Opinion

SCHILLING: Youngkin Has The GOP’s Blueprint For 2022

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Terry Schilling American Principles Project
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To riff off a famous political ad, it’s morning again in Virginia!

Over the weekend, Glenn Youngkin was sworn in as Virginia’s newest governor, the first Republican to occupy the Executive Mansion in nearly a decade. He wasted no time getting to work, immediately signing a number of executive orders to follow through on promises he made during his remarkable campaign last year.

Youngkin has, in many ways, shouldered the hard work for the Republican Party. He assembled a coherent and spirited policy agenda. He campaigned on it and won office. He then swiftly made good on his word, and he’s now receiving nationwide acclaim on the right for having done so. Youngkin has in his possession a battle-tested blueprint for sweeping conservative conquests in the midterm elections.

First, Youngkin instructed the state’s superintendent to do a full review of all the commonwealth’s education policies in order to raise standards and, further, to eliminate critical race theory and other phony ideological paradigms from curricula. He then ordered that Virginia’s school mask mandate be terminated and that parents be given the right to decide whether or not their children should be masked in school. Moreover, he directed the state attorney general to conduct an investigation of Loudoun County Public Schools, whose officials reportedly engaged in a cover-up of a sexual assault in a girl’s restroom by a boy wearing a dress.

All of these issues were key to Youngkin’s landmark electoral victory last year, as he flipped a state that had voted for Joe Biden by ten points. Youngkin smartly capitalized on Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s anti-parent stance, and in emphasizing his willingness to fight back against critical race theory and gender ideology in schools, he both energized the conservative base and recaptured suburban voters.

However, the story does not end there, nor does it end with the executive orders signed this past weekend. As Gov. Youngkin certainly knows, the hard part of governing has only just begun.

Already, Virginia left-wingers have begun challenging Youngkin’s moves. For example, not long after his directive ending school mask mandates, several school districts announced that they would outright defy it by continuing to enforce their own mandates. It seems likely that this fight, among others, will soon be headed for the courts.

This was to be expected, of course. But far too often in recent years, Republican voters have watched their elected leaders who campaigned on bold action fold as soon as they start meeting resistance. The pandemic underscored this craven tendency. How many Republicans stood up to the tyrannical left-wing bureaucrats and their enablers in the legacy media who spent more than two years clamoring for lockdowns and other excessive measures? The list is a distressingly short one.

Now the eyes of our nation’s voters are on the new administration in Richmond to see whether it will become a new hub of courage and change. After running on a platform to empower parents, crack down on unaccountable school officials, and place faith back in America, will Youngkin continue to follow through? While his first few days in office have been very encouraging, there is still a long way to go.

The good news for Youngkin is that he’s not alone in this fight. The many thousands of parents who voted for him last November continue to support him as he takes on the significant challenge of reforming a badly mismanaged public school system. And as long as he perseveres, those parents will stand by him.

Youngkin drafted a policy blueprint and is implementing a winning agenda. All he must do now is not back down. As for Republican leadership more broadly, it must avoid reverting to what has too often been the party’s modus operandi: keeping cultural issues at an arm’s length during the campaign before casting them aside once in office. The key to triumphing at the ballot box isn’t a deep mystery. The GOP should follow suit by prioritizing the concerns of American parents.

Terry Schilling is president of American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @Schilling1776.