Terry McAuliffe is the face of the Democratic Party, circa 2021?

Except that in the single biggest contest of 2021 (and the one with the most national implications for the 2022 midterms), Democrats in Virginia just nominated a 64-year-old White guy who came to prominence in party politics as a confidant of the Clintons?

Yes, I am talking about none other than Terry McAuliffe, who cruised to the Virginia gubernatorial nomination on Tuesday and will represent the party in the November general election against Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin. 

McAuliffe is a pillar of the Democratic establishment and has been so since the early 1990s, when he led fundraising efforts for President Bill Clinton. Heck, he served as chair of the Democratic National Committee — the ultimate insider gig! — for four years in the early 2000s.

What makes McAuliffe’s wire-to-wire victory in the Democratic primary even more remarkable is that the field, aside from McAuliffe, was decidedly diverse.

Both former state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, who finished a distant second to McAuliffe with 20%, and state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, who finished third, are Black women. (The fourth-place finisher — Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax — is also Black.)
That’s surprising, given not only Democrats’ focus nationally on the diversity of their coalition, but also because 1 in 5 residents of the commonwealth are Black — and the percentage of African American voters in a Democratic primary in Virginia is far higher than that.

Look. McAuliffe had a series of advantages in this race — not the least of which is that he spent four years as governor of the commonwealth last decade and had the name identification and fundraising ability that come with it.

But it is worth noting that Democratic voters opted for the establishment, White, male, 60-something candidate when very credible alternatives were available. 

Sort of like the 2020 Democratic primary, when the party settled on a septuagenarian White guy who had spent his entire professional life in politics as their presidential standard-bearer.

The Point: There’s no question that the face of the rank-and-file of the Democratic Party is changing. But in some of the most high-profile primaries of recent vintage, the establishment is striking back.

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Written by Politixia

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