(PresidentialWire.com)- In 2018, the Democrats poured millions into suburban swing districts, hell-bent on flipping Republican seats to the Democrats. And they succeeded beyond their wildest expectations. As a result, suburban voters, especially women, became a key voting bloc for the Democrats in the 2020 presidential election.
And in their decision to target parents of school-age children, the Democrats are poised to lose the gains they made less than four years ago.
This is playing out right now in the Virginia governor’s race.
Democrat Terry McAuliffe enjoyed a comfortable lead over his Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin until McAuliffe stepped on a landmine during a televised debate and completely dismissed the rising battle on parental influence in schools.
Terry McAuliffe: "I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach." pic.twitter.com/7S15pTv1gY
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) September 28, 2021
Unlike McAuliffe, Glenn Youngkin recognized just how significant an issue parents’ rights was. And Virginia voters noticed.
According to Richmond.com, the Youngkin campaign’s decision to highlight the scandal in Loudoun County, as well as advocate for parental involvement in schools, has been a smart one. Suburban areas, the very areas Democrats fought so hard to flip, are beginning to shift toward Youngkin.
Even Democrat voters, who just last year cast a vote for Joe Biden, are getting behind McAuliffe’s Republican challenger.
Emily is a lifelong Democrat. She voted for Terry McAuliffe 8 years ago, and Joe Biden last year.
— Glenn Youngkin (@GlennYoungkin) October 27, 2021
And McAuliffe’s comfortable lead vanished. The most recent Monmouth University poll shows Youngkin and McAuliffe tied at 46 percent. And according to Patrick Murray, director of Monmouth University Polling, “something has happened in the last few weeks among suburban women.” Murray believes that Youngkin’s focus on schools is definitely working and McAuliffe was “unwise” to blow off the issue of parents’ rights.
And it certainly isn’t helping to have former President Barack Obama, while campaigning for McAuliffe over the weekend, dismiss the concerns around schools:
Former President @BarackObama: "We don't have time to be wasted on these phony trumped-up culture wars, this fake outrage, the right-wing media's pedals to juice their ratings." pic.twitter.com/bmMnet8q5X
— The Hill (@thehill) October 23, 2021
The Monmouth poll showed that, in just one month, “education and schools” had overtaken COVID-19 as a top factor motivating Virginia voters’ choice of candidate.
As Monmouth’s Patrick Murray explained, suburban women, primarily in deep blue Northern Virginia, were crucial to the Democrats’ flipping the state blue. But their support is nowhere near as sizeable this time around.
The question is, will Republicans follow Glenn Youngkin’s lead and prioritize parents’ rights and education? The signs thus far indicate that they are. And if they do, 2022 could see those districts, that Democrats spent so much money to flip blue in 2018, flip right back to red again.