Delicate dance for Trump, Youngkin in campaign’s final weeks

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When Donald Trump rallied Republicans this week to vote for Glenn Youngkin for governor in Virginia, the former president called in a rally of staunch supporters. The closest he may be to campaigning in the most closely watched election of 2021.

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Although the schedule may evolve in the final weeks of the race, the two are not expected to campaign together in person before Election Day next month.

“Is Trump going to come to Virginia? Yes. But it will be after the election for a victory rally,” said conservative talk show host John Fredericks, who served as Trump’s campaign chair in the state and also of Wednesday’s program. Youngkin’s campaign confirmed Friday that there are no plans for surrogates to join him in the final leg of the race.


The dynamic reflects the complex balancing act between Trump and Youngkin and could emerge as a model for other Republicans facing competitive campaigns in 2022. The former president is the most popular figure in GOP politics and is eager to stay engaged. Youngkin needs to show Trump supporters at the polls and he can’t afford to give the former president a reason to turn to him in the final weeks of the race. But they should also avoid being tied too closely to someone who is unpopular in significant areas of the state, especially the populous suburbs that surround Washington and Richmond.

It’s a delicate balancing act for Youngkin, who is locked in a tight race with Democrat Terry McAuliffe and pulled away from Wednesday’s event. In addition to Fredericks, the rally was headlined by longtime Trump strategist Steve Bannon, who soon found himself in contempt for refusing to cooperate with the House committee investigating the violent January 6 storm of the Capitol. could accuse. And attendees expressed outrage after reciting a pledge of allegiance to the flag that was flown that day, a move Youngkin later criticized.

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While the former president remains the most powerful force in the party nine months after leaving office, he lost to Virginia by 10 points in 2020 and favored by just 44% of potential voters in the state, according to a recent Fox News poll. was seen.

“If Trump were to rally in the state, it would be a disaster for Youngkin,” said Bob Holsworth, a longtime local political analyst in the state. . He is extremely unpopular in Virginia. … the more he shows up and the more he participates, the worse it is for Youngkin.”

That risk was underscored by the response to Wednesday’s incident, where Trump praised Youngkin as “a great gentleman” while spreading lies about the 2020 election.

Democrats immediately condemned what they dubbed “Donald Trump’s rebel rally”. For his initial silence on the incident itself.

Trump, for his part, also achieves little by spending too much political capital on race. If Youngkin wins, Trump is sure to try to take credit for his participation in Wednesday’s rally, citing May’s endorsement, and any future exit from the vote efforts. But if Youngkin loses, Trump may blame him for not aligning himself more closely with the former president.

Indeed, during a recent interview with Fredericks, Trump warned the candidate not to stray too far.

“Only those who embrace the MAGA movement win,” he said. “When they try and go down a railroad, you know, ‘Hey, oh yeah, sure, I love it, love it. Oh yeah, I love Trump, Trump Well, let’s go, the next topic.’ When they do that, they never win. They never win. They have to embrace it.”

While Youngkin’s campaign doesn’t include many big-name surrogates in his political programs, McAuliffe is calling out Democratic star power. President Joe Biden has already campaigned with McAuliffe and his campaign told The Associated Press this week that the president will return before the November 2 vote. First Lady Jill Biden appeared with McAuliffe at a rally Friday and former President Barack Obama will campaign with her next week.

Trump spokespeople did not respond to questions about race, and Youngkin’s campaign did not respond to questions about Trump.

Youngkin has aimed his pitch toward liberal and independent voters since his party’s primary victory. During that campaign, Youngkin declined to say whether Biden was elected fairly. He has since said that he believes he was — and he does not believe there was a significant fraud last November.

Instead of following the mold of other blue-state Republican governors such as Larry Hogan of Maryland and Charlie Baker in Massachusetts, Youngkin has walked on a solidly conservative set of platforms, some embracing GOP culture war issues and “left liberal progressives”. Has promised to help with the rejection. agenda” they say is shaping Virginia.

After focusing her attention on election integrity in the nomination contest, she focused on campaign appearances and advertisements on issues such as crime, taxes, and school choice.

However, Democrats have criticized him for his recent comments about audits of the state’s voting machines and for campaigning with State Sen. Amanda Chase, a prominent promoter of electoral lies that has earned the nickname “Trump in Heels”. .

Youngkin has said before that Trump “represents a lot of why I’m running.”

“What Youngkin is trying to do is try to maintain the MAGA base while absorbing suburban defectors from the Democrats. And that’s hard,” Holsworth said,

Fredericks said…

Credit: / Donald Trump

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