Anti-trans politics continues to be much less potent than pundits expect in addition to being substantively awful:
In 2021, the so-called “parents’ rights” conservative movement was ascendant. Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin ran on a platform based almost entirely on opposing the teaching of anti-racism and LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum in schools, marshaling the support of a group of self-proclaimed “Mama Bears” to propel him to victory. But last night, Democrat Schuyler VanValkenburg defeated Youngkin’s hopeful successor, Republican state Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, who appeared eager to continue Youngkin’s parents’ rights crusade. In campaign ads, VanValkenberg positioned himself squarely against the parents’ rights crowd, decrying book bans and talking up “the difference one book can make for a child.”
Parents rights crusaders lost many other key races last night. The most influential force in the movement has been, without a doubt, Moms for Liberty, a national group founded in 2021 by two conservative Florida moms. In just two years, the group has amassed 115,000 members in 285 chapters across 45 states. Though Moms for Liberty claims to be a grassroots coalition of parents, as I have reported, it has strong ties to conservative powerhouse groups, including the Heritage Foundation and the Leadership Institute.
Moms for Liberty crows about its success in helping its chosen candidates win their elections; of the 500 right-wing candidates the group endorsed for school board last year, three-quarters of whom had never before run, 275 won their races.
But this year, Moms for Liberty’s luck appears to be running out—last night, many of the group’s favored candidates lost.
Always nice when the fascist astroturf gets ripped out.