Election Takeaways from 2021

Glenn Youngkin and Edward Durr


Although the Democrats dominate Congress, the Senate, and the White House, some recent major elections indicate that the pendulum may be swinging towards the right, with unexpected wins that may be a sign Americans are looking to the GOP to move the country forward.

Around the country, the people have spoken – loud and clear, that they had enough of the liberal policies they see as resulting in inflation, over-regulated education, increased crime, and wokeism. 

John Fund, national affairs reporter for National Review Online and a senior editor at The American Spectator,  commented that this new wave of wins was a repudiation of Joe Biden and the progressive left agenda.  

Turnabout in Virginia

With the defeat of former Virginia Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe, the democratic congressional majorities have been put in jeopardy, as voters elected Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin. 

McAuliffe had hoped former President Donald Trump’s double impeachment and cloud of the January 6th violence would stain the GOP brand in his state. He also made several efforts over the course of the hustings to tie Youngkin’s politics directly to Trump’s, but surveys showed that voters were not interested in this topic.  

Voters were more keen to know about what their politicians were doing on a more local level, with tangibles, which Youngkin stressed, vowing to repeal the grocery tax, suspend the gas tax, and resuscitate Virginia’s economy.

But the more prominent part of his platform came from his policies regarding the hot-button issue with conservatives, the “culture war.” Youngkin promised to ban critical race theory, a topic that is currently absent from Virginia school curriculums, and lent support to an expansive charter school program. He also was in favor of ending current COVID-19 restrictions, such as mask mandates and school shutdowns.

That same said backlash against leftism appeared to be why two additional Republicans won big in Virginia: Winsome Sears, the Lt. Governor of Virginia, a former Marine, and the first black woman to hold this office, and their attorney general Jason Miyares, the first Latino to hold this office and the son of Cuban refugees. 

Surprises in New Jersey

In a shocking surprise for the Democratic party, the New Jersey race for governor resulted in a tightly contested race with only a slight lead for Governor Phil Murphy, who was expected to face no trouble in his re-election bid.

Another surprise came with the election for New Jersey’s 3rd Legislative District. Republican Edward Durr, a former truck driver who was new to politics, triumphed over Democratic New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney. Sweeney was New Jersey’s longest-serving legislative leader. Although the state of New Jersey has a history of being blue, with registered Democrats leading the population by more than one million, changes are being made at both high and low levels of government. 

The candidates’ spending on their campaigns differed dramatically, with Sweeney raising more than $2.7 million in 2021, and Durr spending just $153 (including the $66.64 spent on Dunkin Donuts). 

Biden won the state by a 16-point margin in 2020.

Voters Take a Stand in Minnesota and New York

Minneapolis voters faced a ballot issue regarding police reform measures, with 56 percent of voters saying no. In the city famous for sparking global protests brought on by the George Floyd incident, citizens rejected the measure to create a city council run Department of Public Safety and to eliminate the Minneapolis Police Department. Law and order won out.

In New York, meanwhile, it is tough to expect a Republican win – though it has happened with Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani as mayors, and George Pataki as governor – the political needle moved closer to the center with mayor-elect Eric Adams, in November. 

Adams, the former Brooklyn borough president and a retired former police captain, ran on a promise to crack down on crime and police abuse, and handily won election against his Republican opponent, Guardian Angel founder Curtis Sliwa. Many are anticipating Adams to be a right-leaning Democrat, likely to avoid the state intervention and leftist policies so often associated with his predecessor, Bill de Blasio. 

What Will the Future Hold?

In the final analysis, pundits are wondering whether these winds of change (or wins of change) will be a bellwether for 2022 mid-terms, and a reflection Americans’ overall growing discontent with the hard-left turns occurring in the Democrat party.