I'm not even a little surprised that Republican Glenn Youngkin beat Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the Viriginia governor's race last night. The margin of 80,000 votes is just over 2% of the vote, so Youngkin can't exactly claim he won in a landslide. And, let's face it, President Biden doesn't exactly have Obama levels of popularity today. (He's still more popular than the last guy. And Gerald Ford.)
I worked in Virginia for six months in 2003, and I can tell you most of the state has, shall I say, not quite progressive politics.
Ross Douthat believes some of McAuliffe's problems come from the way he failed to address the popular—if inaccurate—perceptions of the latest boogeyman on the Right, "critical race theory." Since no one really knows what CRT actually is, Youngkin had no trouble banging that drum to scare all the suburban women that he handily shifted to his side in the last six weeks.
As for the president's agenda, as long as 52 senators want to stop him from doing anything in his first term, he can't get it done. The slave-owning Southerners who wrote the Constitution, particularly the ones from Virginia, designed the Federal government to do as little as possible.
We're five years in to historical political unrest and division in the United States, which I suppose was the Karmic balancingof the Cubs winning the World Series. The last time the US went through this much turmoil, we got the Civil Rights Act. But the time before, we got a Civil War.
Finally, let me grab a few grafs from Chris Cillizza on what CRT actually means:
For the record, here's what critical race theory actually is -- courtesy of Education Week:
"Critical race theory is an academic concept that is more than 40 years old. The core idea is that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies. ... A good example is when, in the 1930s, government officials literally drew lines around areas deemed poor financial risks, often explicitly due to the racial composition of inhabitants. Banks subsequently refused to offer mortgages to Black people in those areas."
And here's another helpful explainer via Brookings:
"CRT does not attribute racism to white people as individuals or even to entire groups of people. Simply put, critical race theory states that U.S. social institutions (e.g., the criminal justice system, education system, labor market, housing market, and healthcare system) are laced with racism embedded in laws, regulations, rules, and procedures that lead to differential outcomes by race."
The basic idea is that racism is systemic in many of the institutions of America -- and that by acknowledging that reality, we can work to overcome it.
Yeah, wow, I'd hate to teach children that...