Harris warns Virginia Dems: What happens in this election may determine what happens in 2022 and 2024

I suppose she had to say this as a matter of basic GOTV tactics. Every election is the most important election ever, right? Lose this one and the dominos fall and it’s the end of America, yadda yadda. When your base is unmotivated, as the Democratic base currently is, you’ll say whatever you have to in order to scare them into voting.


But even so, the idea that Virginia is the hinge for 2022 and 2024 is more of a catalyst for Republicans than Democrats. Righties are spoiling to put a hurt on Biden and the Dems after last year’s disappointment and this election is their first opportunity. They’re hungrier, as the out-party typically is. Raise the stakes by telling them that Tuesday’s vote is a bellwether for who’ll control the federal government in the years ahead and you’re waving a red cape in front of a bull.

So if Youngkin pulls it off, expect to see these words from Biden’s VP in a thousand different Republican ads and other messages over the next 12 months. As goes Virginia, so goes the nation.

“What happens in Virginia will in large part determine what happens in 2022, 2024 and on,” Harris said during a 16-minute stump speech.

“You gonna bring this home, right? Yes you are,” Harris told the crowd, warning them that “Tuesday is a critical day that will determine whether we either turn back the clock or move it forward.”

It’s not strictly true that a Youngkin win will determine the outcome of the midterms, of course, but it’ll influence it in numerous ways. Centrist Dems in Congress may balk at new spending, imperiling Biden’s agenda on infrastructure and beyond. More Democrats in Congress will opt for retirement, not wanting to stick around and be part of a powerless House minority in 2023. Republicans will make parents’ rights over school policy a centerpiece of their midterm messaging.


And both parties may, to a degree, pivot away from Trump. Democrats will have learned the hard way that he’s not enough of a boogeyman to suburban voters at this point to keep a state that Biden won by 10 points in their party’s hands. And Republicans will consider the possibility that a MAGA-friendly business-class candidate like Youngkin is a better play in swing states, especially among those same suburban voters, than a true-blue MAGA populist is.

All of this hinges on Youngkin actually winning, though. Does that seem likely at the moment? Well … yes:

Frank Luntz puts his odds of victory at 80 percent, which is too high in a state as blue as Virginia. But the idea that Youngkin is now a slight favorite should be uncontroversial:

If you’re the sort of person who thinks crowd size is an important indicator of enthusiasm, take heart in the fact that the Republican got this sort of turnout at eight o’clock on a Saturday morning in one of the bluest parts of the state:


If you’re the sort of person who wants hard data, not anecdotes, then enjoy this new poll showing the race a dead heat after having had McAuliffe up seven points a month ago:

Just a few days before Election Day, the race for Virginia governor is a statistical tie. Former Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe holds a 1-percentage point lead over Republican Glenn Youngkin (47%-46%) with 6% undecided, according to The Roanoke College Poll…

Republicans hold an advantage in being extremely enthusiastic about voting (49% to 32% for Democrats), while most partisans say they are almost certain to vote or have already voted (76% of Republicans vs. 77% of Democrats). Likely voters see the economy (38%) and education (22%) as the most important issues in the election ahead of COVID (13%), health care (11%), and race relations (7%). Most voters (73%) decided who to vote for more than a month ago, but 19% decided in the last month or the last week.

McAuliffe’s favorable rating is 44%, while his unfavorable is 43%. Youngkin is at 45%/37% favorable/unfavorable. Former President Donald Trump’s rating is 37%/54% favorable/unfavorable. Half of those polled (50%) disapprove of the job Joe Biden is doing as president, while 44% approve.


Strong Republican enthusiasm in poll after poll proves that Trump’s idiotic effort to convince his own party that U.S. elections are rigged isn’t keeping Republicans from participating in them. In fact, said one local GOP pol to Politico, “McAuliffe’s campaign has advertised the fact that Youngkin is Trump, endorsed by Trump, a wolf in Trump’s clothing, and ironically, that’s a double-edged sword because he’s motivating the [GOP] base.” I’ve written before that McAuliffe and Youngkin are on opposite sides of a wager about how Virginians, particularly suburbanites, would respond to Youngkin’s “Romney meets Trump” persona. Dems bet that suburbanites would focus on the Trump part while MAGA voters would focus on the Romney part and each would recoil. Youngkin bet that suburbanites would focus on the Romney part while MAGA voters would focus on the Trump part and each would warm him up to him.

Who’s winning that bet?

Youngkin may owe McAuliffe a beer after the election for helping to ease Trumpers’ misgivings about their nominee by telling them every five seconds that Youngkin’s just a preppier version of their political hero.

If you need further evidence that the outcome of this race is very much in doubt in Democrats’ minds, note that the pre-criminations about an impending defeat have already begun:


“The last time I checked, we passed a $1.9 trillion — that’s with a T — covid relief bill,” said Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), who represents much of Fairfax County. “How can anyone give credit to us if we are not talking about it? And we have completely stopped talking about it. And to me that is astounding. Just astounding.”…

“We have gotten lost in process [with infrastructure]. And the process argument is not helping anybody. It’s not helping in Virginia,” said Dan Sena, a former executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee whose political consulting firm now works for Del. Hala S. Ayala (Prince William County), the Democratic nominee for Virginia lieutenant governor. “Candidly, it’s only helping the other side.”…

[Celinda] Lake, the Biden campaign pollster who now does surveys and research for the Democratic National Committee and other Biden allies, said that while GOP attacks on critical race theory are not likely to resonate [in the midterms], the argument that Democrats are not on the side of parents requires a more robust response than the party has presented thus far. “That’s the one we need a better strategy on,” she said.

I’d give Youngkin a 60 percent chance of winning at this point. Why not higher? Because Virginia is, after all, a Biden +10 state and they’ve been casting ballots already for weeks in early voting. Some centrists who might have broken for Youngkin as he began to surge over the past 10 days may have already banked their votes for McAuliffe.


In lieu of an exit question, here’s an especially cringy moment from last night’s McAuliffe rally featuring an unusually cringy politician. She sounds … different.

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