A viral clip of Barack Obama surfaced on Twitter Oct. 24, showing the former president at an event to support Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s gubernatorial campaign, a high-level addition to the string of other Democratic politicians giving a lift. Some see this race as foreshadowing the outcome of the 2022 midterm elections, testing Democrat Party popularity in a critical political stronghold. Despite Joe Biden’s victory in the state by more than 10 points in the 2020 contest, polls continue to show McAuliffe neck and neck with Republican contender Glenn Youngkin, as the president’s historic unpopularity continues to skyrocket.
During a stump speech for McAuliffe, Obama practically begged the crowd not to engage in or pay attention to the ongoing “trumped-up culture wars” and “fake outrage” occurring throughout the country. Obama’s focus likely stemmed from alarms being raised after McAuliffe argued in a debate that parents should not interfere with what their children are being taught in school. Immediately, conservative news outlets and social media pounced, rightfully criticizing the ridiculousness of asserting that parents must allow the state to indoctrinate their children as it saw fit.
In the last month, Virginia’s Loudon County’s school board was heavily criticized for allegedly burying reports of a sexual assault at Stone Bridge High School. The story was eventually exposed when the victim’s father attempted to question the school board in a heated exchange about his daughter’s alleged molester, a boy wearing a skirt who entered the girls’ bathroom. It turned out school officials allowed the accused student to transfer high schools and then assault another student just five months later. When faced with the father’s ire, school authorities had him arrested at the meeting. In the aftermath of the incident, Attorney General Merrick Garland directed the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office to crack down on dissent from parents at school board open sessions.
The main reason for the roiling culture wars is Democrats’ unwillingness to stand up to fringe members of their party who insist that American society is fundamentally flawed, unfair, and evil. Of course, most of the battles take place on Twitter, home of cancel culture and vengeful Americans seeking to overhaul society in their ideal utopian vision
Republicans are raising alarms since establishment Democrats seem to ignore the significant issues of economic anxieties of working-class Americans over inflation at the grocery store and gas pump, pandemic concerns, and supply chain disruptions. Under normal circumstances, the Democratic Party would have nothing to fear in the Virginia governor’s race. The large margin of victory for Biden in 2020 would typically grease the way to success in a statewide election held just a year later.
But the ongoing culture war is heating up. The president has been under attack from all sides, angering progressives for his inability to get support from Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) on climate change and social spending proposals and also irritating moderates with the high price tag. With no major legislative successes to brag about, Democrats are left with only controversial cultural issues on which to campaign.
Republicans are fighting back, and Obama’s plea for Democrats to tune out the reality of America’s degrading culture and simply submit to the decisions of bureaucrats and higher authorities largely is falling on deaf ears.
~ Read more from Jose Backer.