Virginia's GOP Gubernatorial Candidate; a Culture Warrior Without Specific Policy Proposals
Glenn Youngkin is the GOP's candidate for VA Governor and will face off against former Gov. Terry McAuliffe this Fall. He is a wealthy private equity manager and former co-CEO of The Carlyle Group. He's stated that he will invest up to $75 million of his fortune to win the election but has said almost nothing about why he is running or much about what he will do if he wins. He is the Commonwealth's stealth candidate, and that should be a red flag to anyone who might consider voting for him. Generally, when a candidate isn't forthcoming with policy positions, it's either because they haven't really thought much about them [Trump's nonexistent healthcare plan, for instance], or because they fear a thorough discussion of their positions.
If you visit Youngkin's website, the first thing you notice is that there is no page of policy positions, and if you search the site for a campaign platform you will be disappointed. Quite literally, there is not one word on the site explaining why he seeks the office. Well, OK, he does say that it's "time for a new day in Virginia," whatever that means.
However, as he sought the Republican nomination, Youngkin spoke like a culture warrior, promising to end abortion and roll back the moderate, commonsense gun regulations passed last year in Virginia.
Youngkin, Washington Post: "We will protect the Second Amendment and our right to keep and bear arms," he told a cheering crowd on May 11, the night he was crowned the nominee. "Friends, together, all of us, we will protect the life of every Virginia child born and unborn."
More recently, having secured the nomination, Youngkin, has pivoted to bread and butter issues like jobs and schools, but without offering specific proposals. And, when pressed on his views in guns and abortion, the candidate now evades the issues.
Washington Post: "Asked during an interview with The Washington Post on Friday how he would like to change state laws on guns and abortion, Youngkin repeatedly evaded the topics. When pressed, he noted that he is “pro-life” and that he will “stand up for our constitutional rights.” But to every request for specific policy goals on abortion and guns, two of his signature issues, Youngkin offered the same jobs-schools-safety mantra."
Recently, we got an inside look at his campaign strategy. It's fairly simple; be evasive while discussing issues that will turn off moderates and independents, while winking and nodding to the Republican base. And, you don't have to theorize about his tactics, he actually said it.
The Hill: "In a clip posted online by the liberal news site the American Independent, Youngkin was asked if he would “take it to the abortionists,” to which he responded that he was “staunchly, unabashedly” anti-abortion but could not discuss the issue much ahead of the November election."
“I’m going to be really honest with you. The short answer is in this campaign, I can’t. When I’m governor and I have a majority in the House we can start going on offense. But as a campaign topic, sadly, that in fact won’t win my independent votes that I have to get,” he said."
So, Youngkin's campaign strategy is to outspend Terry McAuliffe buying ads that say almost nothing about his intended policies. He plans to obfuscate his actual views until he is elected.
And, thus far, his ads are mostly issue-free, focused solely on creating the image of an "outsider," touting his lack of experience in government.
Before Donald Trump there may have been an allure to wealthy candidates from the business community without any experience and unwilling to offer specific proposals on complex or controversial topics, but I suspect the attraction has waned a bit after the last four years. Generally rich outsiders that trumpet their lack of experience in governing are telling us something important; they have no idea how to make government more responsive to the needs of the people. They simply want power for the sake of having power.
But Glenn Youngkin's candidacy may be the worst possible scenario; a candidate that wants to hide their very specific views regarding social issues like guns and abortion while having no concrete proposals to improve education or healthcare or reform the criminal justice system. That is indeed a stealth candidate and one Virginians should steer clear of.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content