- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 9, 2022

Ascent Strategic — a prominent political consulting firm — has a reminder for candidates and political organizations poised to encounter the midterm elections.

“This all-important election cycle is truly underway, but are you ready? The balance of power in Congress on the line, and countless important state and local races up for grabs,” the group said in a message to the political community that was shared with the Beltway.

The group has created a color-coded map of the U.S. showing the dates for primary elections. And the creators do have a point. Actual voting is just around the corner.

Which prompts another question: Are voters ready as well?

Texas is in the lead here. Early voting in the Lone Star State starts Feb. 14; voters go to the polls on March 1. The Texas gubernatorial bout, meanwhile, makes for an energetic beginning to the midterms season.

“The governor is the chief executive of Texas. The seat has not been held by a Democrat since 1995, and Republican Greg Abbott is seeking a third term. His primary challengers include former state Sen. Don Huffines and former Texas GOP chairman Allen West. On the Democratic ticket, former El Paso congressman Beto O’Rourke has statewide name recognition after his 2018 U.S. Senate and 2020 presidential runs,” notes a handy summary from the Texas Tribune.


The press is closely following the ongoing and complex challenges parents and families face in the COVID-19 era. A few sample headlines from the last 48 hours:

“Exhausted parents face another wave of school shutdowns,” noted The Washington Post.

“Who gets the blame when schools shut down?” asked The New Yorker.

“Covid-19 school closures reignite political jockeying ahead of midterms,” noted The Wall Street Journal.

“Outside the U.S., the COVID school debate is (mostly) settled — even as Omicron surges,” said Fortune.

Obviously, this is a less-than-ideal situation. One Republican has some advice.

“It’s time for school vouchers: Teachers’ unions don’t want to teach. Children and families are at risk of falling years behind intellectually and socially while teachers’ unions demand pay for staying at home — coming up with unrealistic and unscientific demands to re-open local schools,” wrote Saul Anuzis, former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party and now president of 60Plus.

“Now is the time to move to a true ‘schools of choice’ program with vouchers for every family to decide how and where their children should be educated. Those who prefer in-home learning by some schools/teachers, great. Those who are taking other measured safety procedures deserve an option,” he said in a brief analysis.

“Give families/parents a choice as to how and where their children should be educated. This is a perfect time to implement such public policy across the country,” Mr. Anuzis advised.


Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin has announced Kay Coles James as the next secretary of the commonwealth.

Does her name sound familiar? It should. Ms. James is the former president of The Heritage Foundation, a conservative and very productive think tank in the nation’s capital.

She also served in senior administrative roles in the George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush administrations, and was previously Virginia’s secretary of health. More recently, Ms. James played a vital role on Mr. Youngkin’s election team.

“Our shared vision combined with her tremendous experience will pave the way for a new day in Virginia. Kay has an extensive public service background; she has always been a leader and innovator in the Virginia government. Kay has worked tirelessly as my transition co-chair, advising on personnel, policy, and strategic planning. Together we will change the trajectory of the Commonwealth as we deliver on the Day One promises,” Mr. Youngkin noted in a statement.


The annual March for Life is fast approaching — the event brings many thousands of pro-life people of every description to the nation’s capital on Jan. 21.

An inaugural breakfast reception will be staged at a historic site on Capitol Hill before the march begins — and it too includes some noteworthy attendees — over two dozen of them, as a matter of fact.

They are “heroic pro-life lawmakers who take seriously their duty to courageously fight for life in our nation’s capital,” said Jeanne F. Mancini, president of March for Life Action, in a statement.


The academic influence is still percolating in the children’s book world. University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have released a study which maintains that popular kid’s books “solidify children’s beliefs about gender.”

“Published in Psychological Science, the ‘What Might Books Be Teaching Young Children About Gender?’ study discovered that over 240 popular kids’ books contain ‘many words that adults judge as gendered, and many “instantiate” gender stereotypes,’” noted The College Fix, a student-written news organization which reviewed the study.

The researchers looked at 200,000 words, rating terms such as “axe” and “engine” as masculine, and “cuddle” and “pink” as feminine.

The research itself was published in Psychological Science, an academic journal.


• 39% of U.S. adults predict that politics will be “more negative” in 2022 compared to 2021; 49% of Republicans, 43% of independents and 34% of Democrats agree.

• 37% overall say politics will be “about the same”; 37% of Republicans, 39% of independents and 40% of Democrats agree.

• 9% overall predict politics will be “less negative in 2022”; 5% of Republicans, 9% of independents and 14% of Democrats agree.

• 15% overall are not sure what the state of politics will be this year; 9% of Republicans, 10% of independents and 12% of Democrats agree.

SOURCE: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 2-4.

• Helpful information to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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