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Theory of Change #025: Jim Swift on Glenn Youngkin and ‘Never Trump’
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Theory of Change #025: Jim Swift on Glenn Youngkin and ‘Never Trump’

Every four years, the United States holds its presidential elections. But one year afterward, the states of New Jersey and Virginia hold their own gubernatorial elections.

And for decades, the overwhelming trend in both states has been that the vote for the governor is opposite from the current president’s party. So in other words, if the current president is a Democrat, then usually the Republicans win in both Virginia and New Jersey.

Not all the votes are counted yet, but it looks like in Virginia, the historic trend has held and Republican Glenn Youngkin is on track to be the next governor. In New Jersey, however, the incumbent Democratic governor, Phil Murphy seems like he has broken the historic streak and will remain in office for another four years.

So we’re going to be talking about those trends and how influential they were on the results this year, but another factor worth discussing is the role played by former president Trump in these races. Youngkin try to stay away from Trump as much as possible publicly while also privately trying to work with various far-right groups like the John Birch Society. So is the Youngkin strategy going to be a model for GOP candidates going forward? Or will Trump and his followers demand explicit public loyalty?

Another question to consider: How important of a role did far-right media outlets spreading disinformation play in Youngkin’s apparent victory?

In this episode, I’m joined by Jim Swift, a senior editor at The Bulwark. Swift also once worked at The Weekly Standard, the original “Never Trump” publication, a subject which also comes up in the discussion.

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