Politics Explained

Youngkin’s victory in Virginia is not just a setback for the Democrats

One shouldn’t put too much faith in any single result, but there may just be emerging the outlines of a post-Biden, post-Trump, and more normalised pattern of politics in the 2020s than seemed possible even a few years ago, writes Sean O’Grady

Thursday 04 November 2021 00:31
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<p>The Virginia vote proves, at least arguably, that the Republicans can win without Trump</p>

The Virginia vote proves, at least arguably, that the Republicans can win without Trump

Glenn Youngkin is the very happy new governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He’s a Republican, in a state where the Democratic candidate, Terry McAuliffe, was expected to win. In party terms it’s plainly good news for the Republicans and bad news for the Democrats. In terms of presidential political terms, though, there’s a case for saying that Mr Youngkin’s victory represents something of a setback for both Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Arguably it may be part of a trend in coming months that makes it somewhat less likely that these senior gentlemen will be running again in 2024. It also means that next year’s mid-term elections and control of Congress may be up for grabs again.

Of the two, it is Biden who is probably the bigger loser. Virginia is a state he carried last November, and one he might have expected to hold this early in his administration. On his way to the Cop26 summit on climate change – not a cause universally acclaimed in the United States – President Biden declared “We’re going to win.” He could hardly say anything else, but he probably meant it.

Biden boasts comparatively poor poll ratings in this, his honeymoon period – some of the lowest in recent times, in fact, though funnily enough not as weak as those of President Trump at the equivalent point in his presidency.

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