The Great Doubling Down

The Great Doubling Down

The Great Doubling Down is upon us, as the professionally wrong pundits of our discredited chattering class blame racism for the Republican wave that swept Virginia. One of the many obvious problems with this claim is that the wave happened to sweep the first black woman into office alongside Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin.

“Some people would like us to believe we’re back in 1963 when my father came,” said Winsome Sears in her victory speech. “We can live where we want, we can eat where we want, we own the water fountains. We have had a black president elected not once but twice, and here I am, living proof.”

Sears will be Virginia’s next lieutenant governor. She’s a Jamaican immigrant, a former Marine, and a Republican. White liberals are busy explaining how racists voted for her.

Now, perhaps, is the moment these embarrassing displays go from stomach-churning to laughable. That can only happen if the powerful people spreading these poisonous narratives lose enough of their power. Youngkin won despite Democrats and the media incessantly attacking him in disgraceful terms. It feels like the dam is breaking.

There were glimpses of sanity in the wake of Youngkin’s blue-state win. Panelists on CNN contemplated their “echo chamber.” Establishment types wondered if the excesses of cultural progressivism cost them their power.

That is very much what happened—and the echo chambers didn’t help. The evidence on this point is fairly clear, as Zaid Jilani documented on Wednesday. Prognosticators who blame turnout are selling themselves a comfortable narrative, ignoring that turnout was itself motivated by all this.

The decisive role played by public schools’ embrace of critical race theory and radical transgender ideology means, to elites, that Youngkin voters are bigots, driven to the polls by prejudice. Sears sees herself as “living proof” of the contrary. So dedicated to its narrative, the left is minimizing her historic achievement by arguing, as Amanda Marcotte did, that “Youngkin voters are racist.”

When you inflate the definition of racism beyond recognition, it implicates non-racists in heinous conduct. It also animates them to vote for Youngkin or stay home instead of voting for his opponent. But under that farcical definition, voting for a black woman legitimately counts as racism if it’s in the service of a racist system. (Which, of course, involves any system short of Green-New-Deal, democratic socialism.) This both exposes the stupidity of the definition, which now governs our institutions, and explains why elites are doubling down on it.

Elites condemning non-racist voters as racists, prosecuting them under a definition few people share, is deeply classist. That’s just another reason it backfires and another reason it metastasizes in “echo chambers,” incentivizing cheap virtue signaling while disincentivizing dissent.

From time to time I’ve heard people confidently suggest the left is overreaching, that it’s alienating enough people at a high enough volume that sanity will naturally be restored to our culture. I don’t think Youngkin’s blue-state culture-war win is evidence enough that our institutions will be restored. It’s certainly a good sign. But with the Great Doubling Down already in motion, we can see how bitterly, how illogically, many of the country’s most powerful voices will cling to their narrative in the face of clear evidence.

Emily Jashinsky is culture editor at The Federalist. You can follow her on Twitter @emilyjashinsky .
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