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by Brandon Jarvis

After a few days of back-and-forth over an ad from Glenn Youngkin where he accused Terry McAuliffe of preventing parents from keeping explicit material out of schools, the book at the center of the conversation has made its way onto Amazon’s list of top rising books over the last 24 hours. The novel causing the controversy in the gubernatorial race is ‘Beloved,’ the Toni Morrisson work from 1987 about a Civil War-era woman that killed her own child to prevent it from experiencing slavery. 

Youngkin released an ad Monday with Laura Murphy, the mother who advocated against ‘Beloved’ during McAuliffe’s first term as governor. She championed a bill through the General Assembly that would have allowed parents to opt their children out of explicit materials in schools. The bill received bipartisan support but McAuliffe vetoed it when it reached his desk.  

McAuliffe responded to the new ad by accusing Youngkin of wanting to ban books and racist dog-whistling. “Youngkin’s closing message of book banning and silencing esteemed Black authors is a racist dog whistle designed to gin up support from the most extreme elements of his party–mainly his top endorser and surrogate, Donald Trump,” McAuliffe said in a statement Monday night. 

At an event with President Joe Biden Tuesday night, McAuliffe’s staff passed out ‘Beloved’ to members of the press accompanied by a piece of literature saying, “Glenn Youngkin will ban books in Virginia schools.” 

Youngkin then responded by pointing out the several Democrats that voted for the bill that he vetoed. “Terry McAuliffe is falsely claiming these 18 Democrats voted to ban books,” Youngkin said in a statement Wednesday. “He also says they’re racists because they voted for a bill that would let parents know what their children are being assigned to read at school.”

In an ad earlier this month, McAuliffe accused his opponent of taking his words out of context after Youngkin’s media blitz accusing him of not wanting parents to have input in schools. “As parents, Dorthy and I have always been involved in our kid’s education,” he said in the ad. “We know good schools depend on involved parents.”

As of Wednesday at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, ‘Beloved’ was #6 in Amazon’s mover and shakers category, a list of Amazon’s books that have seen the largest increase in sales over the last 24 hours. 

The controversy has dominated the conversation of the gubernatorial race with just days remaining until Virginia elects a governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and House of Delegates. 

Polls have shown a dead heat in all three statewide races. 

Youngkin has been touring the commonwealth by bus making several stops a day to rally with large groups of supporters. McAuliffe has been relying on the big Democratic names like Obama, Biden, Harris, and Abrams to rally up the base in a state that Trump lost by 10 points last year. 

Election day is Nov. 2.

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By vascope