Rural Voters, Guns, and Decentralization Sank the Democrats in Virginia
America’s growing rural divide is not going away any time soon. Recent gubernatorial elections in Virginia have rekindled talk about an inevitable Republican resurgence during the 2022 midterms. History has repeatedly shown the party outside of the White House making gains during the midterms elections, one of the most predictable trends of election cycles in American history.
However, what’s more intriguing is some of the new trends that are gradually crystallizing as fixtures of twenty-first-century politics, namely, soft secession. Although Virginia’s 2021 elections had the trappings of an off-year election, what took place below the surface was simply too enticing to ignore.
There was much talk about the suburban vote in Virginia, and justifiably so. Running under the Republican banner, Glenn Youngkin improved Republican margins with voters in major suburbs across the state by hammering away at the latest iteration of leftist curricula engulfing public schools in the Old Dominion.
But there’s a forgotten man behind Youngkin’s electoral success: the rural voter. This vote was strong not only in terms of the percentages but also in terms of turnout, which was able to take Youngkin across the finish line. For example, Donald Trump only beat Joe Biden 52–46 percent among rural voters during the 2020 elections. Youngkin dramatically expanded upon the victory margin, winning the rural vote by a decisive 63–36 percent margin, according to an exit poll by Edison Research.
Political onlookers were enthralled by Youngkin’s strong rural performance. Some pundits at the milquetoast conservative outlet The Bulwark even described Youngkin’s victory margins in rural areas as “Assad-like.” The culturally radical path the Virginia Democratic Party has taken since it achieved a trifecta in 2019 offers a glimpse of what caused such an electoral backlash. Specifically, gun policy stands out as an underrated factor behind the strong rural reaction against Virginia Democrats.
Much of this vote likely came on the heels of the bud
Article from Mises Wire