December 2, 2021

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Republican attacks on school boards take center stage in Virginia governor’s race


McAuliffe “spent years minimizing the role of parents,” according to the ad, and “Now our children are paying the price… Failing test scores… Sexual assaults…And a divisive, activist curriculum.”

On Tuesday, Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin broke out the anti-Semitic dog whistle, saying that along with McAuliffe, “George Soros-backed allies” have “inserted political operatives into our school system, disguised as school boards.” Which is an interesting way to describe elected school boards. It’s also a blatant form of projection to talk about “inserting political operatives into our school system” when Fox News keeps airing stories about “concerned Virginia parents” who turn out to be Republican operatives and activists.

Free to Learn Action is backed by the right-wing Concord Fund, also known as the Judicial Crisis Network. This is part of a push to turn schools into a battleground that’s particularly active in Virginia, but is being taken nationwide by Republicans who have first fomented violence and threats and harassment at school board meetings and are now on an outrage campaign that the federal government is reacting to the spike in threats and intimidation of school board members and other education leaders.

But the pro-Youngkin ad campaign is getting at least something of a response. The group 314 Action, which works to elect scientists to office, is launching a digital ad campaign targeting Youngkin, along with five sitting Republican governors—Greg Abbott of Texas, Ron DeSantis of Florida, Doug Ducey of Arizona, Kim Reynolds of Iowa, and Brian Kemp of Georgia—over the attacks on school board members. It’s powerful stuff:

The Virginia gubernatorial race is way too close for comfort, though, and Republicans are pulling out all the stops to defeat McAuliffe and elect Youngkin, an extremist anti-abortion candidate along with his racist, anti-trans, and anti-Semitic dog whistling.

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