally at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles on November 02, 2021 in Chantilly, Virginia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Youngkin certainly appeared to tap into the impatient mood when he addressed his cheering fans post-victory, promising to “work in real people time, not government time.”

His win also carried the other two Republican candidates for statewide office to victory, flipping the lieutenant governorship and the attorney general’s office as well. Virginia’s GOP now controls sufficient levers of power to halt, or potentially undo, some of the state’s recent shift towards liberal policy.

Murphy Scrapes Through In New Jersey

New Jersey’s Gov. Phil Murphy looks set to become the first Democratic governor in more than four decades to win re-election in the Garden State. His narrow victory is a dark sign for his party and President Biden, who won the state by a decisive 16 points in 2020.

White House officials are reportedly already looking for ways to deflect blame for the week’s unsettling election results, claiming they are less to do with Biden’s sinking approval ratings than congressional Democrats’ inability to come together over massive huge social safety net and infrastructure packages.

Murphy and his Republican Jack Ciattarelli remained locked in a dead heat early on November 3, following a battle defined by the incumbent’s progressive politics, and his management of Covid-19, versus Ciattarelli’s promises to lower taxes and loosen restrictions.

Murphy urged patience from his supporters, telling them: “While we’re gonna have to wait a little while longer than we had hoped, we’re going to wait for every vote to be counted, and that’s how our democracy works.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy claimed a narrow victory in the Garden State. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Murphy came into Tuesday in a stronger position than Ciattarelli, with a lead in the polls, more campaign cash to hand, and a 1 million-voter registration advantage.

Adams Storms To Victory In NYC

Democrat Eric Adams nimbly defeated Republican Curtis Sliwa, becoming the city’s second Black mayor.

Adams —whose win seemed all but certain after he conquered the summer’s crowded Democratic primary — is the Brooklyn borough president and a former New York City police captain. He now faces the daunting task of steering the city through its recovery from the pandemic.

Adams has already made an unusual request regarding his new pay packet, asking that he be paid in bitcoin — at least for his first three checks. He’s hoping to instill some faith in the volatile currency, as well as posit the city as the”center of the cryptocurrency industry.”

Eric Adams attends the Mayor-Elect Eric Adams Celebration Party at Zero Bond. (Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Haute Living)

Police Reform On Pause In Minneapolis

Minneapolis residents on Tuesday rejected a proposal to replace the city’s police department with a Department Of Safety, dealing a huge blow to the nationwide push for reform following the murder of George Floyd last spring.

The proposed department would’ve employed “a comprehensive public health approach to the delivery of functions,” which supporters claimed would lessen the role of armed police officers in calls involving homeless people, mental health issues and substance use.

Detractors took issue with the ballot’s language stipulating that the new department “could include” licensed police officers if necessary, which they felt was inappropriate at a time when the city has recorded the most homicides since the mid-1990s.

On Tuesday morning, JaNaé Bates, a minister and spokesperson for Yes 4 Minneapolis, the coalition that petitioned to add the item to the ballot, stressed that the movement would continue irrespective of a defeat at the polls, saying per NBC: “If the people of Minneapolis vote no, that does mean that the disinformation campaign has won out for this battle. And it means that this fight continues.”

A Historic Win For Wu In Boston

City Councilor Michelle Wu has claimed a groundbreaking victory in Boston’s mayoral election, following the concession of her more moderate opponent, City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George.

Wu is the first woman and first person of color to be elected as Boston’s mayor. “From every corner of our city, Boston has spoken. We are ready to meet this moment. We are ready to become a Boston for everyone,” Wu told cheering supporters on Tuesday night. “I want to be clear, it wasn’t my vision on the ballot, it was ours, together.”

Supporters cheer as Michelle Wu enters her election night event to accept her win as the first woman and person of color to be elected to the office of Mayor of Boston. (Photo by Allison Dinner/Getty Images)

All Eyes On Midterms

Youngkin’s victory in Virginia offers an attractive template for GOP candidates elsewhere come next year’s midterms. The businessman succeeded in attracting conservative rural voters while also keeping on-side the suburban voters who were turned off by Trump in 2020.

CNN political commentator and former Obama administration official Van Jones didn’t mince his words following the result, declaring a “five-alarm fire” for Democrats.

“These numbers are bad,” he said. “…These are our voters. These are voters that came to us in 2018, came to us in 2020, and have abandoned us in droves in two states that should be in our column.”

Hungry for more? Politico’s rounded up five takeaways from last night’s Democrat nightmare, while The Atlantic’s got a deeper dive on what Youngkin’s win means for the Republicans post-Trump.