Harris' warning was made last week as she joined McAuliffe campaigning at a “get out the vote” rally ahead of the Virginia governor election.
Calling the days leading up to Virginia's gubernatorial election “very important days,” Harris said that Tuesday would be “a critical day that will determine whether we either turn back the clock or move it forward,”
Stating both President Biden and herself “care deeply about Terry McAuliffe, about the commonwealth of Virginia, and about the future of our nation,” Harris repeatedly pushed the significance of the Virginia election.
“You all know that every four years when this election happens for governor of Virginia, it's a tight election, it's a close election, and it is a bellwether for what happens in the rest of the country,” she said.
Commenting on signs she witnessed that read “Don't Texas Virginia,” Harris warned “what happens in Virginia will, in large part, determine what happens in 2022, 2024, and on.”
Claiming voters had “the ability to determine, yes, who will be the next governor,” she also said they could determine “by extension — given the importance of this Virginia election — how the country is gonna move.”
“In that way, each of you has a power to impact the lives of people you may never meet, people who may never know your name, but because of what you do… Tuesday, their lives will forever be impacted by what you do in this election,” she said.
Repeating that “elections matter,” Harris claimed her election to vice president in 2020 was proof.
“If Virginia hadn't turned out, if you hadn't did what you did in 2020, I wouldn't be standing here,” she said.
Calling on participants “to do everything in our power to reach out to everyone we see and know,” Harris referred to the previous two presidential elections as proof of the significance of elections.
“If you want a reference point about how elections matter, yes, I would ask you, hopefully, with a smile to reflect on 2020,” she said, “but I'll also ask you to reflect on what happened four years before when a lot of us thought the right thing will happen, it'll be alright.”
“One of the lessons we learned among many [was that] we can take nothing for granted ever,” she added, in reference to the 2016 election of President Donald Trump.
Speaking to the crowd, Harris listed several issues “at stake in this election.”
“If you care about the rights of women to make decisions about their own bodies… electing Terry McAuliffe will matter,” she said.
“If, in the middle of a recovery from a pandemic, you believe that health care and health coverage matters, who is governor will matter,” she added. “If you believe concerning oneself with the condition and wellbeing of our members of our military matter, who is governor will matter.”
She also stressed the “seriousness of this climate crisis.”
“[W]e care about the climate,” she said. “We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; we need to invest in renewable energies.”
Emphasizing the need for “governors who stand up, stand tall, [and] stand strong on these issues,” Harris lauded McAuliffe as “a governor who stands up and says let's invest in an approach like [President Biden's] ‘Build Back Better' [Framework].”
On the subject of LGBTQ rights, Harris noted the gravity of McAuliffe's election.
“This election matters if you recognize that, yes, we've come a long way but we still have a long way to go on LGBTQ rights and passing the equality act,” she said.
On “the right to vote,” Harris said, “if you believe that the right to vote and access to the polls matters, [then] who is governor matters.”
“We will not make it more difficult for people to vote, we will make it easier for people to vote,” she said.
Harris also warned of allowing Virginia to become the next “Texas.”
“When we talk about ‘Don't Texas Virginia,' that's one of the top things I have in mind,” she said. “Watch what's happening around this country, this is no joke.”
Trump celebrated the victory of Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin in the Virginia governor’s race on Tuesday. https://t.co/HxbnX6M21V
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) November 3, 2021
“You think they don't think and aren't watching this around the country to think if we can take Virginia, we can do this [in] a lot of other places?” she asked. “Don't let Virginia be an experiment.”
Referring to information from the classified President's Daily Brief (PDB), Harris claimed there is a “real conversation” taking place globally about the “battle between democracies and autocracies.”
“There's a real battle happening where people are watching what we are doing in our country and making a decision about whether that is in fact a role model of how you can be strong and be a democracy or whether it doesn't work,” she said.
Harris concluded by highlighting the amount of power Virginians wield and how crucial the Virginia election is.
“There is so much power in the hands of the people including not only determining the outcome of this very, very important election but making a statement about who we are as a nation,” she said.
“All of that is at stake,” she added.
McAuliffe, the former governor of Virginia, ran against Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin on Tuesday.
In the closing days of the race, Youngkin made incredible strides to overcome a Virginia electorate that voted by double digits to elect President Biden in 2020.
McAuliffe's shrinking advantage reflected his faltering campaign in the days leading up to Tuesday.
Last month, McAuliffe claimed Youngkin was unfit to be governor, referring to his Republican opponent as “a total Trump wannabe.”
After making the race primarily about former President Donald Trump, McAuliffe changed his tune over the weekend and said the race was no longer about him, though later falsely claiming during a Monday campaign stop that Youngkin was holding an event with Trump as the race was coming to a close.
McAuliffe's shrinking polling advantage was likely due to the campaign ignoring state issues, such as education and the parental right to direct their children's education, famously suggesting during a debate that parents should not be involved in school decisions.
McAuliffe even denied critical race theory (CRT) was being taught to Virginia students.
“It's not taught here in Virginia,” McAuliffe claimed about CRT. “We can ask about any topic. Here's what I've said all along, and it really bothers me — this whole idea of stirring parents up to create divisions.”
Youngkin took the opposing position, calling out McAuliffe for cozying up to the teacher unions.
On Monday, Youngkin wrote Virginians “must empower parents, and address their concerns about school safety, the school curriculum and the decline in standards and results in Virginia schools.”
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein