Virginia Republicans anxious to see the party’s takeover of the state House of Delegates in the November election affirmed got what they wanted Friday after election officials in the southeastern part of the commonwealth determined Republican Karen Greenhalgh had won the crucial 51st seat.
Greenleigh led Delegate Alex Askew by 127 votes on Nov. 2 but, as the difference between the two was less than 0.5 percent, the incumbent Democrat availed himself of the option of having the votes recounted at public expense.
He still lost, election officials determined, but by just 115 votes out of more than 28,000 cast, The Washington Post reported.
“House Republicans are excited to begin working for the people of Virginia,” Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah), who has been elected by the GOP caucus to serve as Speaker of the House once the General Assembly session gets underway on Jan. 12, said in a statement. “Now that the majority is official, we can move forward with a timely transition as to be prepared to work on day one.”
Gilbert is expected to work closely with GOP Gov-elect Glenn Youngkin to move the incoming chief executive’s priorities including a repeal of the sales taxes on groceries through the legislature despite the Democrats having a one-vote majority in the Virginia Senate.
“While this is not the outcome we hoped for, I continue to be filled with optimism for the future of our Commonwealth and of the city of Virginia Beach,” Askew said in a release issued shortly after election officials announced the results. A recount in a second race occurs next week in Hampton, Va., where Republican A.C. Cordoza is ahead of incumbent Democratic Del. Martha M. Mugler by 94 votes out of 27,836 votes cast. If Cordoza is declared the winner, the Republicans will control the House of Delegates, 52-48.
By winning all three statewide constitutional offices in Virginia on Nov. 2 as well as retaking control of the House of Delegates, Virginia Republicans positioned themselves at the forefront of a “Red Wave” that some election observers say foreshadows a rout of Democrats running just about anywhere in America in 2002, leaving the GOP in a position to retake the White House in November 2024.
Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe has been caught using social media to steer voters to fake news sites that give favorable coverage to him while disparaging his Republican opponent, retired business executive Glenn Youngkin.
According to published reports, McAuliffe’s campaign has spent well into six figures on the project, utilizing a campaign tactic that is increasingly frowned upon by political commentators and news officials who consider it dishonest.
McAuliffe’s campaign purchased Facebook ads that redirected viewers to third-party websites that have all the appearance of local news outlets but which in fact publish purposefully slanted stories and what some reports described as “partisan propaganda.”
One site, reportedly operated by the McAuliffe campaign itself, is a Facebook page called “The Download Virginia,” launched in June 2021. Though the name resembles that of an online news outlet, according to Fox News it has not published any posts or photos and has little more than 100 followers as the election entered its final week. An analysis of data on the Facebook Ad Library Report projected spending of nearly half a million on ads distributed by the page since it was launched.
A July advertisement including positive comments about McAuliffe’s views on small business linked to an article published by a third-party website called the Virginia Dogwood, a website designed to like a local news outlet claiming to publish “credible, fact-based reporting.” In reality, the site was operated by Courier Newsroom, a group founded and funded by progressive billionaires supportive of the big government socialist agenda who reportedly include George Soros, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and several Hollywood movie producers. After it began operating, the Courier site network was allegedly purchased by the group Good Information Inc., a company whose stated mission is to fight “disinformation” by investing in local news companies but who, at least one published report said, shared overlapping donors with those involved in getting the Courier Newsroom project up and running.
Up to this point the Facebook ads, Fox estimated, have been viewed by as many as 3.5 million potential voters and others while McAuliffe, himself a former Virginia governor, and Youngkin slug it out in what most expect to be the closest election the commonwealth has seen in some time. The latest polls have the two in a dead heat.
The McAuliffe campaign also did not respond to Fox News’ requests for comment, but the network reported that two advertisements that linked to another faux news page recently as last week were disabled after the network made inquiries.
The Democrat is running against Trump while Virginia voters worry about the education of their kids.
When Terry McAuliffe won the Democratic nomination for governor of Virginia, he probably expected to defeat Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin without breaking a sweat. McAuliffe is a former Virginia governor with decades of political experience and countless connections. Youngkin began the race with little political experience and less name recognition. Yet McAuliffe clearly is sweating the gubernatorial race, and for good reason. The polls show Youngkin surging to a tie with him and suggest that the Republican is making inroads among crucial voter blocs whose support McAuliffe can’t afford to lose. According to a Monmouth University poll published October 20, for example, Youngkin has gained considerable support among independents and women:
The biggest swing in support from Monmouth’s last poll comes from independent voters, registering a 48% to 39% lead for Youngkin now compared with a 37% to 46% deficit in September. Youngkin has also cut into McAuliffe’s advantage with women voters. The Democrat currently has a narrow edge among women (47% to 43%), down from a sizable 14-point lead last month (52% to 38%).
In addition, Republicans are far more engaged and are widening their enthusiasm advantage:
This metric stood at a 13-point Republican advantage in prior polls — 34% GOP to 21% Democrat in August and 44% to 31% in September. That disparity has grown to a 23-point chasm in the current poll — 49% GOP to 26% Democrat.
