Joe Biden won New Jersey and Virginia in landslides against Donald Trump last year. Now those two states are defeating Joe Biden and his sweeping, and at times, far-left agenda. Six factors have been key to Glenn Youngkin’s win over former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe; meanwhile, they also help explain why Republican Jack Ciattarelli has come within a hair’s breadth of besting once-popular New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. Here are the six keys to the GOP’s successes:
1. Voters reject COVID mask and vaccination lockdowns. Both Republican candidates made clear they opposed harsh lockdowns, mandatory vaccinations and mask requirements. Murphy ordered every child over 2 to mask up, which didn’t sit well with voters.
2. Black voters didn’t turn out. Black voters were said to be crucial for McAuliffe’s victory, and they did not turn out as they did in 2020. Why? One reason may be mandatory vaccinations. Blacks have been hesitant to take the vaccine, and the firings of blue-collar workers and first responders who won’t accept it may be causing a backlash.
3. Biden’s approval numbers have collapsed. The debacle in Afghanistan, a southern border in crisis, soaring inflation and questions about Joe Biden’s age and mental capacity, have created a brew of disenchantment among voters who are giving the president a thumb’s-down rating in approval polls.
4. Critical race theory backfired. Cultural issues like CRT and gender politics played a major role in the Virginia race. McAuliffe’s claim that parents shouldn’t play a role in what their children are taught, coupled with the recent alleged assault of one female student by a male in a skirt — are issues that rubbed suburban voters who don’t accept “woke” culture the wrong way.
5. It’s the economy, stupid! Massive supply shortages and soaring inflation may be having a more significant impact on voters’ minds than had been supposed. People are seeing gasoline prices jump, and the party in power is paying the price.
6. Trump helped Republicans. McAuliffe and Murphy attempted to paint their Republican challengers as puppets of Donald Trump. Trump did not prove a liability at all, though, and he may have even helped. Voters are clearly feeling buyer’s remorse with Biden, as Trump’s own rising poll numbers suggest.