Virginia Defeat Should Be 'Kick In the Ass' for Democrats, Brian Tyler Cohen Says

The defeat of Terry McAuliffe by Glenn Youngkin in Virginia's gubernatorial race should be the incentive Democrats need to push on with a bold agenda, progressive commentator Brian Tyler Cohen told Newsweek.

Speaking at Web Summit in Lisbon, Cohen, who hosts podcast No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen, said that the situation should spur on Democrats to use the current power they have in Washington.

"One thing, if nothing else, I think this should be the kick in the ass Democrats need to actually continue passing their agenda and as bold an agenda as is humanly possible," Cohen, whose YouTube channel has more than 1.26 million subscribers, said.

"Because I think when the voters came out and elected Joe Biden, and elected Democrats to run the House, and elected Democrats to run the Senate, and we have this rare slither of time where we have unified control of our government, that means that we have to actually use that to pass legislation.

"I think normal people are out there and seeing that we have full control of government and that we're getting hung up on things like whether we should allow the government to negotiate lower drug prices, which has the support of like 90 percent of Americans. And that's unacceptable."

The result comes with spending bills having stalled amid disputes between moderate and progressive Democrats, and both sides are citing Virginia as vindication. Cohen said President Joe Biden must find a way past this dispute to get his agenda through.

"So we can't use this time to moderate our positions," Cohen said. "It was Joe Biden himself who said he wants to have an FDR-like agenda—well pass it. Get it done. Figure out how to get it passed."

Cohen said the party's messaging also needed to be streamlined in order to counter their opponents on the right.

"The other element of that is figuring out our messaging and not allowing the right to basically dictate the terms of the conversation, and misrepresent everyone's positions, and constantly be on the defense," Cohen said.

McAuliffe officially conceded on Wednesday. His defeat has been interpreted by many as a warning sign to Democrats, with the course of events reminiscent of those predating the party's midterm wipeout in 2010.

On this sense of déjà vu, Cohen said: "I do get worried that Democrats inability to have a transformative agenda get passed could hurt us. I think what you have to do is learn from the mistakes of the past."

Cohen said Democrats should focus on a "transformative, aggressive, bold agenda."

DNC Spokesperson Daniel Wessel told Newsweek: "Now more than ever, it is urgent that we pass President Biden's extremely popular Build Back Better agenda. And then spend every single day over the next year, making the case directly to each and every voter on how Democrats are delivering for them."

president biden with terry mcauliffe
President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) at the Lubber Run Community Center on July 22, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. McAuliffe went on to be defeated by Republican Glenn Youngkin. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images