Democrats face political challenge in Virginia as the post-Trump era looms
For the last decade, Virginia has been a heavily Democratic state but ahead of the upcoming gubernatorial election, Democrats have reason to be concerned. When former President Donald Trump was still in office, there wasn't much Democrats needed to do to get the message across. In fact, the political agenda was simple and motivational factors were simple: vote so Trump is not re-elected.
However, with the former embattled president out of office, Democratic lawmakers are facing an uphill battle to motivate the base to vote. The latest poll projections also underscore the Democratic challenge.
"Public polling has been shifting in Republican newcomer Glenn Youngkin's direction in recent weeks, while Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a former governor and close ally of President Joe Biden, has struggled to energize his base as Biden's approval ratings sink. Republicans, consumed by infighting and crisis while Trump was in office, are suddenly optimistic they can win in a state Trump lost by 10 percentage points last year."
Despite Democrats' decade-long winning streak in Virginia, the latest shifts have not been missed by Republican strategists and top-ranking members of the political party.
"Virginia is a very blue state — I do not consider Virginia a purple state — so the fact that we're this competitive speaks volumes about the state of our country and the popularity of Biden," said Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel.
So what is causing the problem for Democrats? The campaign team for Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who is up for re-election, sees President Joe Biden's decline in popularity as part of the party's issue. In addition to the slip in popularity, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Va.), who ran previously against McAuliffe, believes voters may be burned out.
"We've had four years of being on high alert, coming out of COVID, coming out of a lockdown. I think people were just living their lives and didn't want to think about an election," said state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, who ran against McAuliffe for the Democratic nomination.
However, she also reiterated why its important for Democratic voters to remain vigilant.
"We can't forget — and I certainly will never forget — that we had an insurrection on Jan. 6 at the nation's Capitol," she said. "Literally, people beat police officers with American flags under this notion of a lie that the former president spewed and people with loud voices, elected officials, propagated."
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