2021 Virginia Gubernatorial Election

Today, millions of Virginians will cast their ballots in the 2021 Gubernatorial election. The candidates who are running in this race include Businessman Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, Former Governor Terry McCauiliffe, a Democrat, and Activist Princess Blanding, a third-party candidate. Due to Glenn Youngkin’s opposition to policies that would improve the lives of Virgina workers, I am asking readers to either vote for Terry McCauiliffe or vote for Princess Blanding.
Glenn Youngkin, in an interview with ABC news, said that he opposes raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. He also told WTOP News that he supports Virginia’s current right-to-work law, which makes it harder for workers to form unions, calling the movement to repeal it “one of the biggest challenges to Virginia’s economic future.” Additionally, Youngkin supports qualified immunity, which makes it harder for people to sue police officers for violating their constitutional rights. According to the Washington Post, 42% of people shot dead by the police in Virginia since 2015 were Black, and qualified immunity makes it harder for victims of police brutality, who disproportionately belong to marginalized groups such as minorities, to receive justice. Youngkin claimed that qualified immunity helps prevent “frivolous civil lawsuits,” despite the fact that the legal system has other mechanisms to deal with frivolous lawsuits. Glenn Youngkin has made it clear that he is opposed to changes that would make life easier for workers and marginalized populations.
In contrast with Glenn Youngkin, Terry McCauliffe told WTOP News that he supports raising Virginia’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024 and supports paid family leave and paid sick days. However, Terry McCauliffe is not an ideal candidate. For example, McCauliffe said during a September 16th gubernatorial debate that he would not end qualified immunity, contradicting his earlier statement last April during the primary season. On April 12, McCauliffe’s campaign said that he wanted to “end policies like qualified immunity that can prevent accountability when heinous acts are committed against Virginians.” McCauliffe also seemed to indicate that he wouldn’t push for a repeal of Virginia’s right-to-work law, saying that the idea “can’t even get a hearing in the Senate,” and that the repeal lacked support in the House of Delegates, saying, “Right to work’s not changing … I focus on things I can get done.” Additionally, McCauliffe said on his website that he supports banning the sale of assault weapons, which would infringe on the Second Amendment rights of Virginians.
Princess Blanding was inspired to become a political activist after Richmond police shot and killed her brother Marcus-David Peters, who was unarmed and was in the middle of a mental health crisis, in 2018. She decided to run for governor as a third-party candidate after she was frustrated by what she viewed as ineffective and superficial police reforms that were enacted by Virginia Democrats after George Floyd’s death, saying “I just knew that we couldn’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results, and that we couldn’t keep begging our oppressors to be our saviors because they keep showing us time and time again that they [will] not.” Blanding said in her website that she supports many proposals that would make life easier for Virginia workers, such as establishing a universal health care system, tying the minimum wage to inflation, repealing Virginia’s right-to-work law, paid family leave, and paid sick leave. She also has a bold criminal justice plan, which includes ending qualified immunity, ending police unions, and reallocating police funding towards programs such as education and housing. Blanding also advocated for “inclusive and safe gun ownership” and for addressing the root causes of gun violence by increasing community resources and mental health services instead of “solely focusing on the symptoms of impoverished, disinvested, and underserved communities by levying anti-gun legislation.” While Princess Blanding has the bold and courageous vision that we need to address the crises that are facing our Commonwealth, as a third-party candidate, she has no real chance of winning.