Virginia and the Spirit of ’21

Republicans swept the top statewide offices in Virginia, with Glenn Youngkin set to become the 74th governor of Virginia; Winsome Sears set to become lieutenant governor; and Jason Miyares as attorney general. To date, Virginia is also looking at a 52-48 majority in the House of Delegates.

Much has been said about the issues that propelled this victory for Republicans, but something should be said about the mechanics of the win as well.

To accomplish these victories, the Virginia Federation of Republican Women’s (VFRW) and the National Federation of Republican Women’s (NFRW) Strike Force targeted vulnerable areas, especially in Fairfax County and Virginia Beach, to increase key percentages of Republican voters. According to the Virginia Board of Elections data, the GOP made strides in the total number of Republican ballots cast in Fairfax County, gaining at least 3 percent over the 2017 gubernatorial election. Loudoun County additionally exceeded these percentages by 8 percent over last year and 5 percent over 2017. Virginia Beach and Chesapeake were flipped to red with 53.8 percent and 52.7 percent Republican registration respectively. According to vpap.org, voter participation surged in 2021 with a 15 percent increase over 2017 in the percentage of registered voters who cast ballots. These improvements made an impact on the overall totals that pushed our statewide candidates to the finish line.

Concerned parents and citizens rallied and spoke at public forums and meetings about education and law enforcement when asked, often at the last minute, to give visible and vocal opposition to local, state, and federal government policies run amok. Some rallied outside the walls of the Department of Justice or White House. Our suburban members, especially moms and dads of K-12 students, made the difference. These acts are nothing short of heroic in the face of personal targeting, scorn, and risk of investigation. This all-out bravery is an example to the nation.

Citizens were motivated to make calls, knock on doors, persuade family, friends and neighbors to vote Republican, put up yard signs, donate to candidates, and staff the polls as election officers and poll watchers for the 45-day election season. These efforts left the Democrats overwhelmed, and made all the difference in our victory.

Glenn Youngkin generously provided leadership and resources to our impressive field of House of Delegates candidates. This partnership enabled candidates to aggressively campaign to boost voter turnout which ultimately brought victories for our statewide candidates.

There is now a deep bench of strong candidates for future races. Virginia Republicans can be proud that no delegate seat went uncontested.

The Left is reeling in disbelief because they are out of touch with the average voter. Terry McAuliffe’s remark during the September 28th gubernatorial debate that “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach” was not the only factor to turn the tide of this election. Yet McAuliffe did unravel himself by showing the Democrats’ true agenda. Some Democrats are saying that they need to reset because their woke agenda is not penetrating. This is the crux of why the Democrats lost. It is not a failure to respond to their poor marketing; it is a rejection of their leftist message. 

The Democrats truly believe they should tell voters what to do and what to think. Former President Barack Obama selected issues for voters such as abortion, climate change, and voting rights during his 30-second endorsement ad, titled “Our Values.” Whose values are those? They didn’t listen to the cries of everyday working people who want good jobs, lower taxes, a better handling of COVID issues, less intrusive government, good education, and a stop to using our children as political guinea pigs. We are a Commonwealth and nation in crisis, and do not have the option or luxury of picking our issues à la carte.

Glenn Youngkin and other Republican candidates met with groups across the Commonwealth listening and responding directly to the sincere pleas from parents and putting their interests ahead of the bureaucracy, school board associations, and teachers’ unions. The campaign slogan “parents matter” equates to “we the people” matter. This was an election about the consent of the governed.

The Virginia victory is also a referendum on Joe Biden’s unsteady and wandering leadership, syntax, and policies that are teetering on chaos with a 54 percent disapproval rating, according to Fox News and CNN. The Democrats’ obsessive attempts to malign Glenn Youngkin with the spectre of Donald Trump did not work. Trying to make Youngkin repudiate Trump did not work either. In fact, the red counties in Southwest Virginia, such as Tazewell, came through with percentages as high as 85 percent for Republicans.

Glenn Youngkin led the top of our ticket by swiftly responding to the false claims and outright lies of the Democrats. Democrats are not used to the one-two punch-back which led to an election knock out. In standing up to Democrats, Youngkin clearly showed Virginians that he is not afraid to fight for us.

MSNBC’s sloppy analysis by guest host Tiffany Cross on Wednesday’s edition of “The ReidOut” tried to argue that McAuliffe’s defeat by Youngkin shows “a good chunk of voters out there are OK with white supremacy.” This is how Democrats operate. If we win, it is because of racism; if we lose, it is because of racism. Everything they don’t like is because of racism.

Virginians clearly are fed up with that false narrative. It does not hold water. The Latino support in Virginia increased from 36 percent for Trump in 2020 to 55 percent for Youngkin in 2021. Additionally, the Hampton Roads Black Caucus endorsed the Youngkin campaign

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Similarly, Winsome Sears’ acceptance speech rejects this narrative. “When I joined the Marine Corp, I was still a Jamaican. But this country had done so much for me, I was willing, willing to die for this country . . . There are some who want to divide us, and we must not let that happen. They would like us to believe we are in 1963, when my father came. 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 said her motto is found in Psalms 133, v 1, “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity.” 

Virginia Republicans have a message of unity, while the Virginia Democrats continue to divide us according to race, socio-economic conditions, class, and sex.

Most importantly, Glenn Youngkin harkens back to the true nature of our founding with a vision of American equality that is hopeful and pure, pointing us to our inalienable rights divined from Nature’s God that recognize we are all created equal and entitled to self-government. He articulated that we are the party of capitalism, limited government, liberty, freedom, law and order, and keeping with our Constitution. 

Jason Miyares, the attorney general-elect, pointed out as he concluded his stump speeches and commercials that the first stanza of our National Anthem ends with a question mark. “Are we still the land of the free and home of the brave?” Virginians answered that question and sang the second stanza with their votes asserting that Virginia is still, indeed, a land and home of free and brave people, exclamation point! 

The prelude to many of Glenn Youngkin’s campaign speeches was “Spirit in the Sky,” by Norman Greenbaun. Whether you believe this is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of ’76 or another spirit, it is definitely a movement that is sweeping across our nation. This election season, Virginians stood against those who seek to destroy our chances of greatness as individuals and a nation. We are not finished yet, but we made a significant leap forward on November 2.  Despite the despair of our COVID oppression, Virginians are now looking forward to hope and change that are not empty words.  The difference this time is that there is a plan on day one.

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About Paula Steiner

Paula Steiner is president of the Virginia Federation of Republican Women and has more than 20 years experience working in government on the federal and state levels.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images