Tricky mailer from Democrats flaunts Trump's endorsement of Youngkin

·3 min read
Tricky mailer from Democrats flaunts Trump's endorsement of Youngkin

At first glance, voters in Virginia received political mail this week that looks like it came straight from Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin’s campaign.

Youngkin, the former co-CEO of the Carlyle Group investment firm and a first-time candidate, is shown smiling alongside an “endorsement announcement.”

“Donald J. Trump: Glenn Youngkin ‘has my complete and total endorsement!'”

Political mail paid for by the Democratic Party of Virginia with authorization by Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe highlights that Republican Glenn Youngkin is endorsed by Trump. (Jay Caruso/Washington Examiner)

If you look at the fine print, though, it reveals that the mail was paid for by the Democratic Party of Virginia and authorized by Youngkin's opponent, former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who is seeking a second, nonconsecutive term.


Typically, political mail highlighting a campaign or political opponent is a blatantly political attack. Common tropes include picturing the candidate in an unflattering photo, often in grayscale, showing a ripped headline or quote from an unflattering news story, and a warning about the candidate.

The mailer from McAuliffe and Virginia Democrats has none of those. Instead, it shows Youngkin photoshopped next to Trump alongside a checkmark and quotes from Youngkin showing appreciation for the endorsement, plus statements from Trump distributed by his Save America PAC.

The move reflects the core of McAuliffe’s campaign strategy: Tie Youngkin to the former president, who lost the state by 10 points in 2020 — and by far more in the state’s northern suburbs outside Washington, D.C.

McAuliffe repeatedly refers to Youngkin and Trump together, arguing that he is just as extreme as the former president.

A previous digital video from McAuliffe highlighted Trump’s support of Youngkin using common negative attack tropes, displaying orange-filtered images of Youngkin and Trump with quotes from Youngkin spliced against controversial statements from Trump.

"The Democrats and McAuliffe campaign are welcome to tout endorsements and bolster support for the Youngkin campaign all they want,” Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter told the Washington Examiner in a statement. “The reality is that Terry McAuliffe knows he can’t beat Glenn Youngkin and therefore is desperate to run against someone else."

Other candidates and political groups have, from time to time, paid for deceivingly positive ads for opponents with ulterior motives in mind.

The Maine Republican Party last year paid for signs naming the Democratic Senate nominee that said, “Vote Sara Gideon, defund the police!”

In a particularly notable instance, Sen. Clare McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, in 2012 ran ads during the Republican Senate primary touting Republican Rep. Todd Akin as a “true conservative.” Akin later went on to claim that female bodies have ways of shutting down pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.”


“I wanted to get him nominated and start disqualifying him with independent voters at the same time,” McCaskill wrote later about her “genius” plan. “This presentation made it look as though I was trying to disqualify him, though, as we know, when you call someone ‘too conservative’ in a Republican primary, that’s giving him or her a badge of honor.”

Similarly, the left-wing Patriot Majority PAC last year waded into a Republican New Mexico congressional primary with TV ads and mailers casting now-Rep. Yvette Herrell, who they hoped to boost with the thought that she was easier to beat, as the preferred “loyalist” to Trump over her lobbyist opponent.

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Tags: News, Campaigns, Terry McAuliffe, Donald Trump, Glenn Youngkin

Original Author: Emily Brooks

Original Location: Tricky mailer from Democrats flaunts Trump's endorsement of Youngkin