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Dems Win Big In Virginia

Virginia’s Gov.-elect Ralph Northam (Cool Revolution/Shutterstock [1])

Just got home from a meeting, and caught the election news. I didn’t think it would happen, but it sure happened: Democrat Ralph Northam fended off a last-minute surge by Republican Ed Gillespie to take the governor’s mansion in Virginia.

But it’s worse than that for Virginia Republicans. Much worse, according to Jim Geraghty: [2]

At this hour, Republicans are in danger of losing control of the House of Delegates, where they entered Election Day with a seemingly comfortable 17-seat margin. … [T]he key lesson of the night goes far beyond Gillespie. Right now, the Republican party’s brand in Virginia is dirt. Throw in the failure to make New Jersey even remotely competitive, and tonight is about as bad as it can get for the GOP – a sense of déjà vu from the results across the country 2006 and 2008.

Whoa. Trump, graceless as ever, throwing his own man under the bus:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js [5]

Here’s another sore loser:


https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js [5]

This makes sense:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js [5]

Philip Bump at the Washington Post figures that Trump’s nasty tweet about Gillespie is going to hurt him with Congressional Republicans [8]:

Trump could have congratulated Gillespie on a hard-fought race and noted the uphill battle. Instead, he decided to try to spin the loss to his advantage.

It’s unlikely that many Republicans worried about next November will be convinced by Trump’s argument. Instead, they’re likely to take another lesson: Trump can’t deliver a victory for you when you’re trailing, and neither can Trumpism. (In fact, there’s every reason to think that Trump was the liability that his poll numbers would suggest, with Gillespie doing fine in western Virginia but getting beaten badly in more-Democratic Northern Virginia.) Nor will Trump stand with you should things go south.

If, next summer, the question of Trump’s fate as president is raised, how might Republicans in center-right districts be expected to evaluate that decision?

I’ll write more tomorrow when I see full results. Open thread here. What are you seeing? What do you think?

UPDATE: From Ben Shapiro’s quick take: [9]

5. Democrats Have A Real Turnout Advantage In 2018. Ten percent more Democrats than Republicans turned out in Virginia today. That’s a disastrous number. There’s a reason for it: many Democrats stayed home in 2016, thinking that Hillary Clinton didn’t need their help, and that she was an off-putting candidate. She’s not on the ballot in 2018. But Trump’s record is, and they despise Trump. They’ll show up this time, knowing that staying home made Trump president. Polls right now have generic Democrats walloping generic Republicans by an 11% margin. Meanwhile, Trump isn’t going to drive people out to the polls when he’s not on the ballot — we’ve seen that in Alabama already, and now Virginia, too. 2020 may be a different story, but 2018 looks like it’s shaping up for disaster, which is why so many Republicans are already bowing out of House races.

6. Trump Gives Democrats Part Of That Advantage. President Trump’s approval rating is historically awful for someone this early in his term; that isn’t helping. Despite much of the base’s interest in Trump and sympathy for him, his numbers just aren’t high enough to drive winning turnout. In fact, his tendency to polarize every issue drives out Democrats: ABC News exit polling showed that “voters by a 2-1 margin said they were casting their ballot to show opposition to Trump rather than support for him. In New Jersey the margin was 3-1.” Republicans may thrill to Trump’s cultural warfare, but it can easily backfire, too.

Shapiro goes on to say that the Trumpists have created an unfalsifiable story for their hero. If a candidate he backs loses, they’ll say it was because he was insufficiently Trumpish. If he wins, it’s because he was Trumpish. This has the effect of letting Trump off the hook for the fact that he has no legislative accomplishments to crow about after a year in office and GOP control of Congress.

107 Comments (Open | Close)

107 Comments To "Dems Win Big In Virginia"

#1 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On November 9, 2017 @ 1:34 pm

Trump increased the Republican percentage among whites in the Rust Belt, as well as Florida, which delivered the election.

Trump won 47 percent of the popular vote, and that’s not close to a consolidated “white” vote. His miniscule margin in the rust belt was provided by voters who twice supported Barack Obama, but couldn’t stomach Hillary Clinton. (As I never tire of saying, anyone remember who Obama ran against in the 2008 Democratic primaries???)

#2 Comment By collin On November 9, 2017 @ 3:05 pm

No, because those suburbs are becoming increasingly non-white.

This is true but one missing important point of the ‘less white’ suburbans is white people truly interact with their non-white neighbors. For a lot people the old Steve Sailers charts of white suburbs are diminishing. In my case my friends in High School were Asian-Americans and best friends in college were Hispanic-Americans. In slightly different circumstance, I could have married a Cambodian-American. Even today my kids go to a Hispanic majority school and my wife best friend in the neighborhood is an African-American. Multiculturalism is the culture of West Suburbs. (I even had a very sub-Rand Paul neighbor dispute over noise levels at night with my Hispanic neighbor.)

This is the aspect of conservative complaints of multicultural communities are missing and make Gillispie MS-13 ad campaigns ineffective.

#3 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On November 9, 2017 @ 9:39 pm

Here is a classic ballad about the fate of upper class progressives who revel in their contempt for the working class. And yes, George Soros will be inside the cinematic building described.

#4 Comment By KD On November 10, 2017 @ 5:32 am

People tend to forget that white liberals in NOVA already have a defense against diversity: property values. Who needs border walls if you live in a gated community?

#5 Comment By EngineerScotty On November 10, 2017 @ 12:21 pm

Since we’re playing Phil Ochs, here’s Mojo Nixon doing “Love me, I’m a liberal” updated for the 1990s. (Clinton gets name-dropped–Bill, not Hillary).


If nothing else, as Tom Lehrer once noted, the left has the best music.

#6 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On November 10, 2017 @ 4:51 pm

Thanks Scotty. This is a much better update, more true to the spirit of the original, than the last couple I ran across. There was one that jumped from Tien An Men Square to Chelsea Manning, and I thought, leave the classics alone. But this does the concept justice.

#7 Comment By EngineerScotty On November 11, 2017 @ 2:59 am

People tend to forget that white liberals in NOVA already have a defense against diversity: property values. Who needs border walls if you live in a gated community?

It might surprise you to learn that the DC metro area has many, many middle-class (and even wealthy) people of color, including in Northern Virginia. I know several examples personally. (Including a few that are Republicans).

And while I’m sure that NoVa has its share of gated communities, it also has much more ordinary urban and suburban neighborhoods, where there aren’t any security fences or guards or anything like that to keep out the riffraff.

(And just for captcha: [11])