“‘Cause in sleepy London town
There’s just no place for a street fighting man, no.”– Mick Jagger
Glenn Youngkin managed to find the key to unlocking electoral success for modern Republicans. The newly minted governor of Virginia won a narrow victory last night in a state that Joe Biden had won by ten points. His campaign was a campaign of half measures and lip service to the king without openly endorsing the king. It was a thing of beauty.
He refused to campaign with the ex president even until the end and yet somehow managed to convince the forever Trumpers that he was on their side all along. I suppose Democrats should be worried when they they lose a key governorship, but there is a silver lining in there somewhere.
Youngkin refused to kiss the ring. For that, you could label him a lot of things and we will label him those things before all is said and done, but he is no fool. For all his talk about winning, the ex president has never actually won. He didn’t the first time around. He didn’t in the last election and anyone significant that has ever hitched their wagon to him also has failed.
Youngkin’s stance on vaccine mandates alone is enough to make you dizzy. When it was brought up in debate he stuttered and stammered all over the place as if he were trying to solve an algebraic equation. He was for mandates for all of those other vaccines because no one wants to be on the record as the guy aiming to bring back the measles. Yet, he was against a mandate on the COVID vaccine because a majority of his base is against it.
It’s a perfect tactic if one could actually articulate it intelligently. I’m not sure Youngkin ever got there, but I guess he deserves a prize for effort. I suppose he finally settled on the point that there hasn’t been enough research done. If he had thrown out the nugget that everyone should do their own research he might spit the bit, but he managed to walk a tightrope where he was against the mandate and for people getting the vaccine. It was twisting and turning that would make Simone Biles wince in pain.
In the meantime he just might have given Republicans the blueprint for long-term success. For all of his bravado, the ex-leader always trailed expectations by five to ten points nationally. That probably has something to do with voters that actually care how you say things and voters that actually care about the moral fiber of their candidate. Admittedly, it’s not nearly as many people as we might have hoped, but five percent can make a huge difference on election day.
What Youngkin managed to do is say enough of the buzzwords to signal to the MAGA crowd that he was one of them without uttering the offensive versions of their rhetoric that turn off moderates. This leaves us with only one conclusion. As long as national GOP politicians think they have to kiss the ring and be the biggest ass in the room then things are looking up. As soon as they discover they can ignore him and just borrow the more tame versions of his rhetoric, we could be in serious trouble.