Republicans view Youngkin’s victory as a model for the midterm elections

Republicans are watching Glenn youngkinGlenn Youngkin Democrats must stop infighting and four other lessons from the 2021 election Democrats feel new urgency on Biden’s agenda after Virginia defeat Republican optimism soars over Democratic debacle MOREThe successful campaign for the Virginia Governor’s Mansion as a roadmap for the 2022 midterm elections.

For the Republican Party, victory is more valuable than simply obtaining another governorship. Youngkin’s campaign, Republicans argue, offers a blueprint for dealing with some of his biggest challenges from the upcoming midterm elections, including how to win over undecided voters, exploit President BidenJoe Biden Democrats pressed panic button after Virginia Manchin collapse says he won’t vote to override Senate MP Carville blames ‘stupid awakening’ for Democratic losses MOREvulnerabilities and navigate your party’s relationship with ex President TrumpDonald Trump Democrats pressed panic button after Virginia collapse Department of Justice, Defense and Homeland Security seeks nearly four-year sentence for former MMA fighter who struck officer on January 6 MORE.

“I think it’s clear that Youngkin and the Republicans have found problems that work,” said Keith Naughton, a veteran Republican strategist. “You have to address the direct concerns of the voters and not your own workhorses, for lack of a better term. You have to react to what the voters want. “

Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffeTerry McAuliffe Democrats must stop infighting and four other lessons from the 2021 election Democrats feel new urgency on Biden’s agenda after Virginia defeat Republican optimism soars over Democratic debacle MORE, a former Virginia governor, on Tuesday in a close race that dealt a blow to Democrats’ belief that Virginia had moved firmly into their corner. The victory is almost certain to propel Youngkin to star status within his party as Republicans scrutinize his campaign for lessons ahead of the midterm elections.

A former CEO of private equity and a first-time candidate, Youngkin used his campaign to raise issues such as taxes and education. While Trump endorsed Youngkin for the governor’s mansion, it was only after he had secured the GOP nomination, and Youngkin never campaigned alongside the former president.

In fact, he rarely mentioned Trump’s name during his general election campaign. While addressing issues that resonated with Trump’s conservative base demands for greater electoral security, for example spoke of less controversial messages with undecided voters.

Naughton said the strategy undermined efforts by Democrats to portray him as a Trump acolyte while helping him avoid backlash from the former president’s most loyal supporters.

“The things that mattered in the suburbs on education and safety and crime they resonate with Trump voters, ”Naughton said. “You just have to convey that to the larger electorate, to the people in the suburbs. And Glenn Youngkin did it very successfully. “

Jean Card, a former Bush administration official and Trump critic, said Youngkin’s campaign offers a new model to other Republican candidates by challenging what has often been treated as conventional wisdom in the Republican Party in recent years: that the loyalty to Trump is the best and the easiest. road to victory.

“It has a lot to do with threading that needle; accepting Trump’s endorsement, but not embracing Trump in any way, “said Card, who lives in Virginia and voted for Youngkin in Tuesday’s election. “It’s clear to me that a lot of effort must have been made to keep Trump away. He never campaigned here. “

“The more McAuliffe said ‘Trump, Trump, Trump,’ the more Youngkin’s team seemed to drift away,” he added.

That strategy appeared to help Youngkin regain some of the support Republicans lost in Virginia during Trump’s time in the White House. He beat the former president’s margins in places like Loudoun County and won outright in Chesterfield County, south of Richmond, where Trump lost to Biden by nearly 7 points.

“It is a question of keeping Trump at a distance, or maybe even to the fingertips. He had the right personality for this. He looks like a governor, he has a cheerful personality. His style was obviously different from Trump’s. “

Trump has not hesitated to take credit for Youngkin’s victory, arguing that it was his loyal voter base that earned him the post of governor. In a radio interview Wednesday morning, the former president expressed frustration that he had not been given more credit for the outcome of the race.

“Without MAGA, I would have lost by 15 points or more,” Trump said on the “John Fredericks Radio Show,” using the acronym for one of his political slogans. “Instead of giving us credit, they say, ‘Oh, he’s more popular than Trump.’ Is incredible.”

Still, Youngkin’s success exposed the limits of Democrats’ continued focus on Trump as a campaign weapon, a strategy that helped propel them to victory in recent years.

He also underscored the party’s vulnerabilities as it prepares to head to the 2022 midterm elections. Biden’s approval rating has plummeted in recent months, damaged by the chaotic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, an increase in the summer of new COVID-19 infections and rising inflation.

At the same time, Democrats in Congress have been embroiled in an intra-party debate over Biden’s key legislative priorities, including a $ 1 trillion infrastructure package and a $ 1 climate change and social policy bill. , 75 billion. A veteran Democratic strategist said McAuliffe’s defeat emphasized the need for the party to act quickly on Biden’s agenda.

“We lost the writing on the wall” in Virginia, the strategist said. “We have not shown that we can do anything and we still hope that the people will give us more power, more capacity to govern.”

However, other Democrats had a different conclusion. Senator Joe manchinJoe Manchin Democrats Press Panic Button After Virginia Manchin Collapse Says Will Not Vote To Override Senate MP On The Money – Presented By Citi – Pelosi Plays Tough With Manchin MORE (DW.Va.), who has curbed his party’s spending plans, said the election results were proof that many voters are concerned about the size and scope of the Democrats’ agenda.

“You can read a lot in all that last night,” he said. “I think it should be a call for all of us to be more attentive to people at home.”

The Democratic defeats in Virginia were a sobering reminder to the party of its precarious position heading into 2022. The Republican Party needs to win just five House seats and just one Senate seat to regain control of Congress. What’s more, a new president’s party almost always loses ground in Congress in midterm elections. a foreboding reality Democrats know well.

Meanwhile, Republicans are already planning the game around Youngkin’s strategy. In a memo sent to members of the conservative Republican Study Committee Tuesday night, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Indiana) advised lawmakers to “learn from Glenn Youngkin.”

“Youngkin became the Republican base in southern Virginia, kept working-class voters in the fold, and made great strides in suburban northern Virginia, heavily immigrant, college-educated, and wealthy. The exact group that allegedly ‘repudiated’ the Republican Party, ”the memo reads. “He widened the Republican tent and did it by focusing on the problems.”

Of course, choosing which topics and messages to focus on is one thing, Naughton said, but keeping Trump on the sidelines in 2022 is foolish.

“You can’t help Trump keep quiet. He’s going to do whatever he wants to do for himself, ”Naughton said. “It’s unpredictable. You can say anything and poke your nose at any moment and tip over the apple cart. And the Republican candidates have no control over that. “

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