Whenever Democrats get thumped at the polls, they blame their defeat on poor “communication,” as if the fundamental problem is not the irrationality of their ideas but a mere failure to present them persuasively. But sometimes they absolve themselves completely and just blame the people for a lack of enlightenment. That appears to be the subtext driving much of their post-election analysis this week. They would rather call the people delusional than admit their own delusions.
The party’s vaunted wokeness, after all, rests on an implied contempt for the people: that they are insufficiently enlightened and must be pushed into the light. This attitude makes for poor politics, as Democrats found out on Tuesday night. Terry McAuliffe, in particular, paid the price for this complacent elitism. He campaigned alongside Barack Obama, whose comment about “made up culture wars” was a thinly veiled insult of the people. Obama might as well have said to Virginians: Stop whining and simply sit back and let us impose wokeness on you.
Even on Wednesday morning, Democrats cast McAuliffe as the victim of a deluded people, worked up over something that “doesn’t exist,” critical race theory in public schools. But it so obviously does exist. As a former governor, McAuliffe had pushed it on Virginia schools, and he ran a campaign based on its lies. All of his lazy slurs against Glenn Youngkin as a racist stemmed from the mindset of critical race theory.
For all the time he spent with Bill Clinton over the years, McAuliffe never learned anything about triangulation — that if you simply occupy the far left, you leave the center open to Republicans. Youngkin seized on that opening, while not alienating conservatives. He adroitly motivated both the center and the right to vote for him.
Were he a Never Trump RINO, the chattering class could take his victory in stride. But he is not one. Had he run a Romney-like campaign, he would have lost. Instead, he appealed to the right, even as he poached independents from McAuliffe. His victory shows that a more or less orthodox Republican with a winning personality can win even in a blue-trending state.
Having devoted so much energy to portraying Youngkin as a Trump proxy, liberals pundits were left sputtering over his success. What they hoped would be a repudiation of Trump ended up exposing the exhaustion of their anti-Trump politics. As the people suffer from real crises under Biden, the Democrats find it harder to scare them about the fake ones under Trump.
At CNN, Van Jones called Youngkin’s victory “the emergence of the delta variant of Trumpism.” He called it the “same disease, but spreads a lot faster and can get a lot more places.” In other words, the people are sick. It would never occur to the Democrats that the ideas they peddle are sick.
Instead of admitting that wokeness is just one big experiment against common sense, they accuse parents of “white grievance” if they object to public schools that treat their children as budding racists. They call parents extremists for nothing more than objecting to transgender bathrooms in their children’s schools.
Capturing this scorn for parents perfectly, Nicole Wallace on MSNBC gasped, “I think the real ominous thing is that critical race theory, which isn’t real, turned the suburbs 15 points to the Trump insurrection-endorsed Republican. What do Democrats do about that?”
A few Democrats and liberal pundits criticized McAuliffe for not running as a problem solver. But how could he? The whole point of the wokeness that he perfectly represented is not to solve problems but to create them. It is an inherently unserious ideology that postures at the expense of the essential functions of government. Whatever changes Democrats make in the coming days, they won’t involve altering that ideology. Their anger at McAuliffe is directed not at his unbalanced statist views but at the impolitic manner in which he blurted them out. (RELATED: Youngkin’s Win May Save the Land of the Free and the Home of the Braves)
We need to fool a benighted people better — that will be the upshot of the advice from Democratic Party consultants. The party against parents will be told to make more of an effort to conceal its resentment of them. But the Democrats may have become too dogmatic and delusional to take that advice. Their willfulness militates against any moderation. At some level, they would rather be woke than win.