Joe Biden Democrats lose ground in the gubernatorial election.

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source: bbc.com

They couldn't keep Virginia and narrowly won at New Jersey. In those states, the president had achieved a 10% to 18% advantage last year.

Joe Biden won the election last year in the crucial state of Virginia by more than 10% of the advantage. But the enthusiasm of the Democrats in this conservative land outside Washington, DC, was short-lived. This Wednesday, Republicans took governor of Virginia for the first time in more than a decade. They chose businessman Glenn Youngkin and did so with a formula that exploited Biden's vulnerabilities and evaded the shadow of Donald Trump in Democratic-leaning states.

Another bittersweet news for Democrats came from New Jersey. There, Biden won by a 16-point lead. Still, this year Governor Philip Murphy won re-election by less than 20,000 votes in the face of powerful opposition from little-known Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli. In percentages, 50.03% against 49.22%.

Youngkin, 54, a millionaire former private equity executive who ran for public office for the first time, based his campaign on parental involvement in education and lower taxes. He also presented himself as a suburban family man. In this way, he differentiated himself from the Trump figure without saying it openly. He defeated former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat who tried to generate enthusiasm among liberals when conservatives are energized in opposition to Biden.

Indeed, the president returned from his trip to the G-20 and COP26 summits with a bitter reception at the unstable political situation of his party. With his approval ratings declining and Republicans eager to regain control of Congress, the president faces an uncertain outlook with his ambitious projects for a comprehensive social plan and an infrastructure plan. That could define his first four years in the White House. Moreover, he runs into fierce opposition within his party. Two senators, Kristen Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, both very committed to the coal and oil industries, refuse to pass the laws as they were sent to the Capitol and have already lowered their funding from 3.5 billion dollars to 1.85 trillion dollars.

"The circumstances in the two gubernatorial elections practically confirmed the collapse of the coalition that propelled Democrats to power during the Donald Trump administration and Joe Biden to the presidency in 2020. After the elections, new doubts arose in the party about Biden's ability to push his domestic agenda and repel new attacks Republicans have opened on culture fronts, especially on schools. As a result, a new strategy on the party's priorities and strategies seemed necessary," Sean Sullivan wrote in the Washington Post.

An estimated 3.3 million people voted in Virginia, easily outnumbering voters in the last two gubernatorial elections. In the eyes of Democrats, that it reflected an alarmingly high enthusiasm in conservative bastions and a worrying change in the type of suburban areas that boosted their victories in 2018 and 2020. "A huge Republican turnout and the suburbs back to where they were before Trump," said Jared Leopold, a former spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association. "I think the more conservative education issue played a large part in making this happen ."

Youngkin endorsed a claim from the most conservative and religious sectors that demand to have control of what their children learn in schools, and many directly promote education in their own homes. Although it will not be so easy for the new governor to introduce an immediate change for the students of Virginia. To give parents greater decision-making power about what teachers teach or how they teach it, Youngkin would have to reform the entire structure of public education in his state., which is now determined by state standards and elected school boards that represent all residents of a district, not just parents. Additionally, Governor-elect Youngkin will face a state Senate where Democrats remain in control.

Regardless, Youngkin - whose children attend or graduated from expensive private schools - used the issue of public education, exploiting anger among many conservative parents who insist their children are being indoctrinated with the theory of evolution. Or systematic racism and do not impart religion to them. The funny thing is, none of those theories are taught in Virginia public schools. Yet discussions about what and how educators should teach about race, racism, and American history came to dominate the campaign.

Several Democratic strategists who participated in panel discussions on US news networks agreed that to counter what happened in Virginia - the vital anti-democratic and anti-Biden energy that drives the conservative base and the independents in the suburbs to vote for the Republicans - the party, needs to significantly improve its economic discourse, engage with young voters, blacks and Hispanics, and women under 50 more effectively than it has this year, and renew efforts to present a long list of candidates diverse. "If there is no economic reason to vote for us, there is no reason to vote Democrats," Democratic pollster Josh Ulibarri told CNBC. Others point out that the Democratic candidate was not the right one for this moment. "They keep thinking like we're in the 1950s where a middle-aged white developer with connections to the unions can represent the Democrats. Suppose they do not think about minorities, women, diversity, and the issues that concern the youngest today. In that case, they will not be able to consolidate themselves in power, "an independent voter told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.