The "Unlikely" Issue Facing Democrats

This is a transcript from my radio show. You can listen live here.

One of the greatest advantages Republicans have right now is the media and Democrats are in such a bubble that they are constantly caught off guard to issues. Earlier, I was talking about the Democrats' proposal that allows the IRS to get data on any bank account, Venmo account, cash app account, credit union account, you name it, where there is $600 worth of transactions. In talking about that, it generated so many phone calls it was like we were talking about Obamacare back in 2010 or Common Core just a few years ago. People care passionately about this issue.


This is an issue that catches the Democrats off guard because it's not something that Democrats pay attention to because everyone they know agrees with them and thinks it's a fine idea. They don't realize that there's a voter rebellion coming, because they don't know any voters against the idea. It's like Pauline Kael, the critic from the New York Times, who was shocked when she woke up to Richard Nixon's reelection because nobody she knew voted for Richard Nixon. How could this be? The media is in the same bubble. They're all Pauline Kael these days.

Last year, it was defund the police. We spent a year watching small businesses protest to reopen and the media condemned them. Then you had the George Floyd protests where people were in the streets without masks on and the media said it was more important than a virus. “It's your civil right. Burn that business down. It's not violence. They have insurance. The fiery, but mostly peaceful protests.” They never saw the backlash coming and the backlash came.

Again, Republicans were expected to be wiped out. Republicans were expected to lose state legislatures and governors’ mansions. They not only didn't, but they picked some up along the way. They came within a few seats of picking up the House of Representatives when everyone’s polling said a Democratic wave was coming. They came very close. They would have held onto the Senate except for the Republicans in Georgia had given up. The media never saw it coming. The Democrats never saw it coming. The media and the Democrats feed off of each other and in so doing, they get blindsided.

So let me read you a headline. This is from the New York Times. The Unlikely Issue Shaping the Virginia Governor's Race. The unlikely, unlikely issue. What do you think that issue is? It's unlikely. If it's an unlikely issue, it's an issue you didn't see coming. It's an issue nobody expected. What is the issue? Schools.

The headline: The Unlikely Issue Shaping the Virginia Governor's Race: Schools. Sub-headline: Virginia Republicans in a tight governor's race have been staging “Parents Matter” rallies and tapping into conservative anger over mandates and critical race theory. Only the left would think this issue is unlikely.

During the lockdowns, local school boards in North Virginia condemned parents for hiring tutors last year. When schools were shut down last year in Virginia, wealthier parents, black and white, hired tutors for their kids. In a lot of cases, the parents pooled their money and the tutors tutored lots of kids at one time. In many well-documented cases, conscientious parents realized there are other kids in the class who can't afford a tutor so they invited them over and took care of the tutor themselves. Some groups of parents decided to pool their money together so that everyone shared the cost of a tutor. The school boards condemned them.

To make matters worse they kept the schools shut down. Parents were exposed to what their kids were learning through Zoom calls while they worked and the school boards were unapologetic. Then they went back to school, and even the kindergartners were forced to put masks on. For a while there, they didn't know they were going to have school and the kids were behind. Then it turns out, the schools in Virginia, despite Terry McAuliffe denying it, had been teaching Critical Race Theory.

They'd been teaching the kids CRT when they come back to school and the parents heard it. The parents were on the Zoom calls. They weren't teaching kids to read. They weren't teaching kids to write. They weren't teaching kids math. They were teaching kids that they're victims or victimizers. They weren't teaching American history. They were teaching repackaged 1619 nonsense and parents started showing up at school boards. The school boards reacted nastily to having parents show up and tell them how to do their jobs.

At a debate, Terry McAuliffe said he didn't believe parents should be able to tell schools how to do their jobs. They should not be allowed to go to school boards and protest. It's offensive to him that anyone would go to the school board and tell the schools that they shouldn't be teaching Critical Race Theory, or pushing the schools to reopen, or saying their elementary school kids shouldn't have to wear masks. McAuliffe has doubled down on all of this.

Now the New York Times believes that this issue is an unlikely issue. Have they not paid attention?

This is Lisa Lerer in the New York Times:

As a lifelong Republican in her home state of Virginia, Tammy Yoder faithfully cast her ballot for those who want to lower taxes, oppose abortion and back other conservative causes. But the issue that transformed Ms. Yoder, a stay-at-home mother, from a reliable voter to the kind of person who brings three young children to an evening campaign rally wasn't her Christian values or her pocketbook. It was something even more personal, she said. What her children learn in school. 'The last year has revealed a ton to me,' said Ms. Yoder, 41 as she waited in the Northern Virginia exurb for speech by Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate for governor. 'The more I've listened and paid attention, the more I see what's happening in schools and on college campuses. And the stuff I see, I don't want corrupting my children.'

