Nothing motivates conservative Democrats like an excuse for inaction, and Virginia’s sucker punch of a gubernatorial election Tuesday night offered a golden opportunity for them to pump the legislative brakes.
Let’s own the bad news: after an increasingly vitriolic campaign centered around the bogeyman of “Critical Race Theory,” Republican Glenn Youngkin beat Democrat and former Governor Terry McAuliffe to end what has been a successful and effective streak of Democratic victories in the Old Dominion dating back nearly a decade. In the race to place blame, the centrists zeroed in on their left flank.
To a progressive, it feels like many centrist Democrats spent the past few weeks quietly hoping McAuliffe would lose — or at least scrape soberingly close to a loss. With McAuliffe’s defeat sure to turn Democratic jitters into a full-on 2022 panic, centrists are racing to shift blame onto progressives even if that narrative makes no actual sense.