Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has made a major change at the eleventh hour. Could this be an act of desperation for a candidate about to fail miserably?
The McAuliffe campaign has suddenly backed away from railing against President Donald Trump as part of the campaign, Breitbart reported. Previously, McAuliffe focused on Trump and tied him to GOP challenger Glenn Youngkin.
“I’d love to have him come in,” McAuliffe said on CNN Sunday of the former president. “But you know… this is not about Trump,” he said, suddenly pivoting away from his previous messaging that was ubiquitous. At one point, the Democrat had called Youngkin a “Trump wannabe.”
Similarly, President Joe Biden invoked Trump’s name two dozen times when he stumped for McAuliffe last week. “Terry’s opponent has made all of his private pledges of loyalty to Donald Trump,” Biden had said in his campaign speech. “But what is really interesting to me is he won’t stand next to Donald Trump now that the campaign is on,” he claimed.
“He is willing to pledge his loyalty to Trump in private, why not in public?” Biden further goaded Youngkin. “What is he trying to hide? Is there a problem with Trump being here? Is he embarrassed?”
The media also joined in the chorus, hoping to associate Youngkin and Trump to cash in on the perceived unpopularity of the former president. “Donald Trump may not physically be in Virginia for the commonwealth’s critical off-year elections,” CNN reported. “But to Glenn Youngkin’s most ardent supporters, the way their candidate has kept Trump at a distance will all be worth it if he wins on Tuesday.”
Meanwhile, Youngkin has carved out a path to victory by campaigning on the issues most important to Virginia voters. Youngkin’s pushback against Critical Race Theory and parental control over what’s taught in the public school system has made him a voter favorite in recent polls.
It’s unusual for a candidate to suddenly abandon his main strategy just before Election Day — unless he thinks it’s not working. What should have been a shoo-in for the Democrat in a state that voted overwhelmingly for Biden last year is now a tooth and nail fight to the finish — and it’s not looking good for McAuliffe.