Editorial

EDITORIAL: A Divided America — or Not

All eyes were on Virginia Tuesday as the nation watched the returns of the elections there and in states across the country. Late-night results of the Virginia races revealed victory for businessman and Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin over former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) in the race for governor.

Black voters were perceived to hold the key in Virginia and hopes were high that they would help to deliver a victory for the Democrats. In the end, polls showed that Virginia Democrats, including Black voters, not only turned out in smaller numbers, but Republicans showed up in greater numbers and delivered a decisive vote for Youngkin and for the first Black woman lieutenant governor, Winsome Sears, also a Republican.

In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder forthrightly said McAuliffe did not do enough to earn the Black vote.

“They [Black voters] couldn’t find anything that motivated them” to vote for McAuliffe, Wilder declared.

Wilder, who is Virginia’s first and only Black governor, said Youngkin called him regularly to talk about the issues. McAuliffe, on the other hand, neglected to address issues of importance to Black voters, and failed to give Black voters any reasons to support him. Youngkin did. Wilder noted how Youngkin repeated during most campaign speeches he made across the state his commitment to include funding for HBCUs in every budget he would present.

Political pundits were left trying to dissect the outcomes of Tuesday’s elections and what they will mean for the 2022 midterms. Do Americans really care about Biden’s Build Back Better agenda stuck in Congress including infrastructure spending, closing the border or environmental issues? Even so, are they more concerned about health care, crime, education and a woman’s right to choose? Do voters, including Black voters, consider such hot button issues as police reform, abortion, racial justice or teaching critical race theories to far to the left? And, how will the death of George Floyd or the absence of Donald Trump influence voters’ attitudes a year from now?

The Republican wins in Virginia and potentially New Jersey may suggest one answer, while the favorable outcomes for two Democratic mayoral candidates – Eric Adams and Michelle Wu – in New York and Boston, respectively, suggest another.

Either way, voters are making the independent choice to vote on issues that matter to them most, and for candidates who represent their interests. That’s American politics — not a nation divided.

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