Progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blamed the Democratic loss in Virginia’s gubernatorial election on Terry McAuliffe failing to “energize a progressive base” through his “100% super moderated campaign.”
During an Instagram Story posted Wednesday evening in which the New York Democrat highlighted several Democratic wins across the nation, Ocasio-Cortez accused McAuliffe of being too moderate.
“Plus, on the election front, I actually think we have good news as well. I know that Virginia was a huge bummer. And honestly, if anything, I think that the results show the limits of trying to run a fully 100% super moderated campaign that does not excite, speak to or energize a progressive base,” she said.
“And frankly, we weren’t even really invited to contribute on that race.”
Leading up to Election Day, McAuliffe appeared to hold a steady lead over Republican Glenn Youngkin, who caught up and surpassed him in multiple last-minute polls.
But AOC must not have been paying attention, because throughout their campaigns, Youngkin repeatedly slammed several items of progressive agenda, most notably the implementation of critical race theory in schools.
Education and parental involvement in schools dominated the race, with Youngkin appealing to parents who wished to voice their concerns about certain curriculum as McAuliffe vowed to keep their opinions out of the classroom.
During a debate in September, the former Virginia governor openly said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
McAuliffe’s push to keep parents out of planning in the classroom prompted the Republican to accuse him of wanting to “suppress and silence” parents in order for schools to push a “radically political agenda.”
Youngkin pressed this further amid a public debate over sexually explicit novels, such as “Beloved” — which was the catalyst behind a bipartisan bill McAuliffe vetoed as governor that would have given parents the opportunity and right to let their children opt out of sexually explicit readings.
While McAuliffe defended his comments and veto, it only appeared to alienate him further from parents.
“[W]hen [parents] heard Terry McAuliffe say … that parents don’t have a role in their kids’ education … this ceased to be a campaign, and it started to be a movement led by parents,” Youngkin said during a Wednesday segment of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
As the Republican rose in the polls leading up to the election, some compared McAuliffe’s drop to that of President Biden, whose approval rating has fallen many times since taking office. Biden took Virginia by 10 percentage points last year during the 2020 presidential election.
Following Youngkin’s win, several House Republicans and Republican National Committee members predicted a “red wave” in upcoming elections as the GOP looks to take back the House and Senate in 2022.
Not all Democrats have been saddened or worried by McAuliffe’s loss. Wednesday evening, former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard broke from her party and celebrated, calling the outcome a “victory for all Americans.”
“McAuliffe’s loss is a victory for all Americans. Why? Because it was a resounding rejection of efforts to divide us by race, the stripping of parental rights, and arrogant, deaf leaders. This benefits us all,” the former Hawaii representative and ex-presidential candidate tweeted.