Victor Davis Hanson
Blade of Perseus
Yes, the Glenn Youngkin campaign was supercharged by local and state issues.
No Virginians, like no Americans, want to be called racists. In fact, they voted in their first African American and Latino statewide elected officials—classical anti-racism ignoring the “anti-racism” racism of the Left.
Ditto the New York mayor’s race, where African-American Eric Adams was elected to replace the “anti-racism”/racism of a pathetically inept white leftist Bill de Blasio. In sum, voters did not appreciate being called racists by self-described racists.
Much less will they pay taxes to schools to brainwash their children into saying their parents are racists. No one wants schoolboard members to puff themselves up like Soviet commissars to ridicule anyone who identifies their own abject failures.
All that said, this is the first major election when Americans have had a chance—along with the New Jersey gubernatorial, the other statewide Virginia, and the New York mayor’s races— to weigh in on the last ten months of Joe Biden’s utter insanity.
And they did.
Their verdict in blue Virginia was loud, clear—and cannot be contextualized by blaming the obnoxious Terry McAuliffe as an aberrant Democratic dunce or complaining about “voter suppression”—Stacey Abrams style—or whining the Left was unprepared as they were in 2016 or smearing supposedly misled, uniformed Trump deplorables or sighing Virginia always votes against current Washington.
Voters concluded that these disasters since January were not just reflections of leftwing extremism—although they were that and more—but they endangered the very continuance of American life.
Voters—that is even a small majority in a solidly blue state dependent on a huge federal government—know that we will be three-quarters of the way to Venezuela if inflation roars while interest rates are fixed at de facto zero and trillions of paper dollars are churned out—all deliberately so, in spread-the-wealth fashion.
They know that no president is responsible for every American to die from COVID-19 as Biden charged of Trump. But if a president were to be culpable, then Biden himself would incur the greater blame by his own reasoning, given that more have died on average each day of the plague during his initial nine months, than per diem during the Trump presidency. Biden, the ungracious beneficiary of the Trump Warp Speed vaccination program, demagogued the pandemic, and then the Delta variant boomeranged on him. And so, he was stoned by his own bullying stone-throwing.
Shelves are empty, ports clogged and will remain so—if you print money and use lots of it to pay people not to work or plan to fire anyone without a vaccination card, even as the plague wanes and perhaps 100 million have natural COVID-19 antibodies from prior infections. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is no cigar-chomping ex-Union trucker inspecting clogged ports to rally the muscular classes to get going.
We are suffering from our first self-induced energy crisis, as gasoline and diesel prices are climbing to near record levels—well over $5 a gallon along the entire California coast. Biden did it. Not Putin. Not the Saudi royals. It was contrived, deliberate, on purpose—Steven Chu-style. The Left likes $5 a gallon gas: less driving for the deplorables, no problem for the Gulfstream globalatii.
The border is not open, but nonexistent. There is no southern border; there is no immigration law left in existence. But there is violence, cruelty, chaos, anarchy, and nihilism anywhere Trump’s hated wall is absent. Biden’s open-door border policy was cruelly suicidal, and by design aimed at exploding the very idea of an American defined by its territory. Do any voters like that?
Afghanistan was not just a humiliating military defeat. It was the self-created destruction of 75 years of postwar American deterrence. The Kabul catastrophe was the greatest single gifting of American military hardware—to abject terrorists—in our history, or for that matter in any nation’s history. It was far more shameful than Saigon, 1975, given the architects of our defeat were contrite and remain so. They called their flight a logistical success, as if evacuations win wars. Even Churchill conceded that a genuinely brilliant withdrawal from Dunkirk was, nonetheless, a defeat.
When Americans, confused by the madness, asked questions, begged to learn why—why a president would deliberatelydestroy his own country—they were met with two answers: “Racists!” And “Trump did it!”
Trump, the now silent exile from social media, was under every bed, a rightwing banshee who did all this. He was everywhere but nowhere.
Then there was the Biden non compos mentis disaster. The Democrats thought they had outsmarted a suspicious America by wheeling out an enfeebled “moderate” ol’ Joe from Scranton, whom they locked in a basement to campaign in absentia through anti-Trump media blitzes. He masked, but carried over the finish the line, the Jacobin agenda.
But then what? Joe did not only stick around, but he did so painfully so, as the nation daily witnesses his tragic decline into rest-home frailty. Yet pity only goes so far. At some point, the American people also got tired of Biden’s ‘get off my grass’ rants, mind freezes, and embarrassing outbursts—and blamed the Left for its cynical and cruel use of an incapacitated surrogate. Yet he unfortunately will be on American televisions screens, sort of, for the next three years, unless the Left figures out how to remove Biden—and Harris, who was supposed to supplant Biden but is somehow more cognizantly obnoxious than a challenged Biden.
Will Democrats learn anything from this amazing defeat in a solidly blue state?
No, because a there are no Democrats left. For all practical purposes, they were driven out or absorbed by Jacobins if not Bolsheviks and Maoists. Such radicals do not learn moderation from defeat. They are taught that the absence not the excess of intolerant zeal is always the culprit.
In other words, McAuliffe did not blame Trump enough. He too seldom called Virginians “Racists!”. Last night CNN and MSNBC wheeled out their regular “anti-racists” to scream “Racism!” They will rant like that all the way to a McGovern like wipeout in 2022.
So, if the Jacobins keep at it, they will match, and likely trump Obama’s 2010 midterm wipe out. Sane people would now ostracize AOC, snub the squab, laugh at Bernie’s rants, sigh blah, blah, blah when Elizabeth Warren shakes her finger. But they again will do the opposite.
And the Republicans? The MAGA agenda is now institutionalized. Youngkin relied on the Trump base and benefitted from Trump’s endorsement, without which he would not have won. But he also got even with, rather than just mad at, the Left.
Ridiculing the Left is not quite enough. Trump or his rivals in 2024 must focus their furor to magnify its effectiveness. How? Praise a Dr. Fauci to the skies while tearfully announcing that he will be retiring after a great career—as of tomorrow morning. Rather than ridicule Joe Biden’s cognitive challenges, instead quite seriously ask the Yale psychiatrist Dr. Bandi X. Lee to return to Congress to offer another tele-diagnosis— of Biden’s lapses, or politely request she gives him a Montreal Cognitive Assessment, Trump-style.
The point is not to trade barbs with a James Comey but quietly fire him on day one. It is not enough to court a media storm by stripping the security clearance of a John Brennan, but better quietly to strip all the clearances of ex-intelligence and retired military officers paid on cable news to spout conspiracy theories based on their wink-and-nod access to classified information.
One final lesson, then, of last night: it is always wiser to speak softly and carry a sledgehammer, than to loudly pack a gavel.