Just how bad have things gotten for Terry McAuliffe?
So bad that the embattled Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee, now in a dead-heat race with Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin with just one week to go, cannot even catch a break from members of his own party, specifically former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder, the state’s first and only black governor and also a Democrat.
Wilder sat down for an interview with WJLA reporter Nick Minock this week to discuss the state of the race between McAuliffe and Youngkin. The characteristically outspoken Wilder – who is well-respected in Democrat circles in the state – took specific aim at McAuliffe’s courting of the black vote, suggesting he was “springboarding” off the infamous Gov. Ralph Northam blackface incident to revive his political career and was in effect pulling a con on black voters in the process:
“Terry McAuliffe has used it as a springboard to come back,” said Wilder. “He called on all of them to resign from office. A simple apology wouldn’t be enough for him then because it wouldn’t be a springboard for him to come back. And who did he call to step down? The Lt. Governor who was black. All the people he ran against for governor for the most part in the Democratic Party were black. Is he saying that he’s come back to rescue black people? Or to speak for black people? I think you know the answer to that is no.”
Wilder also pointed to the absurdity of McAuliffe accepting Northam’s endorsement after he urged him a year and a half ago to step down over the scandal, as well as McAuliffe’s support for Democrat Lt. Gov. nominee Hala Ayala, a Virginia House of Delegates member who also called on Northam to resign last year:
“I think it’s very interesting when Mr. McAuliffe asked for everyone to step down because they were wearing black face,” Wilder added. “And yet he’s running with the endorsement of one and taking the other to be his running mate.”
I should note that Nick Minock is the same reporter who McAuliffe cut off during an interview earlier this month, storming off the set in a huff and telling Minock that he “shoulda asked better questions.” I suspect Minock might have been feeling a bit of schadenfreude during the course of his back and forth with Wilder regarding McAuliffe.
But back to Wilder, he’s hitting McAuliffe right where it could hurt him the most down the stretch: with black voters, an absolutely crucial voting bloc for Democrats and one whose support McAuliffe has desperately sought to shore up in the final weeks of the campaign by bringing in failed 2018 Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee and fellow election denier Stacey Abrams, former President Barack Obama, and Vice President Kamala Harris for the “Souls to the Polls” (unlawful) black church push.
It’s important to note here that while Wilder’s comments, where he also hit McAuliffe and Northam on their failures to fund HBCUs during their respective times in office, are unlikely to cause an earth-shattering change in the dynamics of this race. But remember, the race is tied – which three of the four most recent polls now confirm, and the swing of even a few thousand voters away from McAuliffe could be what ultimately decides who wins next Tuesday.
As far as McAuliffe is concerned, Wilder picked the wrong time to dunk all over him. As for the rest of us, it was the absolute perfect time for Wilder to weigh in or, if you catch my meaning, undoubtedly the right time to do so.