These numbers clearly indicate that Youngkin enjoys growing momentum at a point in the race when McAuliffe has little time to turn the tide. Normally, the presence of a recently-elected Democrat in the White House could offer some assistance, but President Biden’s approval numbers are underwater by nearly 10 points according to the RealClearPolitics average. If Biden campaigns for McAuliffe next week it will likely depress Democratic enthusiasm. Nor is it helpful that the only black politician ever elected governor in Virginia, Douglas Wilder, has chastised the McAuliffe campaign for illegally playing an electioneering ad featuring Vice President Harris in black churches. The Washington Examiner reports that Wilder said, “If this is legal, then it’s surprising to me.”
Former president Obama has also cut an ad for McAuliffe in addition to campaigning with him on Saturday. Even if this increases the number of votes McAuliffe receives, it’s unlikely to be enough to offset his politically untenable position on public education. His campaign has failed to overcome the ill will he created among voters by declaring, during the final gubernatorial debate, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” McAuliffe has attempted to spin his way out of that blunder, but the voters are just not able to unhear that startling assertion. He is now trying to change the subject to … Trump. In a recent interview with WJLA 7News he responded to a question about the proper role of parents in education with a 237-word periphrasis ending thus:
Glenn Youngkin has a Donald Trump Betsey DeVos plan. He has said publicly many times he will take money out of public schools and put them into private. The Washington Post just did an editorial and three independent reviews have been done on Glenn’s plan: 43,000 teachers will be cut in Virginia.
WJLA reporter Nick Minock put this to Youngkin who dismissed it as a sign of desperation:
I believe Terry McAuliffe is doing what you would expect from a 43-year career political operative when he sees the race slipping away is he doesn’t want to run against me. He wants to do anything he can to change this to a race against somebody else. And the reality is that it’s Glenn Youngkin on the ballot.
This description of McAuliffe’s campaign is all too accurate. During one 12-minute CNN interview conducted on October 10, he mentioned former President Trump no fewer than 18 times. This got so awkward that host Dana Bash joked, “I’m glad I have two cups [of coffee] here, so I can keep drinking when you mention Donald Trump’s name.” He rarely makes a speech without calling Glenn Youngkin “a Trump wannabe.” And, when asked about his controversial contention that parents should not tell schools what to teach, he invariably avoids answering the question by reciting the conspiracy theory about Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos. This makes it difficult to avoid the conclusion that Youngkin is correct about McAuliffe’s increasing desperation.
Perhaps the most embarrassingly desperate act of the McAuliffe campaign, however, was its ridiculous attempt to smear Youngkin as a sleazy showbiz crook who somehow bilked singer Taylor Swift. The Daily Beast informs us that the McAuliffe campaign actually invested in a series of digital ads on Facebook in which the Democratic gubernatorial candidate asks, “Did you know that Republican candidate for governor, Glenn Youngkin, helped buy Taylor Swift’s masters out from under her when he was co-CEO of the Carlyle Group?” This blockbuster revelation, in the unlikely event that it is true, presumably sewed up the Taylor Swift constituency. It isn’t clear, however, that this burning issue will be enough to get McAuliffe over the top in the Old Dominion.
In the end, McAuliffe’s last best hope is that the federal bureaucrats who have colonized northern Virginia will vote in large enough numbers to save him. That’s how he won in 2013. In 2021, however, those voters have something in common with Youngkin’s supporters — they are parents who want their children educated rather than indoctrinated. Moreover, many of the school board protests that have made national news occurred in Fairfax and Loudoun counties in northern Virginia. Most of those protests have been against the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in public schools. Glenn Youngkin has pledged to ban the teaching of CRT on his first day in office if elected governor.
A Fox News poll published on October 14 found that a 57 percent of Virginia’s parents believe they should tell schools what to teach, and that only 40 percent of likely voters agree with McAuliffe’s stated position. If these numbers accurately reflect the attitude of the Commonwealth’s voters, particularly as they relate to those residing in the state’s northern counties, it is entirely possible that Virginia is about to send former Gov. McAuliffe and the Democratic Party in general to school.
And the need for a conservative education agenda
A single exchange may decide the Virginia governor’s race. At one point during a September 28 debate, Republican Glenn Youngkin slammed his opponent, former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe, for vetoing a 2017 bill that would have allowed parents to remove their children from courses studying sexually explicit material. McAuliffe shrugged off the criticism. “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” he said.
If you live in Virginia, as I do, then you have heard McAuliffe saying those words approximately a gazillion times on television, where they are replayed ad nauseam in one of Youngkin’s most effective attack ads. The former Carlyle Group executive and political newcomer clearly believes that grassroots outrage at the educational system will provide him the winning margin in what is now a tossup election. On the banner of Youngkin’s website is a tab that reads “Parents Matter.” Among the items in his “day one game plan” is a promise to ban instruction in “Critical Race Theory” (CRT). “This is no longer a campaign,” Youngkin recently told a crowd in Winchester, Va., according to the New York Times. “This is a movement. It’s a movement led by parents.”
