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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Progress in Peril as Republicans Take Over Virginia

Glenn Youngkin at an election night party. Youngkin won Virginia’s governor race on November 2. (Courtesy of PBS).

In a disheartening development, Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin defeated former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s gubernatorial election on November 2. By electing Youngkin, Virginia struck a devastating blow against decency and progress in the Commonwealth.

Youngkin centered his campaign around divisive culture wars. He blasted COVID restrictions. He vowed to eliminate mask and vaccine mandates. His central campaign pledge was to ban critical race theory in public schools

What is truly absurd is that critical race theory is an academic framework on racial justice that is not even taught in public schools to begin with. The fact that Youngkin prevailed by undermining science and inciting false fears is deeply disturbing.  

Youngkin’s victory also endangers years of progress in Virginia. Over the past two years of Democratic leadership, Virginia has passed clean energy bills, implemented background checks on firearm sales, expanded healthcare access, and made voting more accessible

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Youngkin opposes these initiatives and has promised to “change the trajectory of the commonwealth.” It is likely that Youngkin will attempt to repeal progressive policies, and implement new restrictions on abortion.

Fortunately, Youngkin’s power will not be unchecked. Democrats still maintain a fragile one-seat majority in the Virginia state senate and can halt Youngkin’s more radical proposals. Critically, many WIS seniors and juniors will have the opportunity to defend that majority in the 2023 legislative elections. 

Tuesday’s defeats were a bitter pill to swallow. Glenn Youngkin and his Republican allies will undoubtedly seek to return Virginia to the past. In the end, progress will depend on the resolve of the Virginia State Senate and the commitment of young voters like us.

By Zachary S. Pan

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