top of page

The Right Resistance: Glenn Youngkin and the GOP’s 2024 political ‘beauty contest’ winner

I can remember in the days of my youth occasionally watching a beauty pageant on TV and saying, to no one in particular during the program, “No, not that one. Not that one. Not that one. Nope….”

I wasn’t a judge – at least in an official sense – but felt I had just as much of a right to assess each contestant as though I were one, and felt sort of slighted when the people with the badges disagreed with me. That’s fair – isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder? And for the politically correct “woke” thought police out there, a disclaimer: I didn’t use race, country of origin (if international) or religion to discriminate. It was all me and my biased personal assessments of feminine qualities.

Perhaps because of a similar early life experience, many people suggest presidential primary races are a little like “beauty pageants.” In debates, for example, each competitor stands on stage and receives time (not even close to equal) to state their case, with questions offered by establishment media figures with their own set of preferences. The main difference between a political debate and a pageant is there aren’t any judges. The millions watching at home are the ones with the ultimate authority. If only it’d been that way with the TV contests in my youth, there would’ve been a lot more winners who looked like my type.

As it is today, many Republican voters have barely tuned in to the beginning of the program and already they’re uttering, “No, not that one. Not that one. Not that one. Nope….” It’s not that none of the candidates meet the “eye of the beholder” criteria, it’s that each of them comes with an undeniable set of flaws, human or otherwise.

We’ve heard it quite a lot over the years… “if only such and such were running,” or, “I don’t like any of them, they’re all in it for themselves and it won’t make one bit of a difference in the long run.” And this cycle, there’s “He’s not electable, too many people hate him”, or, “She’s too close to the establishment. It’d just be like electing another Bush.” Then there’s, “I don’t like his wife, she’s too ambitious,” or, “Who’s that guy, isn’t he too young?”

It's perhaps the one thing that both parties share, many grassroots party adherents who are never satisfied with the field. But weren’t there times when you sized up all the beauty pageant hopefuls, and didn’t see anyone to your liking? Is politics really just one big iteration of “The Bachelor” reality TV show where a good share of the ones vying for favor just aren’t attractive for some reason?

At any rate, the phenomenon is taking place right now for some Republicans, so much so that they’re tossing out hints that they’d like yet another candidate to enter the scrum. In a piece titled “Is Glenn Youngkin the dark horse of 2024?”, Democrat political consultant Douglas Schoen wrote recently at The Hill:

“Youngkin’s upset win over Former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe in 2021 – after Biden won the state by 10 percentage points one year before – made him the first Republican to win a statewide election in Virginia in over a decade. He got elected by avoiding Trumpian style politics – without directly denouncing Trump or his voters – and running a center-right campaign centered on quality-of-life issues like the economy, public safety, education and personal freedoms, which is precisely what Republicans need to do at the national level to remain viable.

“Youngkin’s national polling numbers are particularly remarkable. A survey conducted earlier this year – which looked at hypothetical general election matchups between Biden and a series of potential Republican challengers – found Youngkin ahead of Biden by 16 points, 55 percent to 39 percent. Comparatively, DeSantis led Biden by only 5 points (48 percent to 43 percent), while Trump trailed Biden, 46 percent to 47 percent...

“[I]f Trump and DeSantis bludgeon each other into political oblivion – or more likely, if Trump’s mounting legal problems render him unable to seek public office – the Republican Party would be wise to strongly consider Glenn Youngkin.”

Or so says a Democrat “judge” who’s commenting from far, far outside the spectrum of conservative political thought. Full disclosure: I live in Virginia, happily voted for Youngkin in November, 2021 (Virginia has odd year elections for state offices, which is one reason why the Old Dominion receives so much attention and credit for being a “harbinger” of future electoral success), and am generally satisfied with his leadership.

Like Trump, Youngkin came from completely outside the political universe to swoop in and beat an awful status quo preserving establishment Democrat (Terry McAwful), which brought wide smiles to conservatives’ faces all across America. Needless to say, after the horrific 2020 election, January 6 and its aftermath and Democrats in complete control of Congress and the presidency, we needed a bit of good news. And Youngkin provided it.

