Glenn Youngkin, the governor of Virginia, wants to act as a broker of peace in a Republican Party now ruled by political fighters. At least, that was his message to the people during a CNN town hall on public education on Thursday night.
Youngkin, who became a national GOP sensation after winning the commonwealth in 2021, was less ready to discuss his other aspirations.
He dismissed a query about a hypothetical 2024 presidential bid and frequently declined chances to set himself apart from potential challengers expressly.
GOP voters must now decide whether to view Youngkin as a rising star or, given the early momentum of the 2024 primary season, as an afterthought in a race that has thus far been dominated by former President Donald Trump, a declared candidate, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is most likely on the verge of entering the race.
Nonetheless, Youngkin’s impact on GOP politics cannot be denied. Republicans around the nation have imitated his focus on education and “parents’ rights” during his 2021 campaign.
Many hope to use outrage over the Covid-19 shutdowns as a more significant reaction against public educators and administrators.
Like Youngkin, they have tried to frame disputes about parental autonomy in raising their children as cultural conflicts over race and gender identity.
Observations from Youngkin’s town hall on Thursday include the following:
It’s Always Sunny In Glenn Youngkin’s Virginia
Youngkin may be on the same political turf as Trump and DeSantis. Still, he packaged his message less aggressively during the town hall than he would have in 2021, which may appeal to conservatives worried that the current front-runners will be too divisive in the general election.
When confronted with complex concerns like how to handle racial issues in education or how to treat transgender children, Youngkin was always cheerful.
He regularly made an effort to diffuse potentially unpleasant situations by being courteous and insisting that the topic of discussion wasn’t all that contentious, which is a position that many Democrats and Republicans would probably disagree with.
Youngkin also declined the chance to publicly criticize President Joe Biden, who has been a fierce opponent of the Republican policies supported by the governor and other like-minded individuals.
But, that choice to take a back seat as his contemporaries surged forward was instructive. Youngkin might run in the GOP primaries in 2024 as a lighter-hearted alternative to established candidates like Trump and DeSantis.
Governor Defends Executive Order On ‘Critical Race Theory’
Youngkin defended the decree he issued last year prohibiting the teaching of “critical race theory” in public schools, saying that kids shouldn’t be taught that “bias is innately human.”
The foundation of critical race theory is the idea that racism in American society is institutionalized and not just the consequence of personal bias. According to CRT, racism is ingrained in the organizations, rules, and laws that produce and uphold racial injustices.
Virginia’s educational standards did not include the idea, but Republican officials seeking support from the party’s conservative base frequently attacked it.
Youngkin claimed on Thursday that other executive orders, such as one claiming that slavery was the reason for the Civil War, were more significant than his “critical race theory” order. (This topic had long been up for debate among historians and political figures, but many now believe it to be decided.)
According to the presidential order, “inherently contentious notions, particularly critical race theory,” should not be taught in schools. Afterward, Youngkin’s management set up a tip line for parents to report teachers who appeared to violate it. (Since then, the system has been turned off.)
Schools shouldn’t “teach that a child is culpable for previous offenses because of their race, religion, or sex” or “that a child is a victim because of their race, religion, or sex,” according to Youngkin on Thursday. CRT, he says, suggests precisely that.
“CRT isn’t a class that’s taught,” he added. “It’s a philosophy that’s incorporated in the curriculum.”
Tapper pressed Youngkin on how educators can communicate that the present results from the past in light of these limitations, but Youngkin resisted.
“We must teach all that,” the governor said before criticizing “today’s world of equal outcomes for all students at any cost.”
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