Youngkin Becomes Trumpier By the Day; Backs Election Audits, Rejects Plan to Mitigate Climate Risks
Glenn Youngkin is a test case for Republicans nationally. The GOP candidate for Governor in Virginia is attempting to portray himself as a Trump-lite candidate, Trump without the insane tweets and the Mexican rapist and injectable disinfectant nonsense. Youngkin is certainly a more polished candidate and without all the sexual assault baggage. However, as his contest with former Governor Terry McAuliffe approaches the finish line, and behind by about 5% in recent polls, Youngkin has adopted some Trumpian policies to satisfy the Republican base.
Election "Audit": This week Youngkin again called for an "audit" of Virginia's voting machines. echoing the Republican push to investigate 2020 election results around the country because of Donald Trump’s unfounded and increasing bizarre claims of election fraud. Youngkin differentiates himself from the "My Pillow" guy and Rudy Guillini by saying that he believes that Joe Biden won the election, but that the state owes it to voters who doubt the integrity of the process. He conveniently ignores the statewide audit that was completed immediately after the election.
Politico: "Virginia’s state elections department has already conducted a post-election audit, running a statewide “risk-limiting audit” for the first time after the last election. The process tests the accuracy of voting machines and has been increasingly embraced by election security professionals as a safety measure to guarantee accurate vote counts. The Virginia audit confirmed the 2020 results in the state."
There is no rational reason to call for another election audit unless it's simply to signal to the GOP's Trumpist base that you support their unfounded claims of election fraud.
Conservative columnist Bill Kristol: “Youngkin has a pattern. He keeps silent on questions about Trump or Jan. 6 as long as possible. Then he winks and nods to the conspiratorial voters in his base. Then he walks back these gestures with mealy-mouthed half-answers. Then he blames the media.”
Climate Change: Youngkin still doesn't have a policy or platform page on his campaign website, and is loathe to utter the words climate change, so determining his views is difficult. So far, Youngkin's strategy is to accuse McAuliffe and current Democratic Governor Ralph Northam of moving too boldly to fight global warming and alleges that their strategy to eliminate fossil fuels in the electricity sector by 2035 is too ambitious. Oddly, however, in a coastal state that is already experiencing the results of global warming and rising sea levels, Youngkin has no plan to address climate change.
EnergyWire: "Youngkin said he wouldn’t have signed [Gov. Northam's] clean energy legislation if he were governor, but did not outline a competing climate change plan, except to say that the state “should embrace all energy sources.”
So, his energy policy, his climate policy, is to do nothing, except, perhaps, role back provisions of Gov. Northam's Clean Economy Act. That might be acceptable in a coal state like West Virginia, but it's a monumental abdication of responsibility in a coastal state with cities like Norfolk already facing flooding from sea-level rise.
Youngkin's Big Lie: If you read through Youngkin's explanation for his decision to run, you might get the impression that things aren't going well in the Commonwealth, and Youngkin seems to predicate his campaign on Virginians packing up to leave the state; "People are voting with their feet and leaving the Commonwealth." That's a rather bold lie, and one that's easy to disprove. According the census data, Virginia's population grew 7.9% between 2010 and 2020, faster than the national average over the past 10 years. If population patterns matter, it seems like Virginia has been doing quite well over the last decade. Perhaps Youngkin is confusing Virginia with the GOP stronghold next door, West Virginia. That state's population shrank by 3.2% over the past decade.
The truth is that Democratic Governor, Ralph Northam has maintained a net positive approval rating, and 52% of voters approve of his handling of the economy and 54% approve of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. He is, and has been, a popular governor and his pandemic policies have been widely lauded as reasonable, balanced, and informed by science. And, as other states struggled financially through the Covid crisis, Virginia reported a $2.6 billion surplus and was honored as America's Top State for Business.
Virginians have a clear choice. They can elect former Gov. Terry McAuliffe who will closely follow Northam's climate, fiscal, and pandemic policies and reject Trump's election fraud nonsense, or embrace the chaos and insanity of Donald Trump's Republican Party.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content