Glenn Youngkin. The GOP’s Red Vest Savior?

by Kerry Dougherty

To properly judge the level of disillusionment after Wednesday’s GOP debate, get a load of this bright red headline on Drudge Thursday:

That teases to a Washington Post opinion piece, “GOP Donors Yearn For a Trump Alternative. They Think They May Have Found One.”

According to Post reporter Robert Costa, high-roller Republican donors are meeting in two weeks at the Cavalier Hotel for a two-day closed meeting dubbed, “Red Vest Retreat.” The well-heeled donors assured the writer that the money is there, the only question is whether the governor is willing to jump in.

Some of the biggest Republican donors in the country will converge next month at the historic Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach for a two-day meeting to rally behind Gov. Glenn Youngkin. The closed gathering, named the “Red Vest Retreat” after the fleece Youngkin wore during his 2021 campaign, will begin Oct. 17 and be focused, officially, on the Republican effort to win full control of the General Assembly in Virginia’s upcoming elections. But unofficially, several donors tell me, it will be an opportunity for them to try to push, if not shove, Youngkin into the Republican presidential race.

It’s worth remembering that the Cavalier is Virginia Beach developer Bruce Thompson’s baby. In 2013, Thompson was Terry McAuliffe’s Hampton Roads finance chair. In 2021 he switched sides, serving as Youngkin’s state campaign finance chief.

The choice of venue for this political retreat is no accident.

News reports claim that billionaire Rupert Murdoch is a strong Youngkin supporter. No indication yet if Murdoch will be visiting our fair city next month.

A national game of political chess is underway. With poll after poll showing that most Americans do not want a Biden/Trump rematch and Biden’s approval ratings plummeting, power brokers in both camps are strategizing for last-minute top-of-the-ticket switcheroo.

Gavin Newsom is circling Biden like a hungry wolf eying a limping lamb. There are persistent rumors that Michelle Obama could be a last-minute substitute should Biden tumble down Air Force 1 steps again, wet his pants in public or if the feds frogmarch Hunter away in handcuffs.

Sure, Trump’s national poll numbers are rising, but only as the empty old husk of the president stumbles from gaffe to gaffe. A fresh new face on the Dem side could radically change the equation.

Many Virginians were stunned when Youngkin, Winsome Sears and Jason Miyares were elected to the top three jobs in what Democrats believed was a deep-blue commonwealth. The House is in Republican hands and Youngkin is working tirelessly to flip the state Senate.

If Democrats are left speechless and sad by even more Republican gains when the sun rises on November 8th, Youngkin will be the Republican party’s poster boy for success.

The winningest GOP politician in the country.

After a series of disappointing national election results, a sea change in Virginia might prove that a Republican with the sunny optimism of Ronald Reagan can bring independents and moderate Democrats into his common-sense fold. At that point, finding a way to parachute Youngkin into the primary race may prove irresistible.

Youngkin’s meteoric rise from successful but largely unknown businessman to the first Republican governor of Virginia since Bob McDonnell was elected in 2009 was historic.

Like his predecessors, Youngkin may find it difficult to remain relevant when he leaves the Governor’s Mansion in 2025 due to Virginia’s one-term-governor rule.

Yet a close look at his gubernatorial campaign, where he did nothing to alienate Trump supporters while keeping the former president at a distance, is an object lesson in winning.

The Post article speculates that Youngkin recoils from the notion of a bare-knuckles fight with the pugnacious Donald Trump who mercilessly attacks anyone who opposes him.

‘There are some around Youngkin who say the prospect of relentless attacks from the GOP front-runner could be what keeps him on the sidelines, with one person close to him saying, “Glenn cringes when he thinks about what Trump would do.”

Yet Youngkin’s tough but good-natured demeanor would only highlight the former president’s worst traits: his nastiness, vulgarities and name-calling.

By refusing to sink to Trump’s level, Youngkin might be a balm to voters weary of ugly, partisan politics. His parents’ rights platform has broad bipartisan support, his pragmatic approach to abortion and his willingness to work with political opponents (remember when he presented the humorless Democratic ringleader Louise Lucas with his trademark red vest?) might be just what America needs.

Keep an eye on the Cavalier next month. The Red Vest Retreat might offer some surprises.

Republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed and Unedited.