It sure is. The question is where the movement is going. So far, the revolt over politically correct and anti-American curricula has produced more heat than light. Loudoun County, Va., the epicenter of this latest populist rebellion, has become a stand-in for national polarization and tribalism, as the left-leaning school board engages in bitter fights with well-organized parents. Several states already have banned CRT, including materials based on the New York Times’s “1619 Project,” a factitious revision of U.S. history whose absurd premise is that the American Revolution was fought to protect slavery. Meanwhile, the Biden administration’s politicized Justice Department has promised to investigate threats against school boards and educators. No one seems able to agree on what, exactly, CRT is, but that doesn’t really matter for either side. What matters is the fight.
If it propels Youngkin to Richmond, then, the debate over education may end up looking like a wasted opportunity, a moment for serious thought and policy creativity that was frittered away in exercises of mutual fear, loathing, and contempt. For example: Even if we can agree on a definition of CRT that doesn’t inadvertently include fair-minded social studies in slavery, Jim Crow, and the civil rights movement, expunging this balkanizing and corrosive ideology from schools is just a first step. There is more to be done.
Yet the rest of Youngkin’s education platform is vague. It includes keeping schools open, “Restoring High Expectations & Getting Every Student College or Career Ready,” “Rebuilding Crumbling Schools, Raising Teacher Pay, & Investing in Special Education Programs,” and “Creating at least 20 New Innovation Charter Schools across the K-12 Spectrum to Provide Choice.” In a July speech, Youngkin pledged to retain advanced math courses and reimpose pre-McAuliffe standards.
This smallball is not new. Of the four character-shaping institutions of family, faith, neighborhood, and school, conservatives have had the least to say about education. They lament its sorry state. They say it is not a federal responsibility even though the Department of Education remains standing after both Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich vowed to eliminate it, and no one calls for the repeal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. They rightfully and productively expand homeschooling and school choice, without paying close enough attention to the 90 percent of students who attend some 100,000 K-12 public schools across the country. They somewhat reluctantly went along with George W. Bush’s efforts to impose school standards in the 2000s but did not know where to turn after the collapse of the test-based accountability model of education reform.
Former secretary of education William J. Bennett often speaks of the “three Cs”: choice, content, and character. The Youngkin plan gestures toward choice, issues vague calls for less politicized, more rigorous content, and overlooks character entirely. This final omission is a shame because, in its malign and counterproductive way, CRT or “antiracist” curriculum is itself a form of character education.
Progressives have long treated the public school as the place where children receive the knowledge, traits, and habits necessary for life in a modern democracy. Today, in the worldview of the education establishment—what Bennett calls “the Blob”—that means teaching to the lowest common denominator and avoiding or downplaying assessments under which some students fall short. It means inducing feelings, depending on the student, of shame or self-esteem. It means reducing individuals to physical characteristics, fostering the idea that these characteristics determine most if not all life outcomes, and dividing the world between oppressor and oppressed. Is it any wonder that the institutions premised on such ideas tend to mold individuals with guilt-ridden, suspicious, agonistic, fragile characters who can’t read or write or perform basic math?
Ambitious conservatives have to think bigger. Try improving teacher quality through licensing reform. Charter schools can be excellent, but what about incentivizing learning pods and investing heavily in Career and Technical Education? Last year, my American Enterprise Institute colleague Frederick M. Hess sketched out a fulsome education agenda in the pages of National Affairs. The ideas are there. Someone needs to pick them up.
And soon. In the absence of leadership that provides alternatives to liberal programs, conservatives assume a negative attitude and defensive crouch on issue after issue. Education is no exception. Progressive outrages spawn populist backlashes that may block the most egregious initiatives and embarrass their most radical proponents, but in the end not much changes. Why? Because conservatives are unable to agree on specific and lasting measures to reshape the institutional structure in ways that improve social conditions and restore civil peace. This isn’t conjecture. This is the failure to repeal Obamacare in 2017.
“A populist upsurge always points to very real problems that ought to be on our political agenda,” wrote Irving Kristol in 1972. “But populism itself usually misperceives these problems, and the solutions it proposes are, more often than not, illusory.” It would be a partial and ultimately unsatisfactory outcome if the parental revolt over the high-handedness and lunatic wokism of the educational system exhausts itself, like the Tea Party movement of the 2010s, in a combination of electoral victory and policy defeat. Time for Glenn Youngkin to hit the books.
Virginia Democrat gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe said in 2019 that implementing a “diversity” and “inclusion” curriculum is “just as important as your math class [and] your English class.”
“We’ve got to do a better job in our education system. … Early on, we’ve got to start teaching, talking about these issues, much earlier than we’ve done it before. We don’t do a good job in our education system talking about diversity, inclusion, openness and so forth. We don’t,” McAuliffe said in a 2019 interview on C-SPAN’s “After Words.” “We got our textbooks, but you know there has to be a big part of ‘how do you fit in into the social work of our nation and our fabric?’ How is it that we deal with one another is to me as important as your math class, your English class and so forth.”
McAuliffe joined the show to promote his book “Beyond Charlottesville: Taking a Stand Against White Nationalism” and demand change to combat the “racism” that he claimed was plaguing the nation.
