Contrary to what the left or establishment Republicans might suggest, President Donald J. Trump is still leader of the Republican Party. He's generating massive crowds at rallies, he's raising tens of millions of dollars, and the power of his endorsement can change the course of any race for the better for any candidate whom he endorses.
In the Virginia governor's race, Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin has been trying to distance himself from the former president, assuming he cannot win otherwise. This thinking makes sense on the surface, as President Joe Biden handily defeated Trump by 10 percent in Virginia in 2020.
The Youngkin team's strategy seems to be to flip as many Biden voters as possible to the Republican column in this rare off-election cycle.
There is only one problem — he isn't flipping enough Biden voters to win. And his team is underestimating the power of the Trump vote.
In a latest poll by Ogden & Fry, only 3 percent of Biden voters are planning to vote for the Republican challenger. And that is not going to get it done if the same proportion of Biden and Trump voters turn out in November 2021 as they did in 2020.
The poll shows that Youngkin will fall 2-3 percent short of victory if he sticks to his strategy of distancing himself from Trump.
But all is not lost, and Youngkin can right the ship by turning out 2020 Trump voters at a greater pace than former Gov. Terry McAuliffe can turn out 2020 Biden voters. But that may be hard to do if Youngkin refuses to accept any help from the popular and influential former president.
No one disputes that Trump can turn out a crowd and, turn out the base of his supporters to the polls. So, who exactly are the voters Youngkin needs to work on?
It's simple: strongly modeled Republican voters who voted in the 2020 general election but did not vote in the 2017 or 2019 Virginia elections. But to do that, he is going to need some help from a familiar voice — the endorsement from President Donald Trump.
Former Gov. McAuliffe is a seasoned political veteran, and he sees the polls and he knows that President Biden is more of a liability than an asset on the campaign trail. And in a Zoom call recently he said as much, making the point that Biden is ''unpopular.''
A powerful statement coming from a respected Democratic operative and Washington-insider — and Democratic nominee for governor.
Just last week, a Quinnipiac poll gave Biden his lowest approval ratings of his presidency. Since February, Biden's approval rating has dropped 12 percent from 50 percent down to 38 percent. Three weeks ago, his approval rating was 42 percent. And if history is any indication, in another month, his approval ratings could be even lower.
Biden's failed withdrawal in Afghanistan that led to 13 service members losing their lives and Americans left behind, the continued crisis at the border, his handling of the pandemic, a struggling economy and a Democratic-majority in Congress that can't get anything done, it is all contributing to his unpopularity with Democratic voters. A bad sign for Democrats — especially ones running for office.
Politics is all about timing, and for Youngkin, the time is now — get behind Team Trump or hand the Commonwealth of Virginia over to a party that's imploding at every level.
You want the voters to choose on Election Day, but right now, the choice is yours.
Mark Vargas currently hosts a radio show, "Mark My Words with Mark Vargas" on AM 560 The Answer. From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Vargas served as a civilian within the Office of the Secretary of Defense on a special Iraq task force. In 2009 he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Global War on Terrorism Civilian Service Medal. His civilian service included 14 trips to Baghdad. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markavargas. Read Mark Vargas' Reports — Click Here Now.
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