Last Friday, the Republican party censured two of its members, Representatives: Adam Kinzinger and Liz Chaney. It also denounced the congressional committee investigating the January 6th attempted insurrection and labeled its work as the "persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse."
While a majority of Republican office holders remain in thrall to the cult of the former president, others are touting the successful campaign of Virginia Republican governor Glenn Youngkin as a new, softer, model in Republican electoral strategy.
Youngkin, a soft-spoken multi-millionaire with a full head of hair, won a close election (50.6-48.6%) against a popular former Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe in the state's most expensive governor's race to date. Several reasons have been given for the Democratic loss, but the primary reason may be McAuliffe's gaff in a debate over the issue of Critical Race Theory (CRT) when he said: "parents should not be telling schools what they should teach."
The attack on CRT--a term that has come to mean teaching any of the truths about American history that discomforts conservatives-- came seemingly out of nowhere, appears to be the brainchild of one Christopher Rufo, a west coast conservative activist. Rufo, raised the issue in a September 2nd 2020 appearance on the Tucker Carlson Show. CRT had infested the federal bureaucracy. Rufo stated that the president could ban it by executive order. The next morning, Rufo received a call from Trump chief of staff, Mark Meadows. Trump was ready to act.
Youngkin, a kinder, gentler acolyte, avoided Trumpian braying and stuck to bread and butter issues during the course of the campaign. While Republican activists whipped up the base and newly formed parent's groups began to Mau-Mau local school board meetings, Youngkin embraced the anti-CRT movement and the idea that parents should be active in their children's education including having a right to have a say in school curricula.
Once elected, Youngkin's people introduced bills in the state legislature that would ban "divisive concepts" (see previous blog post) and set up a state system of charter schools. This new system of education which would have paralled the exiting public system and bypassed local school boards, would include state per capita funding being withdrawn from local school districts and transferred to schools set up by for profit companies.
Aside from using state funds to off set the cost of sending his friends kids to private schools, according to Youngkin's strategy, fix failing schools by simply choking off their funding.