Republicans won statewide in Virginia Tuesday night for the first time since 2009, capturing all top three offices along with a majority in the House of Delegates. It was only a year ago President Joe Biden carried the state by 10 points where Democrats held a 10-seat advantage in the lower chamber.
“This is our moment,” Virginia Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin opened in his victory speech to supporters. “It’s our moment for parents, for grandparents, for aunts, for uncles, for neighbors to change the future of Virginia’s children’s lives, to change their Virginia journey. It’s our time to turn that vision into a reality.”
It’s no mystery why Youngkin began his address with a nod to parents, who became a centerpiece of his campaign after his opponent, former Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe, pledged to block parental decision-making in schools.
“I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision,” McAuliffe said on the September debate stage in the gaffe heard around the country, revealing Democrats’ true feelings on kids in government schools.
The moment marked an inflection point for Youngkin, who transformed his campaign from that of a conventional beltway Republican running in blue Virginia to one of a conservative crusader in the culture war. When McAuliffe complained the comment was taken out of context, it provoked Youngkin’s staff to release an ad featuring clips of the former governor making the same assertion.
The fight over education was further aggravated by 18 months of repeat school closings, government rules for obsessive mask-wearing, incessant demands from teachers unions, curricula infected with racist concepts enshrined by critical race theory, and a letter from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) which called on the Biden FBI to deal with concerned parents as perpetrators of “domestic terrorism and hate crimes.” The letter cited a case in Northern Virginia’s Loudoun County where a man whose daughter was apparently raped by a “gender fluid” student was arrested at a school board meeting. The sexual assault was covered up by the school board, while the assailant then appeared to engage in another assault after being transferred to another school.
McAuliffe’s response to education becoming the focal point in the contest was to campaign with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the eve of the election. Just days earlier, Weingarten, the champion of all that frustrated parents from school closures to state-sanctioned racism embedded in curricula, promoted a piece from the Washington Post headlined, “Parents claim they have the right to shape their kids’ school curriculum. They don’t.”
— Randi Weingarten (@rweingarten) October 25, 2021
The end result? Youngkin captured a landslide with a 13-point flip.
The rapid Republican sweep in Virginia showcased a repeated pattern nationwide, where grassroots conservatives began to organize in new coalitions to effectively engage in the culture war. School board races became ground zero as leftists implemented plans indoctrinating students to see the entire world through a racial lens.
Conservative candidates running on efforts to rid their districts of traumatizing eternal COVID protocols for children and toxic concepts espoused by critical race theory captured seats in Wichita, Kan.; Burke County, N.C.; Ankeny, Iowa; Tredyffrin-Easttown School District in Pennsylvania, and others.
In the Denver suburbs of Douglas County, Colo., conservatives captured all four open seats on the seven-member school board to secure a majority for the first time since 2017.
The conservative victories mark the birth of a new cultural tea party to turn the tide of radical progressivism inaugurated with the election of President Biden, just as the Tea Party rose in the aftermath of President Barack Obama’s first years in office a decade ago.
The new movement’s seeds were planted in the spring with the formation of new groups such as Parents Defending Education (PDE) to take the effort against state-sanctioned racism overwhelming schools on offense. The organization, which played a pivotal role in exposing episodes of racism in Northern Virginia emblematic of education trends nationwide, launched as conservatives struggled to coalesce around effective strategies.
Upon entrance, President Biden dismantled former President Donald Trump’s 1776 Commission, which presented an alternative to counter narratives like The 1619 Project already implemented in some 4,500 classrooms.
As President Obama redefined what it means to run a progressive presidency with excessive spending — igniting conservative backlash in 2010 — President Biden has repeated history, this time alienating the suburbs with the aggressive federal embrace of critical race theory and identity politics.
Just as the Tea Party came out of a reinvigorated base of conservative voters 10 years ago, Tuesday’s elections showed that a new movement is back, this time focused on the culture wars.