“Elected officials need to lean in on these issues because racism is prevalent today in this country,” McAuliffe said.
McAuliffe has repeatedly denied that critical race theory is taught in the state even though, while he was governor from 2014-2018, the Virginia Department of Education explicitly pushed public schools to “embrace critical race theory” and “engage in race-conscious teaching and learning.”
More recently, communications obtained by Judicial Watch indicate that Loudoun County Public Schools made a long, coordinated effort to ensure that critical race theory was institutionalized despite public opposition. In one email, LCPS Superintendent Scott Ziegler tried to calm concerns from parents about racist teachings by claiming that the “Rumors Concerning LCPS Equity Work” are confusing critical race theory and culturally responsive teaching. When Ziegler tried to distinguish between the two, he merely affirmed that the district was asking “employees to examine their own personal biases and how they might affect student instruction and interactions with the community.”
“Concepts such as white supremacy and systemic racism are discussed during professional development,” he wrote. “LCPS has not adopted Critical Race Theory as a framework for staff to adhere to.”
Former governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill to block sexually explicit books from schools
Independent Women’s Voice, a Virginia conservative women’s advocacy group, created the ad and bought airtime late at night to reveal the existence of the books. They were rebuffed, however, from airing the ad by ABC, CBS, and NBC. The networks said federal law prohibits them from showing pornographic images. But the books, which have pornographic images and descriptions of sex and pedophilia, are still available in school libraries
The battle between parents and public schools over curricula has been a fraught issue in the nation, particularly so in Virginia during the gubernatorial election. Critics have attacked Democratic candidate and former governor Terry McAuliffe for permitting sexually explicit material in schools and calling parents’ concerns over the teaching of critical race theory a “racist dog whistle.”
Parents have expressed outrage at the permissive stance that the state, its school board, and localities have taken on pornographic reading material in schools. In September, a Virginia mom confronted the Fairfax County School Board for allowing pornographic books in school libraries. She read excerpts and showed pictures from the books, one of which showed a fourth-grade boy performing oral sex on a grown man.
The board later removed the books from the school system pending a thorough review. But the books, Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe and Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison, are still available in school catalogs in neighboring counties such as Loudoun County, Arlington County, Alexandria County, and Montgomery County, Md.
McAuliffe in 2016 vetoed a bill that would have prevented students from having to see such sexually explicit material in schools. The so-called Beloved bill, which was named after a parent objected to sexually explicit content in the eponymous novel by Toni Morrison, would have allowed parents to review and opt out of engaging with sexually explicit books that might be shown to their children.
McAuliffe at the time called the bill “unnecessary” and said the matter would be resolved by the Virginia Board of Education. In 2017, however, the state board rejected a similar proposal to allow students to opt out of engaging with sexually explicit reading material.
When asked during a recent gubernatorial debate about vetoing the bill, McAuliffe defended his decision and said parents shouldn’t have the final say about what reading materials are allowed in schools.
“I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision,” McAuliffe said. “So, yeah, I stopped the bill. I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
Victoria Coley, the vice president of communications at Independent Women’s Voice, called the existence of federally prohibited pornography on school bookshelves “shocking.”
Stanley Kurtz calls attention to two developments he says indicate that zoning may be on the cusp of emerging as a high-profile political issue. The first is from Virginia. There, in the midst of the high-stakes McAuliffe vs. Youngkin race for governor, the conservative group Frontiers of Freedom Foundation is running an ad that highlights Terry McAuliffe’s support for Joe Biden’s plans to undercut single-family zoning.
The ad, which I found powerful, reminds voters that attacks on local control of zoning can come from states as well as the feds. In fact, this has happened in California which recently abolished single-family zoning. The anti-McAuliffe ad pointedly reminds Virginia voters of this news from California.
The second development is from California, where there is a move afoot to put a measure on the 2022 California ballot that would effectively nullify the abolition of single-family zoning. Although signature collection has not yet begun, Stanley points out that it’s relatively easy to secure a statewide referendum in California, especially on a high-profile issue like this.
This seems like a great opportunity to pull the issues surrounding affirmatively furthering fair housing out of the shadows, where the left has tried to contain them. As Stanley says:
California ballot measures draw national attention. A referendum on local control over zoning in the nation’s largest state would dramatically raise the profile of this issue.
In conjunction with the Biden administration’s revival of Obama’s radical Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation, and additional congressional efforts to kill off single-family zoning (possibly in the big infrastructure bill, if we ever find out what’s in it), a California referendum could rocket this issue to national prominence. And if McAuliffe goes down after an ad campaign focused on the zoning issue, it will serve as a roadmap for Republicans in other states. . . .
Democrats have always worried that their plans to do away with single-family zoning will be politically unpopular, even with many Democrats. They haven’t yet had to face the political consequences of their own policies, however. With local control over zoning now injected into the Virginia governor’s race, and a California referendum very likely on the way, that may be about to change.
Few issues matter more to voters than the character of their neighborhoods and the character of their schools. The second issue — schools — has become a high-profile one. Maybe now the first one — neighborhoods — will come into prominence.
