By Matt Carpenter
With early voting already underway and election day just 35 days away, Virginians are paying attention to the closing arguments of their two candidates for governor: Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin. Just last night, the two candidates met for their second debate to square off one last time before hitting the campaign trail in their final get out the vote efforts. With polling showing a tightening race, this race is considered by many to be the first real test of where the electorate is ahead of the upcoming midterms. With the national parties pouring millions of dollars into the races in the final stages and hoping to claim momentum heading into the 2022 midterms, it's safe to say a lot is on the line come November 2 in the Old Dominion state.
Considering that in recent months Virginia has become a beehive of activity from concerned parents about the presence of racially-charged, discriminatory, and anti-biblical critical race theory in their public K-12 schools, you would think both candidates would want to reflect the concerns of parents who wonder why something so nefarious would be thrust upon their impressionable children. These parents represent a growing unease among parents in the state -- and nation -- that their schools feel emboldened to preach "wokeness" to children.
Despite the widespread concerns of Virginia parents, McAuliffe told Virginia's parents during yesterday's debate that he doesn't think they "should be telling schools what they should teach." In essence, McAuliffe is telling Virginia's parents that their beliefs, intentions, and dreams for their children should take a back seat to the state's liberal education establishment, and their woke stakeholders. Youngkin made the most of McAuliffe's misstep -- or Freudian slip -- and reassured Virginia's parents that he would make sure they have a voice in their child's education. He also pointed out McAuliffe vetoed legislation that would have informed parents regarding sexually explicit material in their schools when he was governor.
The contrast between the two is clear: McAuliffe thinks progressive ideology should be imposed on students, while Youngkin thinks parents should have the right to direct what their children learn. On abortion and vaccine mandates, the candidates offer voters more contrast. On vaccine mandates, McAuliffe wants more of them and doesn't mind shortages of health care workers fired for choosing not to get the vaccine, while Youngkin doesn't want employment shortages in the state, particularly in health care, because voters want the freedom to choose to take the vaccine or not. McAuliffe touted his destructive and dangerous pro-abortion policies as governor, while Youngkin, rightfully, pointed out McAuliffe's policies are extreme and promised a more pro-life approach.
As Virginians make their way to the polls to vote early, or to vote in-person, it's clear this race will put Virginia on one of two paths: one that has no problem canceling parental rights, pushing abortion on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy on the taxpayer dime, and forcing a self-inflicted labor shortage because many workers will choose not to get the COVID vaccine; or, one that values parental rights, tamps down on abortion extremism in Richmond, and respects the private health care decisions of Virginians.
Recently, Cook Political Report adjusted their rating of the race from "Lean Democrat" to "toss-up," and now there are stories about the White House already worrying what a McAuliffe loss would mean for the Biden administration going into the midterms. If you are a Virginia resident make sure you're registered to vote, and click here for a voter guide. Get out and vote, Virginia. It's time to send a message.