On the McAuliffe-Youngkin Virginia Gubernatorial Race

At this point, it take no political prescience to predict that Republican Virginian Gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin has a good chance to defeat his Democratic opponent, former Virginia Governor and longtime Clinton aide Terry McAuliffe, in Tuesday’s Virginia Gubernatorial race.  The polling trends currently favor Mr. Youngkin; in a state particularly influenced by national politics, Mr. McAuliffe’s fortunes cannot help but be affected by President Joe Biden’s dropping favorability ratings, that Congressional Democrats currently don’t look like they can run a two-car funeral, and the inevitable voter backlash immediately following presidential elections against whichever party then occupies the White House.  I would suggest that there is, also, the visceral.  Looking at pictures of Messrs. Youngkin and McAuliffe, an observation occurred to me from one of the blizzard of books I have read over the years describing the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon campaign:  that in an era when Americans were migrating from the east to the west coast, and so many seemingly marvelous new things were being advertised and brought to the American people – televisions, dishwashers, automatic vehicle transmissions, instant coffee ;), toothpastes with new and improved formulas to make one’s teeth gleam – John Kennedy – exuding vigor and a bright smile as contrasted with the old, bald men of both parties who had run the country for decades — was aligned with America’s aspirations as he proclaimed a New Frontier, that we needed to get the country moving again  … while Richard Nixon was in effect left to argue that the old ways were still good.

The reaction of someone very close to me, when looking at a picture of Mr. McAuliffe, was that he “looked tired.”  Mr. Youngkin – who, from a handicapping standpoint, has seemingly done a good job maintaining Trumplicans’ support without embracing former President Donald Trump in a way that antagonizes and energizes those Virginians who detest Mr. Trump – looks young and vital.  I consider President Bill Clinton the best pure politician of my lifetime; one of his most-quoted observations is, “Campaigns are about the future.”  Putting aside the fact that if a Virginian, I would most certainly vote for Mr. McAuliffe, to me he looks like yesterday.

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