It was amazing to watch the results coming in on Tuesday from Virginia and New Jersey. Here are some quick thoughts:
1. Don’t piss off parents
Driven by suburban parents, voters sent a clear message in a state that President Joe Biden carried by 10 points: Don’t piss us off. In many ways, it started when former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe proclaimed during a debate: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” He then doubled down on it multiple times before polls started showing him dropping with suburban parents. At that point, he tried to pivot and claim his words were taken out of context.
In the age of social media, voters could see for themselves. Even though few probably saw the original airing of the debate, most voters likely saw the video of Governor McAuliffe’s comments before they cast their ballots. Parents were not amused.
Parental instincts are not driven by partisan behavior. Moms and dads want what is best for their children. And regardless of race, sex, age, or party, they don’t want anyone telling them to stay out of their children’s lives.
Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin handled the situation well. He stood with parents. His opponent stood with the education bureaucrats and national union bosses.
2. Education: Yes. Indoctrination: No.
One of the few benefits of the pandemic has been that parents have seen what is being taught in the classroom and are taking action. They are rightly upset that so many districts embrace programs that teach students something is wrong with them based on their race. This is state-sanctioned racism — otherwise known as Critical Race Theory — and they know it is wrong.
Beyond CRT, parents are rightly concerned with a curriculum that teaches students to hate America and our founders. Parents are not asking schools to ignore slavery or other past ills but explain how America overcame these challenges and how our founding documents helped make these advances possible. In short, they want their children to receive an education, not indoctrination.
3. Safety matters
Parents were understandably outraged over the cover-up of the sexual assault of a student in a Loudoun County school. Many parents were concerned that schools were so consumed with pursuing a woke agenda on transgender students that they ignored legitimate public safety concerns. The highest responsibility of school staff is to keep students safe. They failed. Parents were rightly outraged at what happened and how one father, in particular, was treated by the district.
Voters in Minneapolis defeated a referendum question to eliminate the police department. They understood that the bad ex-officer responsible for the death of George Floyd was held accountable for his actions, so throwing out the entire police force was not necessary and that public safety still matters.
4. Multi-trillion boondoggle might be dead
U.S. Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin had little reason to compromise before Tuesday. Look for both of them to hunker down. Joe Biden’s poll numbers continue to be in free fall, and the results on Tuesday only affirm his poor standing.
Plus, Joe Biden can’t talk his way out of a wet paper bag. The poor guy didn’t even ask Members of Congress to vote for his package. Apparently, he can’t say much of anything unless it is on a teleprompter — and even that is debatable these days.
5. Progressives want more
Conventional wisdom suggests that Mr. Biden’s radical agenda is turning off voters. Results in Virginia and New Jersey have put out a roadblock. Democrats want to hit the gas and pass the massive spending and government overreach bill instead of stopping radicals within the party.
Governor-elect Youngkin showed how to bring a winning coalition together over jobs, taxes, education, and government overreach. Democrats are torn apart, with many “progressives” wanting to spend even more of your money.
Watch for an exodus of House Democrats between now and the end of the year. They can read the handwriting on the wall. Members like Rep. Ron Kind already announced his retirement. Progressives don’t care as they want a purge of the party. They might get what they want while becoming a permanent minority.
6. Kamala Harris was right
Vice President Kamala Harris said while campaigning for former Gov. Terry McAuliffe: “What happens in Virginia will, in large part, determine what happens in 2022, 2024, and on.” She is correct.
In 2009, Bob McDonnell won the election for Governor in Virginia, and Chris Christie pulled off a major upset in the race for Governor of New Jersey. That opened the door to people like me and the other candidates who were part of a Red Wave in 2010. Republicans won back the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate—as well as a majority of Governorships and state lawmaker positions across the country. Liberals dismissed the 2009 wins as part of the fringe tea party movement. Let’s hope they make the same mistakes in 2022.
• Scott Walker is the president of Young America’s Foundation and served as the 45th Governor of Wisconsin from 2011 to 2019.