A CNN reporter interviewed four Virginia suburban moms who voted for Glenn Youngkin last week. Three of the four had voted for Joe Biden last year. It’s not clear whether the fourth voted for Trump. However, she did say that this year, for the first time ever, she put up a yard sign favoring a candidate — Youngkin.
The statements of four women handpicked by CNN don’t necessarily reflect the views of Virginia’s suburban moms. However, a reader with a good pulse on what parents in Northern Virginia have to say tells me that CNN’s clip accurately portrays the views of many suburban parents he knows who supported Biden in 2020 but voted for Youngkin in 2021.
Accordingly, I believe it’s worth considering what the four had to say.
All four women said their vote was driven by the issue of education. More specifically, it was driven by the lengthy school closures and the perception that Democrats weren’t listening to parents concerned about the closures and, as importantly, the need to fill the resulting learning gap now that schools are open.
CRT was not a factor in how they voted, at least not directly. However, the treatment of parents who raised concerns about curriculum may well have tied into the view that Dems don’t care what parents think.
The four parents dismissed the notion that congressional inaction on the two big spending bills played any part in their decision to vote for Youngkin. This tends to confirm what we’ve said all along about the matter on Power Line.
The parents cited three irritants that affected their thinking about the race, two of which related to the education issue. They were more than miffed when Terry McAuliffe brought in Randi Weingarten at the end of the campaign. The parents blame Weingarten’s union for the extended school closures.
The parents also resented Barack Obama’s claim that “we don’t have time” for the kinds of issues Youngkin was raising. This statement bolstered the parents’ view that Democrats lack interest in their concerns.
Finally, McAuliffe’s constant attempts to tie Youngkin to Donald Trump were off-putting. The four parents have no use for Trump, but want to move past him and focus on their policy concerns. They viewed McAuliffe’s invocations of Trump as an attempt to distract voters.
At one level, the thoughts of these parents provide a bit of comfort for Democrats. School closures, in all likelihood, will recede as an issue. Democrats can nominate candidates who will listen, or pretend to listen, to parents. They can make sure that Randi Weingarten doesn’t campaign for them. And so forth.
However, if the four parents’ comments are representative, they show, at a minimum, that the suburbs are up for grabs. The powerful anti-Trump reaction of 2020 does not presage a realignment.
Moreover, the fact that education seems paramount to suburban moms may give Republicans an edge going forward. School closures will probably cease to be an issue, but the Dems won’t stop doing the bidding of teachers unions. As new education issues arise, and ones like CRT and bathrooms persist, Democrats seem more likely than Republicans to get on the wrong side of parents due to (1) their innate hard leftism and (2) their links with teachers unions and left-wing activists.
The final takeaway from the parents’ comments is that Trump remains poison with moms in the Virginia suburbs. Although all four thought that Trump was irrelevant to the gubernatorial race, their ongoing contempt for the man was obvious. His irrelevance was due to the fact that he wasn’t on the ballot.
Here’s the CNN video: