Factions of Democrats are blaming each other for the loss in Virginia, furthering tension in an internal divide which has already been deepening for years, despite the inauguration of their candidate President Biden. “Progressives” and “moderates” within the party are feuding over the results and arguing about failed gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe should have done to secure what should have been an easy victory.
Factions blame each other for defeat
The “moderate” wing of the party has blamed a progressive failure to seek compromise or work with opponents to pass aspects of the Biden agenda for the defeat.
Progressives blame the moderates for trying to slow or water down key proposals which they say would otherwise have encouraged Virginians to vote for McAuliffe.
Neither side seems to be considering that voters might actually dislike the ends towards which the entire party is working.
The unexpected surge in support for Glenn Youngkin seems to have stemmed both from dismal approval ratings for Joe Biden and from a specific set of issues which galvanized opposition to McAuliffe.
Understanding the first of these factors won’t do much to help Democrats in either faction of the party. Both, ultimately, feel that Biden is unpopular because he is not ramming through enough of his agenda.
The infighting largely surrounds the methods being employed by the administration. No one seems to be willing to even consider the possibility that the party platform does not appeal to many Americans.
No lessons learned
The fact that this hubris continues to infect the party in the aftermath of defeat is a sign that there will be no coherent change in strategy prior to the midterm elections in 2022, in which Republicans hope to expand on their gains.
Democrats cannot even consider addressing the possibility that genuine opposition to central aspects of their social agenda and plan for America’s future are deeply unpopular with normal Americans.
In Virginia it was the fight over critical race theory that gave Youngkin his victory. Neither faction of Democrat is willing to critically address this issue or ask why voters rejected it so resoundingly.
The party has instead largely denied that it exists, while simultaneously accusing voters of being white supremacists for being upset about having it taught to their children.
If neither faction of the party is willing to concede that Virginia parents had a right to be angry about this issue then neither faction will understand how to avoid a similar defeat in the next election.
Both progressive and moderate wings of the Democrats should have this debate loudly and publicly so that the voters of 2022 are fully aware that they are still as out of touch as ever.