Washington Post columnist James Hohmann sounded the alarm on critical race theory as a “potent” issue ahead of the Virginia gubernatorial race.

Hohmann began his piece on Wednesday by drawing attention to the “loudest cheers” GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin receives at his rallies, which is his promise to ban CRT from Virginia schools while pointing out his Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe declared it “another right-wing conspiracy” that isn’t taught in the commonwealth, the former governor also calling it a “racist dog whistle.”

“What McAuliffe misses is that this term has become a stand-in for deeper-seated fears among parents about what their children are learning,” Hohmann wrote. “CRT is now shorthand for a broader basket of issues relating to education. Polling shows a plurality of Virginia voters opposed to the teaching of this theory, so dismissing those who speak out against it as racist is doomed to backfire.”

MCAULIFFE GRILLED TO DEFINE CRITICAL RACE THEORY AFTER SAYING IT ‘DOESNT EXIST’ IN VA, CALLS IT ‘DOG WHISTLE’

The columnist compared McAuliffe’s dismissal of the “pervasive parental anxiety” to Democrats’ underestimating the rise of the Tea Party ahead of the 2010 midterms, writing, “It was common then for many on the left to dismiss people getting engaged with right-wing politics for the first time as racist whack jobs who were being taken advantage of by Astroturf groups funded by billionaires.”

Hohmann warned Republicans are “in striking distance” of winning Virginia for the first time since 2009 while Democrats “seem to be sleepwalking into disaster.”

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He also noted that Youngkin has been benefitting from McAuliffe’s “gaffe” at last month’s debate where the Democrat said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” noting GOP focus groups show the McAuliffe comes off as “arrogant and out of touch.”

“Critical race theory is an issue tailor-made to help Republicans win this, well, critical race,” Hohlmann concluded.