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Saxman: McAuliffe – Youngkin and the Trump Effect

Virginia politics is 24/7/365 or as Rachel Bitecofer so coined the Commonwealth – Election Nerd Disneyland.

Take this week for example.

I was on the phone with a member of the Glenn Youngkin campaign (and yes, I also speak with the Terry McAuliffe campaign) talking about Thursday’s veterans policy rollout. If you haven’t seen it in the media- and you won’t – here is a link [1].

My original inquiry to the campaign was that since Youngkin’s most interesting veterans policy is eliminating the Virginia income tax for military retirement pay, would he also be considering the elimination of the income tax altogether in order to keep Virginia’s tax code competitive with other states that have already done so. Florida, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington – just to name a few.

During the call, this person mentions and laments that former President Donald Trump had just sent out an email in which he praised Glenn Youngkin. We quickly went down the path of how happy that had to make Terry McAuliffe since the former president is still very unpopular in Virginia especially in the localities where Youngkin needs to gain ground in order to win.

I mention, and am quickly agreed with, that there is no way that the veterans policies will be picked up by the media.

At that very moment, CNN political reporter Mike Warren texts me asking if I had seen the Trump statement and what my thoughts were on it. While I had just heard about it, I had not seen the statement. So, Warren texted it noting “It’s looooong.”

It is long for Twitter, but not for email the primary communication tool for Trump who has been canceled off of Twitter and Facebook.

My first reply was that Trump’s statement:

will get more coverage than Youngkin’s veterans policy rollout yesterday – some of that was pretty good.

Came the reply:

Ha. Fair point.

From there, I offered that Trump seemed to be trying to distract from the recent indictments brought against his business associate last week by announcing his suit against Big Tech.

This is Trump Media Manipulation 101 and frankly he’s brilliant at it. The press falls for it every time. And for good reason – last night, Trump emailed out that his appearance on Fox News had boosted “Sean Hannity’s Ratings to the Top of the Charts Wednesday.”

Warren replied that he thought Youngkin’s

got something going on and this gives McAuliffe fresh fodder to slow him down.

Came the reply:

Well, I’m sure Youngkin’s pollsters were not pleased, but his political team was glad it came out on a Friday in July. Positives are that the base will love it and Glenn needs to get them fired up since this is a base election, but the downside for him is that this might help McAuliffe with his base even more. Trump is deeply unpopular where Youngkin needs votes.

Then I told him to look at the McAuliffe and Youngkin Twitter feeds. McAuliffe was quickly in full attack mode and Youngkin was pivoting to his commercials.

And just like that, no one is talking about the indictments or any other political news from the week.

The Donald is no longer Commander in Chief but he’s still The Disruptor in Chief.

The effect is obvious and it’s not always good for his party. It’s just good for him in the current news cycle. Trump is brilliant at it, but ruthless when it comes to his own team.

With just 71 days until early voting starts and 116 days until Election Day, Terry McAuliffe was thrilled with Trump’s missive and is on the attack. To do otherwise is political malpractice.

Just another day in Election Nerd Disneyland.

Speaking of political malpractice, try this one on for size.

Donald Trump is suing Big Tech, right?

On Thursday, the Republican Party of Virginia goes after the University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato calling for an ethics investigation about his partisanship on … Twitter.

Sabato might be a Democrat, but he’s also a damn good professor and universally respected.

Today, the Wall St. Journal ran Trump’s op-ed about his Big Tech (yes, including Twitter) lawsuit. It ran today with this final paragraph:

Through these lawsuits, I intend to restore free speech for all Americans—Democrats, Republicans and independents. I will never stop fighting to defend the constitutional rights and sacred liberties of the American people.

RPV should follow Trump’s example and support free speech by apologizing to Professor Sabato.

They seem to be like Robert Stack in Airplane! when asked if the control tower should turn on the lights to search for the distressed passenger plane trying to land.

Should we support Trump’s lawsuit and be for free speech?

NO, that’s just what they’ll be expecting us to do.


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Virginia FREE Leadership Luncheon

Wednesday September 1st

Ritz Carlton Tysons, Virginia

Candidates for Governor

Governor Terry McAuliffe – Confirmed

Glenn Youngkin – final confirmation pending

Candidates for Lt. Governor

Delegate Hala Ayala – Invited

Former Delegate Winsome Sears – Confirmed

Candidates for Attorney General

Attorney General Mark Herring – Invited

Delegate Jason Miyares – Confirmed

Sponsorships Available

Individual Tickets starting at $150/seat

11am – Reception and Registration

Noon – Luncheon and Program

1:15 – Adjourn

RSVP to [email protected] in order to reserve your tables and seats.