So yesterday, in a couple of blue states where liberals have been concentrating their resources to send a message to Trump, and to Republicans, the Democrats won the governorships of Virginia and New Jersey.
In both races, it was expected that the Democrats would win those seats, although polling in Virginia had shown the race was tightening because of a couple controversial issues. Ed Gillespie, the Republican challenger, had closed the margins in the polls making the Democrats nervous.
In the end, Northam won rather handily. The liberal voters came out in force and managed to flip 14 Republican held seats in the legislature to hand it to the Democrats. Now with the executive and legislature in Democrats hands, the pundits have decided that Virginia is the new “tea leaf” and everyone is grabbing on to figure out if this means anything.
The Democrats were spooked in the Presidential Election by how long it took to call the state. Waiting for the swollen liberal counties of the northern counties to return ballot counts caused a lot of concern.
Out of state money was sent in droves to help keep the governorship, but also to influence the state legislature. Trump hardly spent time supporting the declared candidates, but interestingly, the Lieutenant Governor ran almost exclusively Pro-Trump and outperformed Gillespie.
I don’t know that the end result would have been different had Gillespie shed his establishment robes, but the Democrats needed to keep Virginia solidly blue and succeeded. Whether this is a message to Trump depends entirely who you talk with.
Pro Trump/MAGA fanatics – This was not unexpected. No one cares, and it was funny that a pro-Sanctuary group messed up the victory speech of Northam. Virginia was not going to flip Republican.
Never Trumper – This was a massive repudiation of Trump and shows just how bad he is to establishment conservatives, especially in a blue state that doesn’t like him anyway.
Democrat – The tide is changing and we’re coming back. Everyone is rejecting the Trump/GOP extremism, and we have momentum to move forwards. Hell, even Schumer is now saying the Virginia results means a rejection of the Republican tax bill on the table.
My personal opinion:
Trump is getting no help from McConnell and the established Republicans. With a majority in both Houses, they have failed to keep promise after promise and the base is growing discontent. They should have kept up the push after Gorsuch, but obviously dropped the ball.
For all the power gains made, the Republicans look extremely impotent. A lot of that has to do with establishment discontent of Trump and jockeying for political points rather than just going heads down and getting the legislative agenda moving forward. Some however, believe that Trump deserves no victory, even if it means making your constituents angry.
Case in point, many voters were expecting to pay lower taxes in 2017, as well as have better health insurance options for 2018. Those two pieces alone would have made all Republican’s happy.
Neither of those are happened and midterms are right around the corner. Tax relief seems to be 2019 at the earliest and my lousy Obamacare insurance with high deductibles and out of pocket costs still there.
Whether that affected the Virginia turnout and kept Republican and/or Trump supporters home won’t be known, but I believe it had some impact to Republican candidates looking for cover from the national party. For upcoming elections, each day where promises are not kept will result in more voter anger. Incumbents may not make it past primaries and in the general election, the party may flip for critical seats.
It’s really up to them.