RICHMOND, Va. — Former President Barack Obama, campaigning Saturday for Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s intently watched race for governor, framed the Nov. 2 election as a possibility to decisively reject the rhetoric and politics of one other former president, Donald Trump.
“We’re at a turning level proper now, each right here in America and all over the world,” Obama instructed a crowd of about 2,000 gathered outside on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth College. “As a result of there is a temper on the market. There is a politics of meanness and division and battle, of tribalism and cynicism. That is one path. However the excellent news is there’s one other path the place we pull collectively and we remedy massive issues.”
With 10 days till Election Day, polls have proven a good race between McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin, who has Trump’s endorsement for the job. Youngkin has saved Trump at a distance, avoiding marketing campaign appearances with him as he makes an attempt to enchantment to an citizens that backed President Joe Biden by 10 share factors final 12 months. However Youngkin additionally has known as for auditing voting machines and has launched an “election integrity job drive” — efforts that play into lies and different baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.
Obama linked assist for such conspiracy theories to the Jan. 6 riots on the Capitol by Trump supporters attempting to dam certification of Biden’s victory.
“What are you prepared to face up for? When are you prepared to say no to your personal supporters? What are you prepared to say? There are some issues which can be extra vital than getting elected,” Obama mentioned. “And perhaps American democracy is a kind of issues.”
Christian Martinez, a Youngkin spokesperson, mentioned Obama’s look promoted “the fantasies of Terry and the left as a result of they will’t run on their failed document and radical imaginative and prescient for the long run.”
Youngkin has mentioned he believes Biden was legitimately elected and final week criticized a pro-Trump, right-wing rally the place attendees pledged allegiance to a flag that organizers mentioned was current on the riot. However the message from Obama, McAuliffe and others Saturday bolstered a technique to make Youngkin right into a Trump-like determine within the eyes of Virginia voters.
“Glenn Youngkin shouldn’t be an affordable Republican,” McAuliffe instructed the gang. “I name him Donald Trump in khakis. Do we would like a lapdog to Donald Trump to be our governor right here within the commonwealth? No we don’t.”
Democratic Nationwide Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison known as Youngkin a Trump “fanboy.” Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, like Obama, asserted that the race is crucial to preserving democracy and voting rights. And Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney expanded the critique to incorporate the Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, two Republicans who’ve gained nationwide consideration for opposing vaccine mandates of their states.
“Take into consideration what is going on on in Florida and take into consideration what is going on on in Texas,” Stoney mentioned in his opening remarks. “Would you like these insurance policies in Virginia?”
Campaigns for governor in Virginia come the 12 months after presidential elections, and the outcomes are sometimes considered as a judgment on the get together within the White Home and a harbinger for the midterm elections.
McAuliffe, a former governor was, due to a state legislation distinctive to Virginia, prohibited from serving a second consecutive time period. His enduring reputation with Democrats helped him steamroll by a main, however McAuliffe has present in Youngkin a Republican who has cautiously navigated Trump period politics and has not been simply outlined.
Youngkin has most well-liked to not nationalize the race the way in which Democrats have, his unwillingness to marketing campaign alongside Trump extending to different outstanding Republican surrogates who’ve been absent from Virginia down the stretch.
“I’m shocked Donald Trump hasn’t come,” Harrison instructed reporters earlier than Saturday’s rally. “I imply, he is endorsed Youngkin six occasions already, so you’d assume you would be right here. … On the finish of the day it does not actually matter to us whether or not Trump comes or not. Glenn Youngkin goes to lose this race.”
Obama’s go to was one in a collection of visits from nationwide Democrats marching in to spice up voter turnout and carry McAuliffe within the closing weeks. President Joe Biden will return to Virginia subsequent week for his second occasion with McAuliffe. First girl Jill Biden, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and rock star Dave Matthews are amongst those that have rallied or are scheduled to rally with McAuliffe.