Virginians will have their say at the polls next Tuesday, Nov. 2 when voting takes place for the candidates of their choice running for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, House of Delegates and several local offices. As they head to the polls, hopefully in record numbers, the nation will be watching. With all eyes on Virginia, particularly among party lines, anticipation is rising over what the results will mean for Democrats and Republicans and the power they will gain — or lose — in the next U.S. Congress in 2022.
Already one of the most expensive races in Virginia’s history, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and Glenn Youngkin (R) have reportedly raised more than $44 million and $42 million, respectively, in their bids for governor in a state where there are no limits on campaign contributions. Most of McAuliffe’s donations have come from supporters and predominantly labor unions, while Youngkin, the former CEO of the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, donated a significant amount of his own money to his campaign.
Still, the polls suggest that the candidates are facing a heated tie with McAuliffe pulling only a slight lead over Youngkin among voters. But the real test will be voter participation, particularly among Black voters who have proven to be the most influential voting bloc in both national and local elections.
Black voters need to be mindful that Joe Biden would not have won the presidential nomination had it not been for African-American voters in South Carolina. Raphael Warnock would not have become the third Black person serving in the U.S. Senate had it not been for Black voters, who also helped to give the Democrats the one-person majority they now hold. And, in states including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada and Arizona, it was Black voters who helped to boot former President Donald Trump out of office in last November’s presidential election.
The Democratic agenda, promised by Biden and stalled by Republicans, including voting rights and police reform, as well as jobs, health care, the environment, infrastructure and child care, has left Black voters disillusioned. Failure to deliver has significantly hurt the Biden administration as the President’s approval rating continues to decline.
Still, Black voters cannot afford to give up, give out or give in when it comes to speaking out on the streets and speaking up at the polls. They must ask themselves what Trump asked them in his first election, “What do you have to lose?” That alone should be enough to inspire Black voters to flood the polls in Virginia on November 2.
Black voters do matter.