The operative word is not ‘critical’ and it’s not ‘theory,’ – it’s RACE. Skip to content

The operative word is not ‘critical’ and it’s not ‘theory,’ – it’s RACE.

What we saw in Virginia in the closing days of the Youngkin campaign was the Republican playbook for 2022 in the midterms, in 2023 in Kentucky against Gov. Beshear, and certainly in 2024 against President Biden.

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“The operative word is not ‘critical’ and it’s not ‘theory,’” oft-cited political analyst Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics said on MSNBC on the eve of the Virginia governor’s election. “It’s race.”

Republican Glenn Youngkin decided that demonizing Critical Race Theory “was his ticket to the governor’s mansion,” he added.

Youngkin won.

On the campaign trail, he promised to bar CRT from the state’s K-12 schools on his first day in office, though CRT is taught only at the college and post-graduate level, including in law schools. (Republican Lieutenant Gov.-elect Winsome Sears, who is African American and the first woman of color to be elected to a statewide office in Virginia, also denounced CRT on the campaign trail.)

“Critical Race theory is the latest bogeyman,” said Dr. Brian Clardy, a Murray State University history professor. “Any subject in history, political science, sociology, the law, that even speaks to America’s racial past and makes certain constituencies uncomfortable is being put under this larger, broader umbrella of Critical Race theory.” He meant whites.

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Berry Craig

Berry Craig is a professor emeritus of history at West KY Community College, and an author of seven books and co-author of two more. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)

Arlington, KY

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