From fights over evolution to desegregation to prayer, education battles have been a staple of the country's divisive cultural issues for decades. But not quite like this. After months of closed classrooms and lost learning time, Republicans in Virginia are making the schools the focus of their final push to capture the governor's office, hoping to rally conservatives around both their frustrations over mask mandates and mandatory vaccinations, and their fears of what their children are being taught. Vocal groups of parents, some led by Republican activists, are organizing against school curricula, opposing public health measures, and calling for recalls of school board members.

Mr. Youngkin, a former private equity executive, has capitalized, seizing on conservatives' concerns about instruction on race and the rights of transgender children to argue that Democrats want to come between parents and their children's education. Mr. Youngkin's attacks have forced Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic former governor trying to win back his old job, onto the defense, and have thrust the ordinarily local issues surrounding schools into the middle of a rancorous nationwide shouting match. The Virginia race offers an early electoral test of that conservative energy.

That's why the Democrats are paying attention now. They're scared and they should be. Polling in Virginia from CBS News shows the number one issue for 65% of voters is education. This is an issue that is blowing up against the Democrats. Now, I don't need to reread for you the New York Times story, I'll just reread the subheading. Virginia Republicans in a tight governor's race have been staging “Parents Matter” rallies and tapping into conservative anger.

Virginia is not 65% conservative. It's become a blue state. Yet the New York Times focuses on lifelong Republicans and Republican rallies. But that's not the reality on the ground. The reality on the ground is there are way more than just Republicans mad about this.

The Democrats and the media can't help themselves because they are spun up in the same bubble. They don't realize it's an issue, or they have realized too late. Terry McAuliffe is running in Virginia and he's trying to tie Glenn Youngkin to Donald Trump. They're actually putting up signs, “Youngkin equals Trump.” They're spreading them around Virginia. As if voters care. I saw two CNN reporters last night and a Washington Post reporter today positively giddy that Steve Bannon held a rally for Republicans in Virginia. Glenn Youngkin wasn't there, but by God, they'd pulled all of their might into tying Youngkin to it, including, Donald Trump who called in and endorsed Glenn Youngkin.

What Youngkin is doing is based on what happened in Georgia last year. Raphael Warnock ran for Senate last year and is a far left progressive. He ran these happy pictures of him with puppies and kids. It was all happy and positive. “How can these people say Warnock's a bad guy? Look at him with the puppies, look at him with the kids.” They were very affable ads. The Republicans tried to paint him as a socialist, communist, anti-American, who hates moms and apple pies. Independent voters liked the positive ads. Youngkin's doing the same thing.

Terry McAuliffe's saying, “he's Trump, he's bad!” And Youngkin's like, “I love my kids. I love my family. I love my neighborhood. I love Virginia.” It's really hard to demonize that guy. He's barely even talked about the issues. In fact, I was criticizing him months ago saying he's not talking about the issues. Oh, he's talking about the issues now because he's talking about schools and education. Parents are pissed off and their school boards are coming after the parents and treating the parents as bad guys.

This is where the New York Times and the Democrats get it wrong and this is how the Republicans are making inroads in a blue state like Virginia. They've convinced themselves it's just Republicans and conservatives who are worried about education. It's like when they convinced themselves last year that only white conservatives were opposed to defunding the police. Turns out, black families really don't want the police defunded. But they're in a bubble and they don't know. The progressives have surrounded themselves with each other and give each other atta-boys and say, “this doesn't matter, it's just Fox News.” Except the parents showing up at the school board meetings and now showing up at the Youngkin rallies read the New York Times and watch CNN and give money to Democrats. Yet, they're voting for Glenn Youngkin.

To quote the New York Times, "The Virginia race offers an early electoral test of conservative energy." The problem is not the conservative energy. The problem is the pissed-off independents who are going to vote with the conservatives because they're tired of the Democrats using schools, not to teach kids, but to indoctrinate kids. Virginia will find out how much hell the Democrats will have to pay for doing that. The worst part is they're not going to be able to change in a year. They're not going to be able to turn that ship around and they're going to be stuck with the results. They will see doom coming if it goes bad for Terry McAuliffe, and they won't be able to do anything about it.