On MSNBC’s Decision 2021 election coverage Tuesday, as Republican Glenn Youngkin was on his way to building a strong lead in the Virginia gubernatorial race over Democratic incumbent Terry McAuliffe, the topic turned to critical race theory. It was a main issue leading up to the election, and host Joy Reid said that it’s a platform that other Republican candidates could run on as well.

“He's found a way to launder a pretty racist trope. This idea that we cannot talk about America's history, because it hurts my feelings. He's turned that into a campaign,” Reid said of Youngkin. “And I think what Democrats have to worry about is if he succeeds, and he wins, that is going to be the campaign model for every single Republican that's running in 2022.”

MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow took that sentiment one step further, pointing out just how easy it would be to run with critical race theory as a platform.

“To have the Fox News channel, our friends at the Fox News channel, building their programming, particularly the primetime programming, around this for months. They're building a campaign platform for conservative candidates to run on it everywhere. Even though it's not actually taught anywhere. Even though it's not a real thing,” Maddow said of critical race theory.

The primetime programming she referred to includes Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, who she says have been a constant fuel for the critical race theory fire in recent months.

“There's nothing you could pay for in any campaign that would equal the kind of free help you'd get from that kind of conservative media, just fire hose on the issue,” Maddow said.

With some exit polls confirming that education was indeed one of the top issues in this race, Reid said that this is a sign of what’s to come for the Republican Party.

“It was education, which is code for: white parents don't like the idea of teaching about race,” Reid said. “Unfortunately, race is just the most palpable tool in the toolkit. It used to be of the Democratic Party back in the day when they were Dixiecrats. And now the Republican Party. It just is powerful.”

The Rachel Maddow Show airs weeknights at 9 p.m. on MSNBC.

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