Glenn Youngkin – Republican nominee for Governor of Virginia – began talking to local media in his new role this week. He immediately gave Democrats an opening – if they know how to use it (WAVY 10 ).
We asked Youngkin if he believed Biden’s win was legitimate.
“He’s our president,” answered Youngkin. “Joe Biden is our president and we have to move forward.”
In other words, Youngkin – attempting to split the difference between truth and lies – couldn’t bring himself to answer, “yes.” Just to ensure the dog-whistle is heard loud and clear, he’s been “emphasizing election integrity.”
Never mind that last year’s election went off in Virginia without any voter fraud – not that there was fraud anywhere else … at least not from Democrats (Forbes ). If Democrats were looking for a way to motivate their base this fall, they have one now – if they make it clear why this is a problem.
Republicans are desperately hoping that Donald Trump will fade into the background. Of course, he hasn’t gotten the memo (Salon ); he’s planning rallies and insisting the election was stolen from him. Will that be enough for Democrats to get their candidates over the line in the Commonwealth? If we’re forced to answer that question, something is very, very wrong with the Democratic campaign.
Instead, Democrats need to remind voters what Republicans too scared to admit Trump lost fair and square are doing in states they control – things like the hideous Georgia Voting Wrongs Act .
Democrats need to ask Youngkin, his ticket-mates, and every Republican running for House of Delegates if they’re prepared to suppress that vote in the way their Georgian, Texan, and Iowa counterparts have done. They need to make sure every candidate not willing to say “no” is lambasted throughout the summer and fall.
However, one of the biggest problems with the GVWA is how the GOP, using its legislative majority, seized control of the state election apparatus from the elected Secretary of State and gave itself the power to replace local election boards as well. The Virginia Republicans don’t need a law for that. If Youngkin wins, Republicans control the State Board of Elections and every single local election board – meaning the shenanigans that nearly sank Michigan’s count could come to a local courthouse or city hall near you.
Remember, every Republican Congressman from Virginia voted not to accept the results of the presidential election – mere hours after a violent mob tried to stop the count from happening.
Now, the idea of a local election board trying to play around with the counting of votes was outlandish … until Donald Trump demanded Michigan local boards do just that.
Would a Youngkin Administration encourage honest behavior or Trumpian behavior?
An excellent proxy question for that is the one Youngkin refused to answer: if he believed Biden’s win was legitimate.
What Democrats need to make clear to voters is this: a Republican Party in control of the Board of Elections cannot be trusted to count the votes fairly – especially if led by a Governor who refuses to acknowledge Joe Biden won fair and square.
Now, if the RPV had chosen a candidate with some political experience and a willingness to accept reality, this wouldn’t be such a concern for Virginia voters – or an opportunity for Virginia Democrats. Delegate Kirk Cox was such a candidate, but he was gone by the fourth round of the voting this past weekend.
Instead, Republicans nominated a businessman with no record. Such a candidate, whatever his other qualities (and Youngkin certainly has some) cannot be trusted to run Virginia’s elections – or anything else.
That’s the message Democrats need to hammer home where Glenn Youngkin is concerned.