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Terry McAuliffe’s Defeat In Virginia Is A Cautionary Tale: Don’t Mess With Parents

Terry McAuliffe's defeat

It wasn’t just the lies about CRT or the vilification of concerned parents, it was all that plus 18 months of school closures in Virginia.


The reasons for Terry McAuliffe’s defeat in Virginia by Republican Glenn Youngkin are fairly straightforward. People don’t like being called racists, and voters don’t like being lied to. But most of all, parents don’t like being told they have no say in the education of their children.

There was a moment in their Sept. 29 debate that changed everything. McAuliffe, responding to Youngkin’s entirely uncontroversial comment that parents should be in charge of their kids’ education, said the quiet part out loud: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

With that one line, McAuliffe managed to alienate and antagonize parents who had been fighting with the education establishment in Virginia for more than a year.

It wasn’t just McAuliffe’s incessant lies about how critical race theory is not being taught in Virginia schools (it is), or his implications that parents who are concerned about it are themselves racists, or his ridiculous claim that Virginia has too many white teachers.

Nor was it merely the atmosphere created by the bathroom rape coverup in Loudoun County or the collusion between the National School Boards Association and the Biden White House to get the Department of Justice to monitor parents who speak out at school board meetings as if they’re “domestic terrorists.”

It was all those things, but it was also this: Virginia schools in major metro areas were closed for 18 months because of the pandemic. Parents across the state were basically left to fend for themselves — they were literally put in charge of their kids’ education, with little help and no sympathy from school administrators and the Democratic politicians who back them.

That understandably made a lot of parents angry, especially because it became obvious at a certain point that these school closures were unnecessary and did real harm to students. The only people who seemed to support these draconian school closures were the teachers unions and the education bureaucracy.

So what did McAuliffe do? He closed out his campaign by taking the stage with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, the much-reviled architect of pandemic school closures, who claimed on stage that the reason parents and school boards are at odds is because of “misinformation” — that is, because parents are misinformed.

It’s hard to imagine a move more calculated to send parents the message that you don’t care what they think, and would like very much for them to shut up now.

At every step of the way, McAuliffe was like a broken woke robot, churning out leftist mantras about race and social justice, idiotically calling Youngkin a “Trumpkin,” and backing unpopular pandemic measures — all of which turned out to be badly out of step with ordinary Virginia voters, just as it is with most Americans.

There are plenty of lessons to be learned from Democrats’ ignominious defeat in Virginia, but the one that will resonate with ordinary voters across the country, whatever their political persuasion, is a simple, cardinal truth: Parents should be in charge of their kids’ education, and schools shouldn’t be closed.