by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
When then-Gov. Ralph Northam had to explain a photo of him dressed either as a member of the Ku Klux Klan or in blackface — it was never clear which — from his decades-old medical school yearbook, he decided to win back the support of his base by turning Virginia hard to the left.
Using the Democrats’ control of the state legislature, he converted Virginia from a centrist and family-friendly state into the California of the South.
His most destructive lurches left were on the environment, where he signed legislation ordering utilities to become carbon neutral by 2050. Fewer than a dozen states have passed such an unserious green law. Virginia is the only southern state to do so.
Under Northam’s energy scheme, utilities must invest billions of dollars in clean energy projects, many of which are proving to be economic busts in other states. …
… Gov. Glenn Youngkin has promised that if Republicans win majorities in both chambers of the Virginia legislature, he will overturn these extreme, and extremely stupid, environmental laws.
Northam also legalized marijuana despite strong evidence from California, Colorado, and New York that it would increase crime, drug abuse, and mental health problems while also failing to raise the promised tax revenues.
Like California, Northam also gutted Virginia’s once-strong educational standards and forced all state employees to undergo critical race theory indoctrination under the guise of “cultural competency training.”
Just before the teachers unions pushed him to shut down the state’s schools, Northam rewarded them and all state public employees with new collective bargaining powers. This is perhaps the most dangerous part of his legacy. The biggest reason California is a one-party state with a shrinking and increasingly unequal population is public employee unions have too much power. Youngkin still has time to save Virginia from California’s union doom.