Not only Youngkin, but Virginians opted for a bold conservative Lieutenant governor, Winsome Sears, and a promising young conservative Attorney General, Jason Miyares. Thus far, I believe everyone of similar ideological bent is happy with Youngkin and company, but…. This still doesn’t mean I believe he’d be a good presidential candidate.

The reason? Even at 6’8”, Youngkin would be hard to notice amidst a gaggle of political heavyweights. Schoen noted several of Youngkin’s accomplishments, but as of today, he’s still only been in office a year and a half and has been stymied at practically every corner by the narrow Democrat state senate majority. Youngkin used some of his political clout to squeeze concessions out of the Democrats on a small tax cut and spending items, but the governor’s record doesn’t compare with superstar Ron DeSantis’s.

For as little experience as he has in politics, Youngkin seems practiced and proficient at keeping different Republican constituencies pacified, if not giddy. Glenn largely sidestepped the Trump endorsement issue during his statewide campaign and sort of “lucked” into a platform to run on by the willingness of Northern Virginia’s transgender loving local governments to stomp on parents’ rights. In a national campaign, Youngkin would actually have to answer the tough questions to attract grassroots backing for the primary, especially with Trump and DeSantis in the race.

It could be said that Youngkin would have a better chance of winning the general election against broken-down senile Joe than he would the intra-party battle with the top GOP candidates. Even assuming Youngkin could attract enough polling attention to qualify for the party’s debates, he’d have a serious challenge to distinguish himself from the others during a 90-minute forum.

I also suspect he would be spending a lot of his time establishing a political brand as well. Trump drew headlines late last year by suggesting Younkin’s name sounded Asian – is that an insult? – and the Virginian probably isn’t well known to casual political watchers between the coasts. Virginia is usually depicted as a “purple” state, but I believe it’s leaning more and more to the blue side thanks to the presence of thousands upon thousands of federal employees and an influx of Democrat-favoring immigrants from all over the country and world.

Youngkin would also need to establish a “lane” to run in, with the conservative space already taken up by Trump, DeSantis and the up-and-comer Vivek Ramaswamy. The only “lane” clearly not claimed by any specific candidate is the GOP establishment’s domain, but even that one’s being fiercely competed for by the rotund Chris Christie, the “she’s a woman!” candidate Nikki Haley and the not-Trumper with credentials, Mike Pence. Senator Tim Scott also fits there.

One can’t help but sense that if Youngkin were serious about trying for the Republican nomination he would’ve started much, much earlier. The 2024 race has a number of well-known and regarded (by the people that count, the voters) candidates, and late entrants to the political beauty contest will face an uphill climb in attracting fundraising as well as top-level campaign talent. Simply stated, this just can’t be thrown together overnight.

By the title of his piece, Schoen suggests that Youngkin could be a “dark horse” candidate for the GOP, but I’d say that Glenn, if he ran, would function more like a “white knight” hopeful who’s brought in by a certain group of backers claiming the rest of the field is inadequate or unelectable and a new “savior” type relief pitcher is the only hope for victory.

Think Texas Governor Rick Perry in 2012, or even Fred Thompson in 2007. Then, unlike now, establishment candidates were leading the Republican field. Voters were hankering for a new and better choice to represent the limited government and constitutional liberty side. But, as history teaches, neither Perry nor Thompson caught on.

Here’s also thinking that Youngkin wouldn’t want to risk everything on a longshot “dark horse” bid for the Republican nomination. Even if he were to get close to the leaders, the Trump rhetorical meat grinder would be redirected in the Virginian’s direction.

Clearly there are still some Republicans who look at the 2024 GOP field and say, “No, not that one. Not that one. Not that one. Nope….” But as I’ve often suggested, there’s a long time to go and, after a few months of hard campaigning, the current “horses” will look better to the bettors (i.e., voters). The race will take care of itself. Let the best one win.

The Republican beauty contest will produce a winner, and he or she will look hugely better than any Democrat.

  • Joe Biden economy

  • inflation

  • Biden cognitive decline

  • gas prices,

  • Nancy Pelosi

  • Biden senile

  • January 6 Committee

  • Liz Cheney

  • Build Back Better

  • Joe Manchin

  • RINOs

  • Marjorie Taylor Green

  • Kevin McCarthy

  • Mitch McConnell

  • 2022 elections

  • Donald Trump

  • 2024 presidential election

64 views0 comments


bottom of page