The last time Virginia voted Republican was 2004, and it has been trending bluer ever since. Joe Biden won the state by 10 points. For all intents and purposes, Virginia is no longer a battleground state but a blue state. However, in last year’s gubernatorial election, Glenn Youngkin’s once-longshot campaign achieved a stunning victory over Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
Virginia hadn’t suddenly shifted red. In fact, despite GOP victories statewide, I’d hesitate to say that Virginia has yet turned red or even purple. Nevertheless, it’s undeniable that Youngkin trailed Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the polls for most of this campaign — that is, until McAuliffe made a gross miscalculation.
“I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision,” McAuliffe said during a debate with Youngkin in September. “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
McAuliffe likely had no idea at the time how damaging his position would be to his campaign. But the steady lead he’d enjoyed throughout most of the campaign would soon vanish, and Youngkin would cruise to victory.
The election should have been a warning sign to Democrats nationwide that parents don’t like being told they have no right to oversight of their kids’ education. But it doesn’t appear that Democrats have gotten the message.
“If parents want to ‘have a say’ in their child’s education, they should home school or pay for private school tuition out of their family budget,” Rep. Lee Snodgrass, a Democrat state representative in Wisconsin, tweeted on Thursday.
FWIW Wisconsin state legislator @repsnodgrass deleted this tweet:
“If Parents want to ‘have a say’ in their child’s education, they should home school or pay for private school tuition out of their family budget.” pic.twitter.com/bvLACRHVVy
— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) February 10, 2022
After realizing she had said the quiet part out loud, Snodgrass deleted the tweet and attempted a clean-up a few hours later.
“I deleted my Tweet since it was lacking in nuance and easily misinterpreted,” she claimed. “I wouldn’t want anyone to think that parents do not have a role in their child’s public education-I sure did. I encourage all parents to engage in voting for school board, join PTO and meet with teachers.”
I deleted my Tweet since it was lacking in nuance and easily misinterpreted. I wouldn’t want anyone to think that parents do not have a role in their child’s public education-I sure did. I encourage all parents to engage in voting for school board, join PTO and meet with teachers
— Rep. Lee Snodgrass (@RepSnodgrass) February 10, 2022
But there was nothing ambiguous about her now-deleted tweet. Like McAuliffe in Virginia, Snodgrass doesn’t think parents “should be telling schools what they should teach.”
And, like McAuliffe, Snodgrass likely knows that many in her party agree. Last year, a Suffolk University/USA Today poll found that 70% of Virginia Democrats wanted school boards to have more influence on a school’s curriculum than parents. I’m sure a similar number of Wisconsin Democrats probably feel the same way.
However, the same poll that said 70% of Virginia Democrats wanted school boards to have more influence than parents found that only 39% of all Virginia voters agreed. Who wants to bet that only a minority of Wisconsin voters agree as well?
This tells us a lot about the bubble in which Democrats live. They think their views on radical gender theory and critical race theory are mainstream and that parents don’t have the right to stop schools from indoctrinating children. How did that work out for them in Virginia?
It’s clear from Snodgrass’s original tweet that she hasn’t learned anything from McAuliffe’s defeat a few short months ago. I can’t help wondering if that’s the case with Democrats nationwide. I suspect that deep down, they haven’t learned anything either, and it will be up to the GOP to exploit this in elections nationwide.