“Youngkin’s Error is a Very Big One”
The Washington Post: Opinion: Glenn Youngkin’s Rookie Mistake
By Mark J. Rozell, 07/19/2021
Virginia Republicans were looking for a clean break and a fresh face to distance themselves from the immediate past president who remains deeply unpopular in the commonwealth. They thought they found him in newcomer Glenn Youngkin, a self-made hedge fund multimillionaire with a blank political slate who could finance his own campaign.
Youngkin hired some of his party’s best campaign pros and ran a nearly perfect nomination race to prevail over three other GOP heavy hitters, including a former House of Delegates speaker and a state senator who calls herself “Trump in heels.” Youngkin ran far enough right to earn the blessing of the party’s conservative base but not so far off the right berm that he could not plausibly steer back to the middle of the road.
He paid homage to former president Donald Trump by forming an “election reform task force” that genuflected toward the former president’s baseless claim the 2020 election was stolen from him.
The problem with rookies, however, is they make rookie mistakes.
Youngkin’s error is a very big one. It came during a June rally in a crowd he assumed to be friendly forces only. There, two people who appeared to be antiabortion die-hards pressed him on when he would challenge abortion rights in Virginia.
“The short answer is in this campaign, I can’t,” Youngkin confides to them in the video. “When I’m governor and I have a majority in the House, we can start going on offense. But as a campaign topic, sadly, that, in fact, won’t win me independent votes that I have to get.”
McAuliffe could barely believe his luck. Not only had Youngkin given him a gift that could keep on giving into November by betraying Youngkin’s hidden intentions on the most contentious of issues, but the GOP nominee also named the group of voters he seeks to beguile.
Count on McAuliffe though to do all he can to keep Youngkin’s Trump ties and the stealth video fresh this fall. Should that sink Youngkin’s candidacy, the Virginia GOP will have learned what should be abundantly obvious after four years of Trump: that big league politics is no place for amateurs.