If Virginia were a true swing state, Terry McAuliffe would be dead in the water. According to a CBS News poll, Republican Glenn Youngkin is leading on key issues and with the right groups.
Moreover, President Biden’s sagging approval rating is a drag on Democrats nationwide. While this hasn’t doomed McAuliffe in a blue-leaning state, his victory is in doubt. Aware that his attempts to portray Youngkin as a Trump clone haven’t worked well, McAuliffe is calling on the Democratic Party’s most charismatic leaders to save the day.
As The Washington Post reports:
Former president Barack Obama will hit the campaign trail for McAuliffe later this month as part of an effort to boost turnout among Black voters. So will Stacey Abrams, a rising Democratic star from Georgia, and Keisha Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta. First lady Jill Biden will also stump for McAuliffe, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will host a fundraiser for the gubernatorial hopeful.
Public opinion polls show McAuliffe with a slim and hardly insurmountable lead, amid other troubling indicators for the party brand. Some Democratic leaders believe the Virginia race could have a tectonic impact on the party’s legislative agenda and political standing heading into next year’s midterm elections, suggesting a defeat would be close to devastating.
“It would be a Scott Brown moment, I think,” said retiring Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), referring to the Republican senator’s shocking win in a special Massachusetts election during the final negotiations over the Affordable Care Act. Brown’s 2010 victory was an early indicator of the drubbing Democrats endured in the midterms later that year, even as they eventually managed to enact the ACA.
In a sign of how politics is increasingly nationalized, many of the issues that have dominated the Virginia campaign — coronavirus vaccine mandates, education and crime, among others — mirror those in other battlegrounds across the country. The flurry of high-profile Democrats on the ground in the final weeks further underlines the national dimensions of the race.
Although McAuliffe has sought to distance himself publicly from President Biden, the McAuliffe campaign confirmed that the president will hit the stump for the former governor before Election Day.