Why Glenn Young’s presidential bid makes sense for the Republican Party

It’s a matter of taste, to be sure, but many people don’t see Young’s pain. His approval ratings among Virginians are 58 percent. According to a recent Roanoke College poll. Those who recoil at his rhetorical inconsistencies and the clear calculation behind them are concentrated here in large numbers around the state capital: lawmakers or local reporters who see what they see as his unseemly rush to pursue national ambitions are stiffed by a governor who doesn’t care much. About their questions.

When politicians are at both ends of the keyboard — sounding out grievances and aspirations with equal fluency — they often go too far. This spring, Youngin will be forced to make a decision about how far and how fast he wants to go. A year and a half ago, for the first time in politics, he was only elected as a governor, should he contest the presidential election?

The reasons for suspicion are quite simple. The Republican donor and operating class who want to put Trump out of their misery — who need Young if he runs — worry that the field of candidates will grow too large and split the anti-Trump vote. The biography of Young, a wealthy private-equity executive known for his fervent religiosity, bears a superficial resemblance to Mitt Romney. The 2012 candidate is an establishment natural and may have won some suburban independents that Donald Trump never could — but not enough to make up for his lack of populist energy.

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While Romney was unable to win over voters — and an intriguing addition to the field — the reasons for Young’s victory are more complex. Republicans are divided on the issue of secession. Do people want an end to the politics of confrontation and bombast that Trump and his one-time protégé, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, represent? Or has exploitation of the Democratic Party’s cultural and ideological transgressions paved the way to defeat President Joe Biden? Young’s potential appeal is that there’s no need to decide—just say yes to both questions.

Shy at first, Youngin gained national attention for one important reason: He showed a coalition of voters who preferred Donald Trump that the former president could hijack without his own reputation and candidacy. His victory was fueled significantly by the national election climate and the self-inflicted wounds of his modestly competent opponent, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

On second blush, it seems clear that Young’s rise owed much to a stark confluence of circumstances. In terms of political skills, he’s as skilled as any other Republican hoping to stave off Trump’s return as the party’s nominee next year — but in different ways. In the near term, Yunkin has many obstacles. If he beats them on his way to the GOP nomination, McAuliffe’s experience leaves no doubt that he will be a formidable opponent for President Joseph Biden or another Democratic candidate.

The contrast with DeSantis is telling. The Florida governor’s rise has been driven in large part by his zeal for cultural and ideological slapstick-picking, as well as his battles with the Walt Disney Company over a state bill that would have banned public schools from discussing sexism or gender identity before the fourth grade. The appeal is essentially Trumpism without Trump.

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Young also continues to wade into the cultural politics revolving around public education, including topics such as whether schools teach racial history. He was scored for being slow to say that local high schools in Northern Virginia had won merit scholarship awards for students because school officials believed these violated equity principles. During her election, she clashed with school officials in Loudoun County over their handling of a female classmate who sexually assaulted a female student in a skirt-wearing male classmate. Like DeSantis, he often speaks about these issues on popular platforms like Fox News.

However, unlike DeSantis, he has also at other moments sounded like a Republican version of Bill Clinton’s 1990s centrism. He says the GOP should avoid boycott rhetoric and ideological litmus tests. “What I saw in Virginia, and I think I’m seeing across this country, is whether we really need to bring people into the Republican Party, we need to include, no. [rely on] Subtraction.” (For more from Young’s interview, see my colleague Daniel Lipman’s report.)

At a time when many politicians insist MobilizationYoungin said his experience shows that politicians need to revive this art, too—appealing to voters who are already natural supporters based on grievances. persuasion.

Virginia is the state with most statewide races trending Democratic in recent years. “People thought it was purple,” Youngin said, but in reality “it was a very beautiful blue…. To persuade many people who had never voted Republican, yes, to bring in new ones. Their lives.”

George W., who actually became president. The truth is that Young is no more an improved version of Mitt Romney than Bush. By accident rather than design, Young’s characterization is more like “compassionate conservatism” that Bush was elected in 2000 and then retreated as he became warlord after 9/11 and the Iraq War. This is reflected in improved state mental health services – “no one is immune to this crisis” – and a government partnership with the impoverished and predominantly black city of Petersburg, south of the capital.

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Like Bush early in his national career, Youngin combines a wealthy elite background with an endearing sense of humor — Youngin played Division I basketball at Rice — that lends itself to populist messages. Like Bush, his political persona is intertwined with overt religiosity. “Can you say grace quickly?” He asked during a recent interview. Assured it was fine by his more secular audience, he said a minute’s prayer aloud to Heavenly Father, thanked him for a meal of fried chicken tacos and “asked for his blessing on the members of the General Assembly and the work we’re about to do . . .”

As he ponders the presidential election, Young looks for guidance from a higher authority than political journalists. Even so, the political press has an obvious interest in his answer: Young’s candidacy would be an entertaining addition to the 2024 race. It will test the hypothesis that there is a future for a brand of GOP politics that lies somewhere between the nihilism of Trumpism and the stagnation of Romnism.

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