Former Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter sounded the alarm on the power of parents in the Republican Party following Glenn Youngkin’s win over Democrat Terry McAuliffe Tuesday night.
Several analysts credited a parental uprising in Virginia as part of the catalyst for Youngkin’s surprise win against McAuliffe, who previously served as governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018. Across the state, parents confronted local school boards about critical race theory curricula and argued for more of a say in their children’s education.
According to Cutter, Democrats have to abruptly stem the trend and remind voters that they are the “party of the parents.”
“The one thing that we need to make sure of is that Republicans in 2022 don’t become is the party of parent, because we need to be the party of the parents,” Cutter said Wednesday on MSNBC. “And we are. We’re the ones that care about school funding. We’re the ones that care about making sure parents can send their kids to school because they have jobs to go to. All of this. We need to own that agenda. We cannot let it go.”
But conservatives would argue that progressives harmed students by promoting curricula like CRT, which promotes the idea that U.S. institutions are fundamentally racist. Despite some proponents’ claims that CRT is not taught in Virginia schools, documents revealed that the curricula did make an appearance on the Virginia Department of Education website, and the department recommended reading material that encouraged teachers to “embrace” the theory.
Twitter users told Cutter that if the Democrats wanted to attract more parents they may want to adapt their methods.
“Probably going to want to stop screwing with kids and attacking parents then, huh,” Federalist senior editor Christopher Bedford said.
Several other conservatives simply tweeted, “too late.”
Fox News polling found, critical race theory was an important factor for Virginia voters. Some Youngkin supporters also revealed to liberal networks like CNN and MSNBC that McAuliffe’s controversial debate line that parents should not have a say in their children’s education undoubtedly “hurt” him in the polls.
Other Democratic pundits came to the same conclusion as Cutter that the party needs to speak up more on issues important to parents in their election post mortem. David Plouffe, a former Obama-Biden campaign manager, advised Democrats up for election in 2022 to “go on the offense” on CRT.
Liberal media pundits spent much of Tuesday night accusing Youngkin and conservative parents of using “racist dog whistles” in their fight for education. MSNBC’s Joy Reid, who put education in air quotes at one point, called it “code for White parents who don’t like the idea about teaching about race.”