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Opinion Weaponizing discontent

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin greets supporters on Nov. 2 in Chantilly, Va.
Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin greets supporters on Nov. 2 in Chantilly, Va. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)
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In his closing argument to voters, Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin railed against critical race theory in public schools. The argument is demonstrably false — CRT is not taught in Virginia’s K-12 schools — but politically it’s brilliant.

Having spent the pandemic caring for children while trying to earn a living, many parents are beyond the end of their rope. More broadly, 21st-century parents feel an overwhelming loss of control. As any mom or dad who has battled with kids over screen time will tell you, parental values and priorities are often no match for the addictive charms of the prevailing culture. Mr. Youngkin and other Republicans have weaponized this discontent, mobilizing voters by wrapping parental frustrations around a hard, little nugget of racist propaganda.

Ironically, it is the Democrats’ proposals that would offer parents real relief. Benefits such as family and medical leave, financial support for children and universal pre-K could relieve unbearable pressure on parents, helping them choose what’s best for their families. Mr. Youngkin and the Republicans offer nothing but false solutions.

In her book “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together,” Heather McGhee argued that racism keeps Americans from having the “nice things” other developed countries enjoy — from universal health care to public swimming pools. Mr. Youngkin’s campaign showed how it’s done.

Laurie Mazur, Takoma Park

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