In the late hours of Nov. 2 Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin claimed victory as the next governor of Virginia.

The Virginia election result was an important win for Republicans, but a huge blow to Democrats who are in a frenzy to win back the U.S. Congress in 2022. Although the Virginia gubernatorial race tightened in its last days, Terry McAuliffe was still projected to win, even if by a slim margin.

Virginia has not had a Republican governor since 2014, with two Democratic victories in the last seven years Terry McAuliffe and Ralph Northam. Both Virginia senators are also democrats and win easily every election cycle.

With these factors in mind, a Republican win in Virginia would seem unlikely. 

Despite Virginia’s recent Democratic tendencies, Governor-elect Youngkin seemed to appeal to voters in a much more convincing way than Donald Trump ever did.

Throughout his campaign, Youngkin had a love/hate relationship with former President Trump.

During the beginning of his campaign, he touted his allegiance to Trump, citing multiple endorsements by the former President, not to mention Youngkin embracing the election conspiracy theories. 

However, as the race tightened,Youngkin attempted and prevailed to shield Trump from Virginia. Some even say he may have pleaded with him to stay out of Virginia to help win him the election. 

Although Virginians as a whole are repulsed by Trump’s demeanor and behavior, what this election proved was that the Republican talking points still greatly appeal to Virginia voters. 

Youngkin won the election for one reason: a lie. 

The latest fear tactic that the Republicans have instilled in their electorate is something that does not exist in Virginia (or really any other) public school: critical race theory.

In simple terms, critical race theory is an idea that the world’s socio-economic society and general success are rigged in the favor of white people. 

Whether or not individuals believe this theory is immaterial. What is more important is the blatant lie that Youngkin continually spouted about how “critical race theory” is ruining our schools and education system when, in fact, critical race theory is never mentioned, much less taught in K-12 public schools. In my opinion, Youngkin won because he did not act like Trump. 

I do not know what kind of governor Glenn Youngkin will be. I can assume he will be like other extreme governors, banning mask mandates, whining about the elusive “critical race theory”, and complaining that Democrats are trying to expand healthcare. 

His comments about the right to have an abortion are also extremely concerning. In Texas and Mississippi, state governments are trying to strip away the right to choose. We certainly do not want to end up like states trying to absolve Roe v. Wade.

Democrats’ only hope in Virginia is to possibly hold onto slim majorities in the state legislature, blocking Youngkin from pushing his far-right agenda on Virginians. 

I consider Governor-elect Youngkin’s victory an anomaly.  The reason he won, along with Glenn Youngkin’s lie about critical race theory, is that Virginia holds off-year elections, meaning we elect a governor the year after a President is elected. 

Voters often do not come out to the polls. Given that we had just elected a President, it may not feel like there is an “important” election taking place. 

I support giving all new politicians a chance.  However, I believe that embracing Donald Trump and spreading election conspiracy theories, and basing a large portion of your campaign on a lie should be an automatic disqualification for anyone coming into elected office.

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