Submit Content

The Right Note: Six things we learned from the 2021 elections

The Right Note is a biweekly opinion column. The views expressed are solely the author’s.

Virginia voters shook up the national political landscape two weeks ago by electing a Republican statewide ticket just one year after giving Joe Biden a 10% victory.

No doubt, the race was influenced by the current national political environment, including soaring prices of just about everything. But what can Independents and Republican here in Arlington learn from these results?

1. Contrary to some Democrat claims, turnout was not the reason Democrats lost. 2021 saw the most voters ever go to the polls in a gubernatorial election. Across Virginia 54.9% of voters went to the polls this year, up from 47.6% in 2017 and 43% in 2013. Terry McAuliffe received nearly 200,000 more raw votes than Ralph Northam did and still lost by more than 60,000 votes.

2. The Republican statewide ticket made gains in virtually every jurisdiction, including right here in Arlington versus 2020. Governor-Elect Youngkin’s increase of 5.5% of the vote versus President Trump in Arlington nearly equaled his statewide increase of 6.5%. Youngkin did it by communicating on kitchen table issues across Virginia.

3. This election demonstrated a rural rejection of, and suburban reaction to, the Virginia, and in some ways national, Democrats’ leftward policy march. Democrats in Northern Virginia seem to believe they simply have a communication problem, and not a policy problem, when it comes to the disconnect with rural voters. That gap will widen if Democrats insist on telling rural, and even some suburban, voters they are wrong on the issues.

4. For example, parents do not want to be told they have no role in their child’s education. In what was one of the most tone-deaf statements ever, Terry McAuliffe effectively told parents — who were rightly concerned about everything from learning loss, to curriculum, to mandates, to school safety — to sit down and shut up. McAuliffe continued to double down on the sentiment through his closing campaign rally when he invited the national leader of teachers’ unions to be a featured speaker. And McAuliffe was not helped by the Biden Justice Department announcement that they would be using the FBI to investigate parents at school board meetings.

5. Here in Arlington, the Democrat sample ballot remains extremely difficult to beat. From the school bond to the Governor’s race, there was little doubt about how election day would go here in our 26 square miles. Only John Vihstadt has overcome the Democrats sample ballot endorsement in recent memory.

6. However, despite overwhelming support for the Democrat statewide ticket, Arlington voters have not moved very far when it comes to local issues. When I ran for County Board in 2010, Democrat Chris Zimmerman received 58% of the vote versus my 38% (Audrey Clement received the remainder). Zimmerman ran just 5% behind the “top of the ticket,” which that year was Congressman Jim Moran. This year Takis Karantonis received just 60% of the vote compared to nearly 77% for Terry McAuliffe. Running nearly 17% behind the top of the ticket is hardly an overwhelming vote of confidence in how things are going.

Moving forward, we may not yet be able to see a path on the horizon for a Republican to win Arlington in a statewide contest. However, there is still a coalition available of Republicans, Independents and concerned Democrats who would vote for local County Board and School Board candidates who campaign on the right set of issues.

Mark Kelly is a long-time Arlington resident, former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.

Recent Stories

The four people reported to be seriously injured when a car plowed into Ireland’s Four Courts last night may not have survived but for the quick actions of fellow pub-goers…

(Updated at 7:55 a.m.) Ireland’s Four Courts in Courthouse caught fire after a car barreled into it at the height of dinnertime Friday. The fire is now out after a…

After a steamy stretch, Mother Nature is rewarding us with a pair of new-perfect days. We hope you are able to get out there and enjoy the weather tonight and…

Adoptable Pet of the Week: Kimchi

The adorable Kimchi, a black and white Guinea Pig is the newest Adoptable Pet of the Week.

Do you struggle with anxiety, depression, stress, grief, trauma or anger? Are
you ready to make a change?

Lauren K. Nickum, LCSW, CSAC from Peaceful Mind Solutions is now taking new
clients for psychotherapy. Lauren has over 10 years of experience treating
mental health disorders and general life stress in adults and adolescents. For
more information visit
peacefulmindsolutions.com.

Submit your own Community Post here.

(This Community Post was written by Signature Theatre and underwritten by Embracing Arlington Arts.)

Signature Theatre just released single tickets for all 33rd season productions, which highlights the organization’s long-time relationship with legendary composer Stephen Sondheim. Beginning with the musical adaptation of The Color Purple and irreverent No Place to Go, the season continues with three Sondheim musicals, the DC premieres of Off-Broadway hit Which Way to the Stage and Pulitzer Prize finalist Selling Kabul, the Tony Award®-winning rock musical Passing Strange, and return of Signature’s cabaret series honoring legendary artists.

“Last November, the world lost an icon. The death of Stephen Sondheim was a blow to everyone in the theater community. Signature Theatre would not be the same without Sondheim — he IS Signature’s ‘signature.’ This season, we are honoring the legend with productions of Into the Woods, Pacific Overtures and Sweeney Todd dedicated to his memory. These shows represent the diversity and range of Sondheim,” said Signature’s Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner about the new season.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

MEGA Wine Tasting

Join us Sunday, Aug 28 from 12-3pm for our MEGA Wine Tasting

How it Works:

We’ve invited all our wine vendors that we work with to bring 6-10 wines in their portfolio (wines that are usually not carried at Osteria

Running & Strength Training Group Workout #1

Join our first workout of Coach Kate’s fall Running & Strength Training Program on Tuesday, August 30 at 6:30 a.m. at Oak Grove Park.

First/trial session is Free Of Charge. If you would like to join the program — which

×

Subscribe to our mailing list