Obama to Virginia Voters on Governor’s Race: Don’t “Indulge In Our Worst Instincts”

Former President Barack Obama had scorching phrases for Virginians on Saturday when he cast the state’s upcoming race for governor as an opportunity to “present the nation and the world that we’re not going to bask in our worst instincts.” Addressing some 2,000 folks in Richmond, Obama urged voters to help Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate (and the state’s governor from 2014 to 2018), who’s deadlocked with Trump-endorsed Republican Glenn Youngkin. Youngkin, a former personal fairness govt, refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of President Joe Biden’s election for months and has made “election integrity” a focal point of his marketing campaign—an strategy shared by many Trump loyalists vying for different positions elsewhere. “We don’t have time to be drained. What’s required is sustained effort,” Obama stated. “Don’t sit this one out.”

The tightening gubernatorial race in Virginia is seen as a harbinger for subsequent yr’s midterm elections, which explains why Democratic heavyweights corresponding to Obama, Vice President Kamala Harris, and first girl Jill Biden have stumped for McAuliffe. (The president is expected to do the identical within the coming days.) Virginia’s election has turn out to be the “newest proxy battle towards Trumpism,” my colleague Eric Lutz has noted. Obama evoked such stakes on Saturday in his name to motion. “Both [Youngkin] really believes in the identical conspiracy theories that resulted in a mob, or he doesn’t consider it however he’s keen to associate with it, to say or do something to get elected. And possibly that’s worse…as a result of that claims one thing about character,” Obama stated. 

The Washington Submit Editorial Board additionally cited character as a take a look at Youngkin has already failed by parroting former President Donald Trump’s baseless lies concerning the 2020 election. “At a second when democracy itself is beneath assault, Mr. Youngkin selected to dignify a basic fiction that’s subverting our system, reasonably than get up squarely for the reality,” stated the Submit. Along with selling Trump’s Huge Lie, Youngkin has seized on culture-war issues in his try to show the state crimson, making an attempt to faucet into some parents’ anger over progressive schooling curriculums and COVID-19 insurance policies corresponding to masks utilization. He has repeatedly claimed, together with in a latest ad, that the “FBI is making an attempt to silence mother and father.” Obama on Saturday decried Youngkin for “keen to go alongside” with “this faux outrage that proper wing media has peddled to juice their rankings.” 

Youngkin’s technique might have larger implications nationwide: Weaponizing what he portrays as authorities interference in colleges might—if it really works—define a method for GOP campaigns somewhere else, Politico notes. “If it succeeds right here, you recognize each Republican congressional candidate in 2022 goes to select that sucker up and run with it,” Ron Wright, a member of the Virginia state GOP’s central committee, informed the outlet.

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