MSNBC contributor warns Democrats aren't engaged in Virginia gubernatorial race: 'A real indicator of trouble'

MSNBC contributor warns Democrats aren’t engaged in Virginia gubernatorial race: ‘A real indicator of trouble’

MSNBC contributor Sam Stein painted a grave picture Wednesday for Democratic Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe’s chances at winning back his old job, citing a lack of engagement in the race amongst Democrats as a major concern.

MSNBC contributor Sam Stein painted a grave picture Wednesday for Democratic Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe’s chances at winning back his old job, citing a lack of engagement in the race amongst Democrats as a major concern. 

During an appearance on “Morning Joe,” Stein attributed that lack of engagement to President Joe Biden’s “plummeting” poll numbers, as well as lingering anxiety surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, and declared that McAuliffe was “holding on for dear life.” 

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe speaks during his campaign rally in Dumfries, Virginia October 21, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque 
(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

“If you’re the party in power, usually you have a tough time in these elections … But in this case I think there are some particulars, the national dynamics, that are playing into this,” Stein told host Joe Scarborough, who claimed that Democrats had to be wondering why this race in a blue state was such a difficult one. “One is Joe Biden’s plummeting popularity rating is a indicator of trouble for McAuliffe. Democrats are not engaged.”

“Whatever momentum, legislative momentum, may have been there early on that had generated so much enthusiasm and excitement among all facets of the Democratic Party, that’s gone. That’s been sapped,” he added.

Stein stated that continued anxiety over the pandemic situation not improving was also causing trouble for Democrats, and more specifically Biden, when it came to what polling data was showing. McAuliffe has trotted out high-profile figures like Biden, former President Barack Obama, and Vice President Kamala Harris in the campaign’s final days.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Democratic candidate for governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe interact onstage at a rally in Arlington, Virginia, U.S. October 26, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst 
(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

“So McAuliffe is holding on for dear life. He obviously wants to get something passed, whether it’s just the infrastructure package, perhaps the reconciliation bill. He wants to show signs of momentum. but it’s impossible at this juncture to see — well, not impossible, but very difficult to see how anything substantial gets done between now and next Tuesday when the actual vote takes place,” Stein said, referencing the $3.5 trillion spending package currently being debated in Congress. 

Stein’s warning joined a host of media figures who’ve signaled an increased level of panic amongst Democrats over the possibility McAuliffe could lose to Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin. Polling shows a tight race heading into the final days.

CNN’s John King and Dana Bash addressed McAuliffe’s performance on the campaign trail earlier this month, with King sounding the alarm over his repeated campaign blunders, and Bash taking a dig at him for obsessing over former President Donald Trump during an on-air interview. 

“You mentioned Donald Trump,” Bash said during the interview. “I’m glad I have two cups here so I can keep drinking when you mention Donald Trump’s name.”

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign rally for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe in Richmond, Virginia, U.S. October 23, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque 
(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Liberal CNN host Chris Cuomo appeared frustrated and concerned Tuesday over an ad Youngkin began running that criticized McAuliffe for his stance against parents having a say in what schools teach their children. 

He referred to Youngkin’s ad as a scare tactic and appeared to defend Democrats’ policies on teaching critical race theory in schools, as well as testing, vaccine and mask mandates. 

Fox News’ Cortney O’Brien contributed to this report.

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