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"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela

Virginia Governor Youngkin Is No Populist After All

By Carole Hornsby Haynes January 13, 2022

Though he never claimed to be a populist, Glenn Youngkin rode the wave of public anger against hostile school boards that are pushing radical race and gender ideologies. Yet Youngkin’s selection of advisers and personnel has sent up warning signs of danger ahead for Virginians.

Shortly after his victory over Democrat Terry McAuliffe, Youngkin chose Heritage Foundation president Kay Cole James as the co-chairman of his gubernatorial transition team.  Conservative organizations, over time, tend to drift leftward and Heritage has followed that pattern. Rather than taking bold action to drive change, the nation’s largest conservative think tank seems to be more concerned in raising money and conserving itself by aligning with the establishment. It certainly does not embody the wave of populism that is swelling across the nation.

A 2020 Fox News op-ed by James following the death of George Floyd – an unarmed black man by a white police officer in Minneapolis – is a clear indication that her beliefs are opposite those of populists who voted for Youngkin.

“But we cannot shrug off Floyd’s killing – along with the killings of so many other black Americans throughout our nation’s history and up through – today.

“How many more black people must die, and how many more times will statements of sympathy have to be issued? How many times will protests have to occur? How many more committees will have to be formed until America admits that racism is still a problem in this country?

“Racism in America is a fatal wound….”

James continued,

“There is no other country like ours in the world – nothing compares to its greatness. But the issue of racism is America’s Achilles’ heel. It has been embedded into our culture for 400 years, since the first Africans were seized from their homes on the other side of the world and brought to colonial America in chains and enslaved.”

“The racism experienced by black Americans is not a political issue and to anyone who tries to use it as one, on the left or the right, I say shame on you.”

James concluded her moral high road denunciation of America,

“Americans must speak up and reject the racism and division in their own communities….It will take courage to speak up, but it is the only way we can overcome racism and the problems plaguing our nation.”

James did not mention the fact that most black murders are committed by other blacks. She did not denounce violent Black Lives Matter protesters who burned and looted the nation and brutally attacked innocent people.

During his Fox News show, Tucker Carlson called out James for her denouncement of America as an irredeemably racist nation, including her with those leaders who “sided with the destroyers. In many cases, they egged them on.”

“When the violence began, what we needed more than anything was clarity in the middle of this ...  Instead, almost all of our so-called conservative leaders joined the left's chorus, as if on cue.”

Another odd personnel selection is Joshua Marín-Mora, a member of Youngkin’s communications team who is active in LGBTQ political causes and has served on the Georgetown Latinx Leadership political causes, a left-wing student organization that has advocated for safe spaces and supported the Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the nation and criticized Georgetown’s refusal to impose a fee on students that would subsidize a reparations initiative. 

Despite his campaign pledge to ban Critical Race Theory, Youngkin chose an education secretary, Aimee Rogstad Guidera, who has association and financial ties to the Critical Race Theory education swamp.

Guidera was the founder and chief executive of Data Quality Campaign, a national nonprofit that advocates for the collection of data on American school children. DQC received nearly $26 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which donates large amounts to Critical Race Theory linked projects (also here and here). Other contributors include Bloomberg Philanthropies, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

DQC’s founding organizations included Achieve Inc., the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the National Governors Association (NGA), and The Education Trust, with major funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Using the CCSO and NGA, Gates pushed Common Core into the nation. DQC’s founders and major funders are also linked to Critical Race Theory projects.

The DQC board includes two powerful figures in the Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI) movement -- Erika McConduit and Cassandra Herring. 

A 2018 case study done by DQC describes their mission to use data to transform the purpose of public education from academic to Social-Emotional Learning. SEL is the vehicle used to inject Critical Race Theory ideology into schools.

Data collection by companies such as Second Step and Rhithm, which promote radical left ideologies, is a major concern of organizations pushing back against Critical Race Theory.

Republicans have a long history of capitalizing on cultural outrage to make political changes but then hand over major concessions to the opposition who continue the leftward shift. Whether the populist movement survives in Virginia will depend upon the perpetual vigilance of the grassroots, not the GOP establishment advisors or pundits.

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