Democrats’ Virginia Election Debacle: Who is to Blame?

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The Virginia Election’s results are a warning sign for what is to come if the Democrats remain split.

Emmanuelle Desmet, Staff Writer

The Democratic Party is currently in crisis mode due to Republican businessman, Glenn Youngkin, gubernatorial election win over Democratic candidate and former governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe. This defeat is extremely concerning for Democrats considering McAuliffe was the clear favorite to win the race. Indeed, President Biden won Virginia by a solid 10 points in the 2020 presidential election, and thus it was predicted that the state would go blue once again this year. There might be a reason behind this shocking realization; Democrats are failing to unify and meet constituents’ demands.

“I think Terry McAuliffe is more equipped to be Virginia’s governor because he knows the severity of this pandemic and why it is necessary to consider the safety of his people,” sophomore Steffi-Sarmiento Mena said.

This situation is a complete disaster for a party that is already on incredibly shaky ground going into the 2022 midterm elections. Youngkin’s victory signals to Democrats that they are desperately failing to connect with many voters. Despite a consistent media narrative stating that fears surrounding critical race theory are to blame for the Democratic loss, the real reason Youngkin won is because he took advantage of voters’ resentment with the current state of affairs in Washington as his progressive promises aren’t being met.

Polling has consistently shown a significant dip in President Biden’s approval rating over the course of the last few months. This is largely due to legislative failures to pass his Build Back Better social spending bill. Who better to blame for this issue than Senators Manchin and Sinema?

I think Democrats can see, through the election in Virginia, that wins for one party are never secure and that just because the state went blue during the presidential election does not mean it will stay that way forever,”

— sophomore Steffi Sarmiento-Mena

“I really liked how McAuliffe campaigned with a mask mandate and had plans to help his state with the current situation of COVID-19. Sadly most voters did not feel the same way,” sophomore Rosibel Garcia said.

These two “centrist” senators have been sabotaging their own party’s agenda and political fortunes under the guise of “bipartisanship,” ultimately, affecting elections from the local to national level. They have repeatedly objected to ambitious plans to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure due to the cost, and have even objected to such measures as paid family leave, affordable healthcare and affordable childcare, which are human rights that should not be up for debate.

To make matters worse, while both of them have offered criticism after criticism of the social spending bill, they have been completely unwilling to compromise or offer any suggestions to improve the bill. On the other hand, progressives, led by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, have worked tirelessly with more moderate Democrats to find common ground.

If Manchin and Sinema continue to derail progress for the sake of short-term economic growth instead of agreeing to long-term measures that will both strengthen the economy and help ordinary Americans, their inaction will have catastrophic effects for the country and the world. For example, Senator Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia whose primary constituents are coal miners, is opposing a provision in the Build Back Better Act that would invest in green infrastructure and energy for no other motive than pure political gain.

Since Democrats control Congress by the slimmest of margins, if even one or two Democrats were to oppose this bill, it would be effectively killed and would not get the chance to go to the president’s desk. As a result, the most ambitious part of the president’s agenda will not see the light of day, and consequently the climate crisis will continue to worsen.

We recently saw a conservative win the gublernational election, thus if this dire situation in Congress continues, Democrats will most likely suffer tremendously in the midterms. Everything will be on the line, such as abortion rights that may be compromised under Republican leaders. New laws similar to that of the restrictive Texas abortion law could pass, and criminal and environmental justice reform will likely be stifled.

Democrats and voters must hold Senators Manchin and Sinema accountable for their intransigence; otherwise, countless Americans will continue to suffer from ineffectual and unambitious government policies. Even though we live in an incredibly unfair world in which young people must pay for the mistakes of the older generation that Manchin and Sinema belong to, we can and must keep fighting for a cleaner planet and the right to bodily autonomy.