Religious-Right Groups Celebrate Youngkin’s Win, Look Toward 2022

Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin (Image from Youngkin for Governor campaign video.)

The come-from-behind victory of Virginia’s Republican Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin is setting off a predictable round of gloating and credit-taking from some of the anti-LGBTQ, anti-choice, and anti-public education groups that backed him.

My Faith Votes CEO Jason Yates sent supporters an email this morning celebrating that “3 pro-life, Christian conservatives committed to handing control of education back to parents cruised to victory in a full sweep for the first time in over 10 years.”

Yates touted his group’s “incredibly successful” targeting efforts, which he claimed helped to mobilize “at least 150,000 Christian voters who’d been previously sitting on the sidelines.”

Looking ahead, Yates said that if he has the money to continue building out his model across the country, “we believe 2022 has the chance to blow last night away.”

Brian Burch of the conservative Catholic Vote celebrated the defeat of former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, demeaning McAuliffe’s faith by putting quotation marks around his description of McAuliffe as “Catholic.” Burch’s message also pivoted immediately to 2022, saying, “The campaign to take back Congress starts now.”

On the eve of the election, Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition bragged about its own efforts in Virginia, claiming that it had knocked on more than 300,000 doors, sent a million text messages, mailed 400,000 voter guides, and distributed 180,000 “church guides.”

While some right-wing leaders, including Gary Bauer, had been baselessly warning that Democrats in Virginia would try to steal the election from Youngkin, the GOP victory has silenced most of that talk, though today Bauer was still warning that Democrats might try to overturn the victory of anti-LGBTQ Lt. Gov.-elect Winsome Sears. Bauer’s post-election message was that American voters had “rejected socialism, Marxism, and wokeism.” More from Bauer:

The national Republican Party has got to get over its reluctance to fight on cultural issues. The reason Youngkin massively closed the gap in northern Virginia is because he fought against Marxist critical race theory and the radical transgender agenda in the schools. He didn’t run from those issues. He hung them around Terry McAuliffe’s neck, and it drew parents of all races to Youngkin’s side.

Trump supporter and “Stop the Steal” activist Lance Wallnau said that Democrats were not able to steal the election from Youngkin because there were enough Republican activists volunteering as poll workers and high enough Republican turnout that the margin of victory was too big to steal.

“The Biden regime just lost the wheel on the chariot,” he gloated, claiming that “the American people are fed up by being bullied by Marxists” and that putting “race-baiting” into the schools was “the big mistake the devil made because you come between a mother bear and her cubs and you will discover the wrath of God.”

Former President Donald Trump joined the congratulations in an email praising Youngkin as “a true America FIRST Patriot who had my complete and total endorsement for Virginia Governor,” adding, “I would like to thank my BASE for coming out in force and voting for Glenn Youngkin. Without you, he would not have been close to winning.”

Youngkin’s campaign welcomed Trump’s and actively courted Trump’s base, while holding the former president at arms’ length to avoid alienating independent voters. Similarly, Youngkin sometimes downplayed his anti-LGBTQ-equality stance and anti-choice agenda in a bid to reach independent voters, while actively courting and embracing anti-equality and anti-choice groups and promoting right-wing messaging portraying LGBTQ people as threats to children and schools.

On Election Day, Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent slammed the “repulsively cynical finale” of Youngkin’s campaign and its “sunny calls for unity,” contrasting it with the reality of “a campaign built heavily around stoking white grievance with attacks on phantom critical race theory in schools and torquing up the base by feeding Donald Trump’s lies about our election system.” Sargent noted that Youngkin’s campaign got a big boost from right-wing media and social media that delivered far less sunny messages directly to right-wing voters: “For months, Youngkin and his allies have pumped that raw right-wing sewage directly into the minds of the GOP base, behind the backs of moderate swing voters, via a right-wing media network that has no rival on the Democratic side.”