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Warner: Youngkin ‘stirred up the cultural pot’ on issues like critical race theory

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) addresses reporters after the weekly policy luncheon on Tuesday, September 21, 2021.
Greg Nash

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said on Sunday that Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin (R) “stirred up the cultural pot” while campaigning on issues like critical race theory.

A clip of a recent “PBS NewsHour” interview with longtime Democratic political strategist James Carville was played during “State of the Union” on CNN, in which he claimed that “stupid wokeness” and issues like “defund the police” contributed to Democrats’ weak performance on Election Day.

“Are Democrats too woke, senator?” “State of the Union” co-anchor Dana Bash asked Warner.

“Listen, I don’t support defund the police. Matter of fact, I think you saw Democrats all around who were successful — the new mayor of New York, who you’re going to have on, has talked about investing additionally in our police forces,” Warner replied.

“Are there ways that we need to make that policing more community-based? Absolutely. The notion of what happened in Virginia — there is not a school in Virginia that teaches critical race theory. But the governor-elect, Governor Youngkin, stirred up the cultural pot there,” he added. 

Last week, Democrats witnessed weak performances and upsets in state elections in areas considered to be reliably blue. Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe, a former Virginia governor, lost the gubernatorial race in his state to Youngkin despite multiple campaign events with high-profile members of his party like President Biden.

In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) barely eked out a reelection win in his state, acknowledging on Sunday in an interview with “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd that the poor performance showed “it’s quite clear there’s a lot of hurt out there.”

Though McAuliffe used his campaign to tie Youngkin to former President Trump, Youngkin instead used his platform to talk about issues like education, including how much sway parents should have over school boards. 

He also spoke about the need to eradicate the teaching of critical race theory, a decades-old academic theory usually taught within higher education circles and is not taught in Virginia schools. The theory says that the United States was built on racism and racist structures and that their lasting impacts still remain in place today.

“Critical race theory is not an academic curriculum. It is a political agenda to divide people and actually put people into different buckets and then pit them against one another,” Youngkin said during a Fox News interview earlier this year. “Critical race theory will not be in Virginia’s schools when I serve Virginians as the next governor.” 

Tags Chuck Todd Critical race theory Dana Bash Donald Trump Glenn Youngkin Glenn Youngkin Joe Biden Mark Warner Mark Warner Phil Murphy Sunday shows Terry McAuliffe

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