|Say hello to Danica Roem, Virgina's newest House of Delegates member|
Maybe it took Trumpism to rattle Dems enough to get to the polls. They turned up in big numbers in Virginia, New Jersey, Maine and cities across the country, where Democratic candidates won big. It wasn't even close in the closely watched governor's election in Virginia. The milquetoast Lt. Gov. Northam pummeled the insurgent Ed Gillespie, who went all in on Trumpism. Not only that but Dems did extremely well in state assembly elections and are on the verge of taking back the House of Delegates. They are only two seats short with five to be recounted.
The most interesting race in Virginia was between Danica Roem and Bob Marshall, the incumbent Republican. Marshall is an avowed homophobe who sponsored a "bathroom bill" in the assembly, only to lose to a transgender woman. A record number women ran for office in Virginia and at least 25 Democratic women took assembly seats.
Donald Trump was quick to distance himself from the debacle, calling Gillespie a lousy candidate after publicly endorsing him on election day. Even the GOP bemoaned this as a repudiation of Trumpism. His toxic image has turned off suburban voters in the state.
Trumpism didn't fair any better in New Jersey where Phil Murphy easily defeated the Republican challenger Mary Guadagno, although you can probably blame the highly unpopular Chris Christie just as much. Republicans never had a chance in the state, which is why there was so little national attention. Still, Guadagno dragged out all the appalling Trumpian tactics hoping to turn a few votes her way.
Despite all the criticism de Blasio has taken, he scored an easy win over Nicole Malliotakis in NYC. Democrats won big in cities across the country. Democratic women scored victories in Seattle, Charlotte, Manchester and will run off against each other in Atlanta.
Republicans have to be shaking their heads, especially in Virginia, where they saw a 66-34 House majority evaporate before their eyes. If the Democrats flip Virginia this will be a huge victory. Right now it is looking like a 50-50 split.
It is all rather amazing given the Democrats haven't been doing well in soliciting money and didn't seem to have a clear ground game. Northam was widely seen as vulnerable heading into the election, especially after he flipped on sanctuary cities. As it turns out, Virginia doesn't have any sanctuary cities, so it was pretty much a moot point.
Whatever momentum the New York truck attack might have given Republicans, the Texas church shooting had to weigh much heavier on voters' minds. Phil Murphy made guns a big issue in his state, proposing a gun tax among other gun control measures. Ralph Northam had similarly pushed tighter gun controls in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting. Like Trump, the NRA is now seen as a liability in swing states.
In Maine, health care was a big issue with a referendum on Medicaid expansion. The vote on Tuesday negated Gov. LePage veto of the bill. A bruising loss for the staunchly conservative governor and avid Trump supporter.
All of the sudden, the special election in Alabama looks interesting, as conservative voters appear to be abandoning the Republican party. Doug Jones is polling well in the race for Jeff Sessions vacated Senate seat. A Fox Poll had him even with Roy Moore, aka the Ten Commandments Judge, as of October 18.
This eradicates whatever momentum the Republicans had from the Congressional House special elections back in June, which Trump referred to in his tweets. Even in Georgia, Democrats made gains in the House of Delegates, and have been chipping away at state assemblies across the country.
Knowing that Trump's instinct is always to double down, this does not bode well for Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections. They clearly have an albatross around their necks in the President, who continues to make a fool of himself at home and abroad. He could get a bump if the Republicans are able to push the "Cuts Cuts Cuts Act" through Congress, but the overall consensus is that this bill would add trillions to the national deficit without giving average Americans much in the way of tax relief, thanks to the new tax brackets the bill proposes.
It seems voters are becoming much more circumspect in the wake of Trump's big win last November, no longer trusting him or the Republicans to do anything in their best interest. The Bushes recently came out against Trump, opening up the fault line in the GOP. With Hillary now out of the picture there is even less reason for Republicans to stick with Trump or the brand of politics he promotes.
Americans are looking for new leadership across the board. The pressure is on Democrats to deliver in key states so that Congressional candidates will have something to extol in the midterms. This is a golden opportunity to take back Congress, rendering Trump irrelevant for the remainder of his term, assuming he even lasts out the term.