The ad alleges that McAuliffe has not been asked the tough questions by the members of a media-class that wishes to see him elected
By Just The New•
With election day for the Virginia governorship just weeks away, the neck-in-neck race between former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and former Carlyle co-CEO Glenn Youngkin (R) is heating up. In the final days of the race, Frontiers of Freedom, a conservative policy advocacy group in Virginia, has made a major TV ad-buy in the DC-Northern Virginia market with a long-form ad that emphasizes McAuliffe’s plans to undermine suburban family neighborhoods by building high density housing.
According to Frontiers’ ad, McAuliffe, as governor, would “override local zoning” ordinances in an effort to quickly build up “high-density, low-income housing” in single-family suburban communities. He would hand over significant neighborhood building and construction power to the federal government that would allow the bureaucratic destruction of the American suburbs to move forward.
Several prominent GOP politicians, including former HUD secretary Dr. Ben Carson, have spent the last couple years warning the public about this type of zoning practice and the negative impact it stands to have on American suburbs.
“Terry McAuliffe’s threat to the suburbs is no exaggeration,” says the ad, which runs at 120-seconds. It also points out that a majority of black and hispanic families are against disrupting the housing and traffic flow of American suburbs. For many decades families like theirs were kept out of single-family communities, and now they are hoping to thrive the way other families have in suburban areas, not have the opportunity taken from them by politically motivated zoning laws.
The president of the Frontiers of Freedom Foundation, George Landrith, says this is not an attack ad. Rather, he calls the spot a “heavily informative narrative ad that tells the story of Terry McAuliffe’s extremist views and plans.”
In addition to the claim that McAuliffe will pass policy that will endanger the lifestyles of hardworking suburban Virginian families, the group hits the former governor for allying himself with those who support “teaching ugly Anti-American falsehoods to school children” – a reference to Critical Race Theory – defunding the police, and “continuing the illegal immigration crisis and influx of MS-13 gangs in Northern Virginia.”
Current polling shows that Youngkin and McAuliffe are virtually tied, meaning the next few weeks will be exceptionally important for both campaigns. While Youngkin has run a steady effort, amassing growing support through his primary bid and into the general election, McAuliffe’s campaign has struggled the past few weeks, especially following a gaffe at a gubernatorial debate in late September during which the Democrat said “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
The role parents play in the education of their children has been an unusually significant issue during the Virginia race as parents across the state oppose and protest the decisions of their local school boards ranging from all-day masking mandates for their children, to the inclusion of Critical Race Theory in the curricula of young students.
The first indication of zoning’s possible emergence as a top-tier political issue is a hard-hitting new ad by the conservative Frontiers of Freedom Foundation. The ad highlights Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s support for President Biden’s plans to undercut single-family zoning. The ad informs voters that attacks on local control of zoning can come from states as well. Watch: https://youtu.be/Z3mbjKRgKMw
Although it has not been widely reported, after a series of bitter legislative battles, the California legislature recently abolished single-family zoning — over considerable opposition from Democrats as well as Republicans, including many minorities. The anti-McAuliffe attack ad pointedly reminds Virginia voters of the news from California.
California, in turn, is the source of the second major political development. Although the story of SB 9, California’s statewide ban on single-family zoning, has had only limited national play to date, there is a move afoot to put a measure on the 2022 California ballot that would effectively nullify SB 9 by restoring local control over zoning. Although signature collection has not yet begun, it is relatively easy to secure a statewide referendum in California, especially on a high-profile issue like this.
California ballot measures draw national attention. A referendum on local control over zoning in the nation’s largest state would dramatically raise the profile of this issue. In conjunction with the Biden administration’s revival of Obama’s radical Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation, and additional congressional efforts to kill off single-family zoning (possibly in the big infrastructure bill, if we ever find out what’s in it), a California referendum could rocket this issue to national prominence. And if McAuliffe goes down after an ad campaign focused on the zoning issue, it will serve as a roadmap for Republicans in other states.
For years, the zoning as a national political issue has been more a matter of theory than practice. I wrote about Obama’s plans to do away with single-family zoning well before AFFH had even been issued. At the time, the left denied that any such plan was in the works. Then Obama put AFFH in place, but so close to the end of his second term that he had to depend on a prospective President Hillary Clinton to enforce it. Instead, President Trump suspended AFFH and eventually killed it. With Biden in the process of reviving AFFH, and the infrastructure bill in limbo, active enforcement of federal laws designed to kill off single-family zoning is not quite yet a reality.
Yet the emergence of state-level single-family zoning bans, in conjunction with major federal efforts along the same lines, may be about to kick this issue into high gear. Democrats have always worried that their plans to do away with single-family zoning will be politically unpopular, even with many Democrats. They haven’t yet had to face the political consequences of their own policies, however. With local control over zoning now injected into the Virginia governor’s race, and a California referendum very likely on the way, that may be about to change.
New ad represents a final appeal to moms in the suburbs of Northern Virginia
By Fox News•
A conservative political action committee (PAC) is warning that Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who is running for governor, would follow President Biden’s lead in purportedly destroying the suburbs through zoning reform.
