Of all the takes out there, this is … certainly one of them. MSNBC’s entire lineup of commentators last night hinted around at this excuse during the election returns, but Joy Reid explicitly accused Virginians of being “willfully ignorant” racists in rejecting, er … Terry McAuliffe. The education issue was nothing more than a dog whistle, Reid claims, in an attempt to cater to angry white people:
In the final weeks of his campaign, Youngkin focused almost exclusively on attacking lesson plans about inequality. He hosted multiple “Parents Matter” rallies, where attendees could gather to express outrage over school curricula. And last week, his campaign released an ad featuring a white mother who fought to have “Beloved,” Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about slavery, banned from her son’s school district.
The Youngkin campaign discovered that this contingent of angry, willfully ignorant white people was the key ingredient needed to elect a GOP governor in Virginia for the first time since 2009. We can expect more Republicans to try the same gambit as we inch closer to next year’s consequential midterm elections.
YMMV, but the issue wasn’t Beloved as much as it was the Loudoun County Public Schools board and a nationwide push to include critical race theory into curricula. Terry McAuliffe got caught lying about CRT in school curricula — repeatedly — and also repeatedly insisted that parents should shut up and let experts handle their children’s education. That came to a head when the LCPS covered up rapes in its schools and cast an angry father of one victim as a domestic terrorist, a situation that Joe Biden’s AG Merrick Garland made worse by pledging federal intervention at school board meetings.
Besides, Reid’s attempt to play the race card comes with no end of irony as a defense of McAuliffe. The former governor broke with tradition in Virginia to bigfoot the Democratic primary at the expense of two black women who were expected to compete for the nomination. The state’s first black governor, Democrat Douglas Wilder, blasted McAuliffe for derailing that effort. He also pointed out that only one of the two candidates had a blackface-scandalized politician as a campaign surrogate, and it wasn’t Glenn Youngkin:
Wilder is Virginia’s first African American elected governor. He said, “All of the candidates [McAuliffe] opposed except one, were Black, including two women, whom he felt not qualified to be given the chance that he had been given.” …
“You called on Ralph Northam to resign. Now he didn’t resign. Why do you now seek his support and sought his support for your candidacy? I think it’s a legitimate question to ask,” Wilder told Katz.
Let’s let the ticket speak for itself, however. Here is Virginia’s new lieutenant governor Winsome Sears, a candidate that Youngkin promoted –if one buys Reid’s argument — to appeal to “willfully ignorant white people.” Reid’s network didn’t air Sears’ victory speech, despite her status as the first black woman to win the LG position in Virginia. I wonder why … perhaps MSNBC wanted to appeal to actually willfully ignorant and angry white people. I mean, as long as we’re tossing around that explanation, why not apply it where it applies best?
Pay attention to Sears’ opinion of takes like Reid’s. It comes up at about the four-minute mark. “In case you haven’t noticed, I’m black and I’ve been black all my life,” Sears declares, “but that’s not what it’s all about.” She warns about those “trying to divide us … who think it’s 1963.” Maybe Reid should have listened.
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