Why 'polished and ostensibly moderate' Glenn Youngkin is promoting election deniers: columnist
When Glenn Youngkin ran against Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s 2021 gubernatorial race, he campaigned as a traditional Mitt Romney type of conservative — not a far-right MAGA culture warrior or a QAnon conspiracy theorist. Youngkin distanced himself from former President Donald Trump during the campaign, campaigning from the right but not the far right. And it worked: Youngkin defeated McAuliffe by roughly 2 percent in a swing state that was once deep red but has become increasingly Democrat-friendly in recent years.
A Republican hasn’t carried Virginia in a presidential race since George W. Bush in 2004. Many Democratic strategists, in November 2021, saw Youngkin’s victory as an ominous sign for their party ahead of the 2022 midterms, and Youngkin was cited as an example of how a Republican could win a statewide race in a swing state if they avoided going too far to the right or sounding too MAGA.
But in a biting opinion column published by the New York Times on September 20, journalist Jamelle Bouie argues that Youngkin has pulled a bait and switch. And he calls the Virginia governor out for campaigning for Arizona gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake and other far-right MAGA Republicans who falsely claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.
“Youngkin, a former private equity executive, is on a tour of the country, speaking and raising money for Republican candidates in key presidential swing states,” Bouie observes. “And as he crisscrosses the United States in support of the Republican Party, Youngkin is neither avoiding Donald Trump nor scorning his acolytes; he’s embracing them. In Nevada last week, Youngkin stumped for Joe Lombardo, the Trump-backed Republican nominee for governor who acknowledges that President Biden won the election but says he is worried about the ‘sanctity of the voting system.’”
Bouie continues, “In Michigan, Youngkin stumped for Tudor Dixon, the Trump-backed Republican nominee for governor who has repeatedly challenged the integrity of the 2020 presidential election. And later this month in Arizona, Youngkin will stump for Kari Lake, the Trump-backed Republican nominee for governor who accused Democrats of fraud in the state and says that unlike Gov. Doug Ducey, she ‘would not have certified’ the 2020 election results.”
According to Bouie, it is “obvious” that the “polished and ostensibly moderate” Youngkin “wants to be president” — and he “believes he needs to cater to and actually support election questioners and deniers” in order to “have a shot at leading the Republican Party.”
“The issue is that Republican voters want MAGA candidates,” Bouie observes, “and ambitious Republicans see no path to power that doesn’t treat election deniers and their supporters as partners in arms…. Someone like Glenn Youngkin is only doing what makes sense. To make MAGA politics weak among Republican politicians, you have to make MAGA voters irrelevant in national elections. But that will take a different political system — or a vastly different political landscape — than the one we have now.”
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