Debuted on Sunday, the ad represents a final appeal to moms in the suburbs of Northern Virginia, which is considered a critical battleground for McAuliffe and his GOP opponent Glenn Youngkin.
A narrator tells viewers: “Ask Terry McAuliffe why he wants to use Virginia to pay off his extremist allies, destroy suburban neighborhoods, and destroy the American dream of a single-family home.
Frontiers of Freedom alleges that McAuliffe will implement left-wing ideas for eliminating single-family zoning in order to benefit both the climate and low-income populations.
McAuliffe’s campaign did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment. His website, however, commits him to creating a task force that will “develop to break down barriers, improve zoning, streamline local permitting, create more accessory dwelling units and employ any other innovative building technologies that drive the creation of more affordable housing units.”
The results are presumably tentative, but the narrator argues that “under the McAuliffe plan, federal bureaucrats would dictate to local towns and cities … cramming apartment complexes into single-family neighborhoods.”
Biden has proposed awarding grants and tax credits to cities that move away from so-called “exclusionary zoning.”
“Exclusionary zoning laws enact barriers to entry that constrain housing supply, which, all else equal, translate into an equilibrium with more expensive housing and fewer homes being built,” the White House said in June.
According to a press release, the ad will run through the week on local D.C.-Northern Virginia channels.
Conservative group Frontiers of Freedom Foundation this week launched a hard-hitting television advertisement characterizing Virginia Democrat gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe as “the chosen candidate of the media and tech giants” who are “helping him hide from the people of Virginia.” The ad launched on Fox affiliate WTTG’s 10 PM news program and is set to run throughout this week both on WTTG and other Washington- and Northern Virginia-based channels. The spot concentrates on McAuliffe’s mostly unreported plan to override local zoning laws and construct high-density, low-income apartment units in suburban single-family neighborhoods—an endeavor that could prevent middle- and working-class families from achieving the American Dream of living in a house of their own.
Frontiers of Freedom President George Landrith stated in a press release that the group purchased a two-minute television ad in the Washington, D.C. broadcast market—which would reach residents in heavily-populated Arlington and Fairfax Counties on local news channels in order to “make Terry McAuliffe come out from cover and face the crucial questions the media is protecting him from having him to answer.”
The ad’s release comes just weeks before the long-awaited Virginia gubernatorial election between McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin on November 2, for which polls have remained razor-thin. “By making McAuliffe answer these questions, Virginians will be sending a strong message,” said Landrith. “They will be telling the radical liberals and their big business allies and the Wall Street barons that the people of Virginia won’t stand for it. And Terry McAuliffe and the liberal extremists and their billionaire allies will discover they can’t have America. They can’t have Virginia.”
As Landrith described, unlike other political ad campaigns, his group’s spot relies on providing voters with ample information rather than quick ads with little substance. “These are not 30 second attack ads that try to manipulate people,” he said, “but heavily informative narrative ads that ask Terry McAuliffe when he will reject extremist liberal views and plans.”
“The spot’s major focus is on McAuliffe’s plan to destroy single-family zoning by empowering the federal government to dictate local zoning decisions,” Landrith said. “In showing pictures of Black and Hispanic families [as] well as young people seeking a first home, the spot says such a plan would destroy the aspirations of many Americans who now have a chance to live in safe, family-friendly neighborhoods.”
“We also highlight the fact that ‘the woke’ management of Wall Street firms are buying suburban properties because they think they can make money eventually off this Washington land-grab,” Landrith continued, likely referring to recent reports that Wall Street banks and investment firms have joined in on the Democrats’ already longstanding war on suburban America.
Moreover, the ad calls attention to the circumstances under which McAuliffe received the Democratic nomination earlier this year. McAuliffe, Landrith notes, prevented younger black progressive talent like Carroll Foy and Justin Fairfax, his former primary opponents, from making names for themselves, while simultaneously allying himself with his party’s most extreme voices. “Terry McAuliffe got the Democratic nomination for governor,” he said, “by pushing aside promising young leadership in his own party and making a corrupt political bargain with the left-wing extremists to support their radical agenda.”
The ad also highlights McAuliffe’s complicity in other parts of the extremist progressive agenda, declaring that McAuliffe has allied himself with those who support causes like Critical Race Theory, defunding the police, and open borders. “Terry McAuliffe needs to be asked if he will disavow the support of his other liberal allies who support a radical agenda,” Landrith said. “Our spot shows these issues and provides back-up about them, including Critical Race Theory teaching ugly anti-American falsehoods to school children, defund[ing] the police… the illegal immigration crisis and influx of MS-13 gangs in Northern Virginia, the persecution of Catholic religious orders, and ACLU anti-religious extremism and attacks on Church tax deductions.”
Frontiers of Freedom and other like-minded groups insist the ad campaign will expose the radical leftist agenda embraced by Democrats such as McAuliffe, which has remained unacknowledged by much of the mainstream media. By underscoring McAuliffe’s support for largely unknown progressive initiatives like the eradication of single-family home zoning and attacks on religious liberty—both of which are relatively new fronts for Democrats—Frontiers of Freedom believes the ad could cause anxiety and collapse in the opposition.
