Peter Morici: Virginia lights a path for Republican success in the midterms
Every Republican candidate must address Donald Trump’s grip on the party base without repelling moderate and swing voters. Youngkin welcomed the former president’s endorsement but finessed the “stolen election” issue by emphasizing election integrity. He did not accept Trump’s offers of help or participate in his tele-rally.
Youngkin focused on public safety and schools—in particular 1619 Project and critical race theory narratives that the Republic was founded to perpetuate slavery and parents’ right to define what their children learn.
School officials say CRT is not formally part of the curriculum but its tenets have become deeply embedded in teacher training. In Fairfax County, just outside Washington, social studies teachers are told that it is “a frame” for their work.”
Parents are complaining nationwide and running opposition slates in school board elections, and attacking CRT could prove a winning issue for Republicans in the midterms.
We should offer children a reasonable account of the nation’s founding, the shortcomings of our past and progress toward greater equality, but Youngkin and others will find the cultural movement in the education establishment difficult to root out.
Still, Republicans should not genuflect to the racism and sexism peddled by radicals among progressives, feminists and Black activists. Aspects of culture in some minority communities and the cancel culture impulses of the woke executive class need as much fixing as white middle-class structural racism.
Youngkin promised to ban critical race theory from schools but also talked about generally failing schools, rising crime, the high cost of living and inflation and faltering economic growth—and tax relief.
Defunding the police is morally bankrupt—rising murder rates in American cities are terrorizing minority communities.
The George Floyd tragedy compels focus on better trained police officers, not handcuffing or taking them off the streets. Racial disparities in enforcement are not addressed by refusing to enforce shoplifting laws and other misdemeanors. Those policies just provide street academies for young criminals and deny the elderly reasonable access to groceries, drugstores and prescription services.
College admissions without objectively applied academic standards do a disservice to children—bright or ordinary, black or white. Requiring that college admissions and credentialing return to sound evaluations of aptitude and achievement and abandoning gender, transgender and racial quotas—and whatever else progressive intellectuals can dream up to fuel the injustice industry—would force elementary and high schools to better prepare students or be deemed failures themselves.
Republicans need to address that colleges are producing too many ill-prepared graduates and get behind alternatives like apprenticeships that provide shorter and less costly paths to rewarding careers.
Reckless spending in Washington—in particular, the corrupting $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan—requires the Federal Reserve to print too much money to enable too much borrowing.
Printing-press monetary policy, as practiced by a politically compromised Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell, does nothing to create new chipmaking capacity, unlock overcrowded ports, or otherwise unclog supply chains.
The stimulus package has left a huge overhang of unearned purchasing power that drives up the prices for everyday essentials like gasoline, groceries and restaurant meals, as do Biden administration policies that curb oil and gas production and drive up agricultural fertilizer and transportation costs.
Republicans should affirm that the transition to a carbon-free economy at midcentury requires adequate sources of fossil fuels today and for all Americans to pitch in and work.
The progressive wing of the Democratic Party is defining the agenda in Washington and casts a negative narrative about America. Whites are endemic racists, markets and society are rigged, and American power in the world is a negative force.
The horrific conditions that will beset Afghanistan this winter is a stain on the souls of President Joe Biden and the progressive foreign policy establishment—they knew what would happen and withdrew American forces anyway.
The world is a nasty place. Open borders will only overwhelm and impoverish Americans who must compete for jobs and educational resources with a mass migration of unskilled workers that flood labor markets.
At every opportunity Republicans should pound Democrats for their irresponsible defense and open-border policies. Those self-serving progressive peddlers of national doubt, guilt, weakness and appeasement deprive the world of some shield against evil and Americans of the security and opportunities for the decent lives they deserve.
Peter Morici is an economist and emeritus business professor at the University of Maryland, and a national columnist.