By Ralph Benko- The race for governor of Virginia between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin is considered by many political observers a referendum on President Biden’s performance in office. Let’s dig into that.
But first, carry me back to Old Virginny! McAuliffe’s last tenure as governor left a weak record of economic growth. McAuliffe’s Virginia ranked well below the US national average. It was far, far below the peaks of prosperity we enjoyed under Reagan and Clinton.
McAuliffe’s campaign rhetoric now promises prosperity. His record in office really doesn’t support that.
Meanwhile, Youngkin hasn’t held elective office but has considerable experience as a businessman. This included 2+ years as co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, in charge of its real estate, energy, infrastructure businesses, and investment solutions businesses.
Youngkin can be presumed to be business friendly. Wouldn’t be a bad thing in uncertain economic times.
Last time Terry McAuliffe was governor of Virginia its economic growth rate bounced around from 0.3% to 1.1% to 1.7% to 1.5% to 2.4%. Virginia underperformed the US growth rate in every single year of his tenure.
Worse, both the US and Virginia continued to dramatically underperform the robust economic growth rates achieved under Reagan, where the US economy mostly grew at more than double that, a 3.5% rate. Or under Clinton, who saw 4% economic growth annually and record job creation.
Meanwhile, now the US economy is experiencing the highest inflation in 30 years. What’s up with that? Smells like Nixon/Ford/Carter!
Joe Biden campaigned as a capitalist and had the track record to back it up. As a US Senator he voted for both Reagan income tax rate cuts, dropping the top rate from 70% to 28% in two stages. Sen. Biden voted for the Clinton capital gains tax cut, too, from 28% to 20%.
These tax cuts are widely seen as contributing to the sizzling economic growth of the Reagan and Carter eras. That was then.
This is now. Upon election Biden surprisingly pivoted to support the “eat the rich” agenda of self-identified socialist Bernie Sanders and the House Progressive Caucus. Biden, who seems to have forgotten not to “kill the goose that lays the golden eggs,” signed off on multi-trillion-dollar federal tax hikes and spending increases.
President Biden thereby began to look a lot more like the feckless Jimmy Carter than the prosperity-inducing Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.
McAuliffe has, in the words of Politico “repeatedly tried to distance himself from Biden and the Democratic Congress.” That said, American politics is nothing if not tribal.
If McAuliffe gets elected, he surely will toe the Democratic party line. And we voters know it.
Moreover, the Virginia governor’s race is widely seen by political analysts and politicians as a bellwether. Thus, Virginia voters have an opportunity to send a message to the president and to the Congress by rejecting the Democratic nominee.
Voters to Washington! Turn back from your tax-hiking, IRS doubling (adding 87,000 new IRS personnel) and extravagant spending spree! Turn back while there’s still time!
If McAuliffe loses, many federal legislators from red and purple states will think twice about succumbing to the pressure of their party’s left-wing activists. They will become much bolder, like Sens. Manchin (D-VW) and Sinema (D-AZ), in opposing tax hikes and promiscuous borrowing to provide lavish new welfare benefits. A good thing!
American politics is a “tale of two cities.” In the 2020 election cycle the political class, including most of the mainstream media, was all in for the leftmost candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Then, the voters had their ups!
The actual voters nominated for president the candidate with the most conservative track record and rhetoric in the Democratic field. Joe Biden then crusaded as a capitalist to win the general election.
All the while, elite progressives were licking their chops anticipating an electoral blue wave giving them not just a majority but dominance in the federal legislature. And the progs expected to win the states.
We voters rebuffed them. The Dems won the slimmest of majorities in the House and Senate.
They were thwarted in the states. The progressive DailyKos bemoaned the Democrats’ failure to take over any state legislatures. “Election night delivered nothing short of an unmitigated catastrophe for Democrats….”
Upon election, how quickly our Democratic elected officials forgot our message! Time to remind our politicians of the wisdom of the motto of the late South Carolina Congressman R. L. Mendel Rivers: “There’s no education in the second kick of a mule.”
On November 2nd let’s send Washington that second kick: a reminder that we, the voters, want lower taxes, less spending, and better jobs! Sending Glenn Youngkin to Richmond would send Washington exactly that message.