McAuliffe’s largely unreported ambition to weed out America’s suburbs comes in the wake of a handful of blue state legislative measures that have effectively abolished single-family zoning (most recently in California). Like President Joe Biden and many in his party, McAuliffe’s plan relies on the nebulous and deceitful language of “systemic racism” as grounds for his sweeping anti-suburbia plans: by “spearheading zoning reform,” his campaign website underhandedly states, McAuliffe will “fight systemic racism and promote Black and Brown homeownership”—even though, as the ad states, the plan is opposed by “the majority of blacks and Hispanics—once shut out of single-family neighborhoods—who now want the right to live in one.”
In addition, the ad campaign is noticeably aimed at African American voters’ discontent with the far-left policy platform being pushed by Democrats: in addition to presenting images of African American families who could be disenfranchised by McAuliffe’s zoning plan, it features a clip of an August 2020 Wall Street Journal op-ed co-authored by former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson and former President Donald Trump warning of the Democrats’ anti-suburban initiatives.
“Virginians need to ask McAuliffe why he endorses the Biden-Schumer-Pelosi plan that has already been enacted in some places like California and Minnesota that would permit federal bureaucrats to dictate to local towns and cities and destroy the American dream of single-family neighborhoods,” said Landrith.
As Election Day nears and polls continue to tighten, the ad has the potential to bolster turnout for Youngkin by surfacing broadly unheard-of issues being pushed by McAuliffe and others in the Democrat camp.
Should it succeed, Landrith’s strategy could prove instrumental in helping a Republican get elected statewide in Virginia for the first time since 2009.
A conservative nonprofit is targeting former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s (D) housing proposals in a lengthy television ad, warning the former governor will “destroy the American dream of a single-family home” should he be elected again.
Frontiers of Freedom purchased the two-minute ad to run on local news stations in the densely blue D.C.-Northern Virginia region Sunday night through the end of the week as the competitive race between McAuliffe and Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin comes down to its final few weeks.
“Under the McAuliffe plan, federal bureaucrats would dictate to local towns and cities, cramming apartment complexes into single-family neighborhoods,” the ad’s narrator states.
“Terry McAuliffe’s threat to the suburbs is no exaggeration. The Biden-Pelosi-Schumer-McAuliffe plan is already underway,” the narrator adds, citing California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) recent initiative to make building multifamily housing in single-family zones easier.
McAuliffe’s housing plan includes increasing government-subsidized housing and “zoning reforms” and notes McAuliffe will “work to fight systemic racism and promote Black and Brown homeownership.”
Frontiers of Freedom’s ad states that a majority of black and Hispanic Americans — “once shut out of single-family neighborhoods who now want the right to live in one” — oppose reducing single-family zoning in the wake of leftist charges that single-family zoning is “highly segregated” and ought to be corrected with government intervention.
The ad also features an image of former Virginia Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy (D), one of two black women who were vying for the Democrat gubernatorial nomination this year but were shut out upon McAuliffe entering the Democrat primary as McAuliffe became an immediate frontrunner and ultimately won the nomination by a landslide.
The narrator describes McAuliffe, who has long been a prolific Democrat fundraiser and close ally of the Clinton family, as a “Clinton-era grifter, Wall Street money mover, pushing aside young leadership [features image of Foy] in his own party to help extremist climate liberals who hate the suburbs.”
In this April 6, 2021, file photo, Democrat gubernatorial candidate Virginia Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy prepares for a debate at Virginia Sate University in Petersburg, Virginia. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
In this April 6, 2021, file photo, Democrat gubernatorial candidate Virginia Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy prepares for a debate at Virginia Sate University in Petersburg, Virginia. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
The ad premiered on Fox affiliate WTTG’s 10 p.m. newscast on Sunday. Frontiers of Freedom President George Landrith noted of the ad length, “These are not 30 second attack ads that try to manipulate people, but heavily informative narrative ads that tell the story of Terry McAuliffe’s extremist views and plans.”
Landrith added the “TV spot asserts that McAuliffe is ‘the chosen candidate of the media and tech giants’ and that Virginians must ask him the questions the liberal media will not.”
Column: Education, immigration, and densification
So this is what it feels like to live in a lab experiment. As a native Virginian, I’ve watched my state come full circle. The last time Democrats enjoyed the amount of power in the Old Dominion that they won on Tuesday, I was entering middle school in Fairfax County.
In 1993 the governor was a Democrat, one of two U.S. senators was a Democrat, Democrats held 7 of 11 House seats, and Democrats controlled both the House of Delegates and the state Senate. Next year, the governor will be a Democrat, both U.S. senators will be Democrats, Democrats will hold 7 of 11 House seats, and Democrats will control both the House of Delegates and the state Senate. Hardly anything has changed. Except for the Commonwealth itself.
President Trump so dominates the popular imagination that every election result is described in relation to his job approval and conduct in office. Trump is unpopular in Virginia, and suburban voters are eager to rebuke him at the polls. But the story of this particular Democratic winning streak is less about Trump than it is about long-running demographic and cultural transformation. He catalyzed changes decades in the making.
