Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is about as extreme as they come, as far as right-wing ideology is concerned.
He’s parroted former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 election, and he’s been noncommittal in acknowledging Joe Biden as the legitimate president. And, as ReidOut Blog readers know well, he centered his gubernatorial campaign largely on his support for the bigoted effort to ban discussions about racism and discrimination from classrooms.
Politico reported Monday that Youngkin will join Kari Lake, Arizona's Trump-endorsed GOP nominee for governor, for a series of campaign events and fundraisers in October.
Youngkin is expected to hold political and fundraising events for Lake. As in other trips, he is likely to focus heavily on education policy — an issue he made a centerpiece of his upset 2021 win in Virginia’s race, where he made inroads with suburban voters who had turned against the Republican Party during former President Donald Trump’s administration.
A few things to note, as a native Arizonan. One way to view these scheduled events is as an attempt to help Lake soften her acerbically conservative image by placing a polite bigot like Youngkin at her side. In theory, that would seem like a sound strategy to appeal to conservative-leaning Arizonans who’ve traditionally backed other ostensibly polite partisans for statewide office, such as GOP Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain.
Lake will need those kinds of conservative voters — who back oppressive Republicanism but not necessarily Trumpian theatrics — to beat Democratic opponent Katie Hobbs this fall. Although I find it hard to believe they’ve not already resigned themselves to being in Lake's corner.
But I think there’s a more sinister plot at play, which Politico alludes to with their claim Youngkin is going to Arizona to discuss “education policy” (an apparent euphemism for education bans). That’s a place where Youngkin and Arizona’s extremist Republican Party are in lockstep. In fact, when Youngkin goes to Arizona selling his view of a whitewashed education, he’ll be pitching to conservatives who are even more familiar with the practice than he is.
Arizona has a long history of racist, conservative educational repression. This was detailed most recently in a federal report finding dozens of boarding schools that were used in the 19th and 20th centuries to brutally indoctrinate and assimilate Native Americans. And back in April, I wrote about Arizona Republicans’ decadelong, ongoing crusade against school teachings about the experiences of nonwhite people. That crusade has led to the passage of an Arizona’s law that makes it easier for parents to sue teachers who "usurp" their parental rights to direct their children's "upbringing."
Youngkin is sure to find a receptive audience when he pitches his exclusionary vision for American education. And it’s pretty revealing that Arizona Republicans are leaning on him to deliver what amounts to a closing message before the midterms in November. It shows they’re still wedded to right-wing extremism. Only now, they’re trying to put a kinder face on it.