- - Monday, November 8, 2021

One year after watching the Republican Party lose control of the White House and Senate as American voters made Donald Trump a one-term president, conservatives are celebrating again.

Not only did Republican Glenn Youngkin defeat Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s gubernatorial election (in a state where Joseph R. Biden defeated Mr. Trump by 10 points just 12 months ago), Republicans won decisive victories in other unexpected places.

Moreover, some conservatives say Mr. Youngkin’s campaign may have shown Republicans how to escape Mr. Trump’s perceived grip on the party, a necessity if the party wants to win back the White House in 2024, or so the argument goes.

In this episode of History As It Happens, anti-Trump conservative Barbara Comstock, a former two-term Republican congresswoman in Northern Virginia, shares her thoughts on what Mr. Youngkin’s victory means for the party, and why she believes the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot must complete its work.

Why did Glenn Youngkin win?

Ms. Comstock: “He did better with base voters than Donald Trump did, and notably better with women. … Many of them left Trump because … of his toxic and unpleasant personality. What you see with Glenn is someone who is sunny and optimistic. He focused on kitchen table issues. I know it’s trite, but the economy was the number one issue.”

To what extent was Mr. Youngkin’s use of critical race theory as a grievance issue in line with Mr. Trump’s brand? Did the election turn on CRT?

Ms. Comstock: “I don’t agree with the premise because the number one issue, according to the polls, was the economy. And if you go back and look at his ads, he was addressing the education issue [more broadly]. He came out with the historically Black colleges funding early on. He came out with raising teacher pay early on. And then you had the concerns in Loudoun County with the rape in the school … I think that and Terry McAuliffe’s statement brought all those issues together.”

On the importance of the Jan. 6 investigation in the House

Ms. Comstock: “I think getting that information and truth out is important. I think it will have an impact on Trump and his future prospects, because people will realize we can have Trump policies without the toxic personality, without all the negatives, and the fact that the twice-impeached sore-loser guy lost. So let’s latch ourselves to people who, in this new environment, prove that they can win.”

To listen to the entire interview with Ms. Comstock, download this episode of History As It Happens.

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