The former capital of the Confederacy is now a hub of highly educated professionals, immigrants, and liberals whose values are contrary to those of an increasingly downscale, religious, and rural GOP. Democrats continue to benefit from the shift in the college-educated population toward progressivism. Not only are Republicans increasingly bereft of a language in which to talk to these voters. They may be incapable of doing so. The two sides occupy different realities.
Virginia has followed broader trends of enrichment, immigration, and densification. John Warner’s election to the U.S. Senate in 1978 was an early sign of the Republican revival in the South. The election of 1993, which brought George Allen to the governor’s mansion, was a preview of the Republican Revolution the following year. In 2000, Allen joined Warner in the Senate.
For the next year, the governor and both U.S. senators were Republicans. Then Mark Warner won the governor’s mansion, then Jim Webb defeated Allen, then Warner replaced Warner (confusing, I know), and except for a brief appearance by Governor Bob McDonnell, Democrats have held all statewide offices since.
Over the last 29 years, Virginia has become wealthier, more diverse, and more crowded. The population has grown by 42 percent, from 6 million in 1990 to 8.5 million. Population density has increased by 38 percent, from 156 people per square mile to 215. Mean travel time to work has increased from 24 minutes to 28 minutes. The median home price (in 2018 dollars) has gone from $169,000 to $256,000. Density equals Democrats.
The number of Virginians born overseas has skyrocketed from 5 percent to 12 percent. The Hispanic population has gone from 3 percent to 10 percent. The Asian community has grown from 2 percent to 7 percent. In 1990, 7 percent of people 5 years and older spoke a language other than English at home. In 2018 the number was 16 percent.
If educational attainment is a proxy for class, Virginia has undergone bourgeoisification. The number of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher has shot up from 25 percent of the state to 38 percent. As baccalaureates multiplied, they swapped partisan affiliation. Many of the Yuppies of the 80s, Bobos of the 90s, and Security Moms of the ’00s now march in the Resistance.
Nationwide, “In 1994, 39 percent of those with a four-year college degree (no postgraduate experience) identified with or leaned toward the Democratic Party and 54 percent associated with the Republican Party,” according to the Pew Research Center. “In 2017, those figures were exactly reversed.” Last year, college graduates favored Senator Kaine over challenger Cory Stewart by 20 points.
All of these developments are more pronounced in the most important part of the state: northern Virginia. Fairfax County has grown from 800,000 people to 1.1 million. The percentage of foreign-born residents has gone from 16 percent in 1990 to 31 percent in 2018. The number of Hispanics has more than doubled from 6 percent to 16 percent. The number of Asians has almost tripled from 8 percent to 20 percent.
Slightly less than half of Fairfax County residents held a bachelor’s degree or higher in 1990. Now that number is 61 percent. The median home price has gone from $225,000 to $535,000. In 1992, George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot won a combined 58 percent in Fairfax. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won 64 percent of the vote.
When I was growing up, Loudoun County was considered a rural area disconnected from the rhythms of the Beltway. In the years since, its population has exploded from 86,000 people to 407,000. The percentage of foreign-born residents has gone from 6 percent to 24 percent. A county population that was 3 percent Hispanic and 2 percent Asian is 14 percent Hispanic and 20 percent Asian. The percentage of the county with a bachelor’s degree or higher has gone from 33 percent to 60 percent. Loudoun is the richest county in America. Fairfax is second. In 1992, Bill Clinton won 35 percent of the vote in Loudoun County. Twenty-four years later, his wife won 55 percent.
As Virginia has moved into the Democratic column, the state Republican Party has become more populist, more nationalist, and more culturally conservative. The dwindling number of Republicans who spoke the language of suburbia could not escape their party’s national reputation for hostility to immigrants and opposition to progressive ideals. A similar process occurred in states like California, Colorado, and Nevada. It may also be underway in Arizona and Texas (!).
Virginia became a blue state as the world celebrated the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The political development of the Commonwealth is emblematic of America in the post-Cold War world. The Republican Party found it no longer could count on unwavering support from the upscale college-educated white voters who once made up its base. The cultural churn produced by a migrant-driven, globalized, information-based economy gave suburban America a different population, with a different structure of values, which looks upon social conservatives as ambassadors from Mars.
The GOP has a path to the presidency and to congressional majorities. But it does not go through my old Virginia home.
In Virginia, since 2010, driving more than 10 miles per hour (mph) over the top speed limit can get you charged with a criminal reckless driving and land you in jail for up to a year and fined up to $2,500. This is a textbook case of over-criminalization and is an abuse of governmental power. You read that right. Virginia’s top speed limit is 70 mph on interstates. But by law, driving over 80 mph can get you charged with criminal reckless driving — just 10 mph over the posted speed limit. Simply stated, driving with the flow of traffic on an interstate makes you a criminal in Virginia. That’s nuts!
I wrote about this issue several months ago and pointed out that someone driving more than 10 mph over the speed limit may well expect a speeding ticket and appropriate fine. But no one expects to receive a one year jail term and thousands in criminal fines. Continue reading