OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Former President Donald Trump on Monday made a last-minute appeal to Republican voters in Virginia, asking them to turn out en masse and cast their ballot for GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin.
Trump’s late appeal will come in the form of a phone rally scheduled for 8 p.m. after “45” first issued a statement via his Save America PAC in which he suggested that his base will have to turn out in large numbers in order to push Youngkin over the finish line to victory in the razor-thin battle against Democratic candidate and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who held office from 2014-2018.
“I am not a believer in the integrity of Virginia’s elections, lots of bad things went on, and are going on,” Trump said. “The way you beat it is to flood the system and get out and vote. Remember this, Glenn Youngkin is a good man, a hardworking man, a successful man. He loves Virginia and wants to cut your taxes, save your children’s education, and many other very good things.”
“Terry McAuliffe is a low-life politician who lies, cheats, and steals. He was a terrible high-tax governor and would be, if elected, an even worse governor again,” he added.
Early on, Youngkin accepted Trump’s endorsement, saying the former president “represents so much of why I’m running.” But the pair have not appeared together on the campaign trail and Youngkin is not participating in the tele-rally.
Also, McAuliffe and the state’s Democrats have appeared to make it seem as though Trump and Youngkin have had a falling out, which the former president also sought to debunk.
“The Fake News media, together with some of the perverts doing ads ad nauseam on primarily Fox (Fox shouldn’t take those ads!), are trying to create an impression that Glenn Youngkin and I are at odds and don’t like each other,” he said.
“Importantly, this is not true, we get along very well together and strongly believe in many of the same policies. Especially when it comes to the important subject of education,” Trump added.
“The reason the Fake News and perverts are working over time is to try and convince people that we do not like each other, and therefore, my great and unprecedented Make America Great Again base will not show up to vote,” he noted further.
While McAuliffe took an early lead in the polls as the election cycle began, Youngkin has consistently chipped away at that lead and is now polling dead even or ahead in the most recent surveys, including a Fox News poll last week showing the GOP contender in the driver’s seat:
Among the larger pool of registered voters, it’s a one-point race: McAuliffe 47 percent vs. Youngkin 48 percent. Two weeks ago, McAuliffe led among registered voters by 11 points, 52-41 percent.
What changed? GOP enthusiasm. The race is largely focused on education and this has energized Republicans, as 79 percent of Youngkin supporters are “extremely” interested in the election compared to 69 percent of McAuliffe supporters.
“With the race essentially tied among the full registered voter universe, McAuliffe could still pull this off,” Democratic pollster Chris Anderson said. “But it would take something big to ignite enthusiasm for McAuliffe’s candidacy and a massively effective get out the vote effort.”
Another Democrat pollster, Cornell Belcher, predicted on Sunday that if McAuliffe doesn’t win, it will be “catastrophic” because the last time that happened — in 2009 — Democrats went on to lose 60 seats in the U.S. House.
“If Terry McAuliffe loses, you know, ‘Katy, bar the door.’ I mean, it’s the deluge,” he said during a discussion on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
“You think it’s that catastrophic?” NBC host Chuck Todd asked.
“Yes. It’s catastrophic, and it’s a panic button, because the last time a Democrat lost — and you know this — the last time a Democrat lost Virginia, we lost 60 seats in this House, right?” Belcher said.
“2009,” Republican strategist Brad Todd added.