Last night saw a seismic shift in the political landscape – away from Donald Trump and his politics of divisiveness, racism, religious intolerance, and just about everything that America has stood for the last 300 years. The election that riveted the political observers was the gubernatorial race in Virginia between the Trump-endorsed Republican candidate Ed Gillespie and his Democrat rival Lt. Governor Ralph Northam.
When the final results were in on Tuesday night, the story was not just that Northam had beaten Gillespie (as the polls had predicted) but that in many areas of the state he DEMOLISHED him. Gillespie, once known as a fairly moderate politician had tried to follow the Trump playbook by embracing symbols of the Confederacy, fearmongering (MS-13 gangs and sanctuary cities), but also tried to keep some distance between himself and the president. Trump was never invited to campaign with Gillespie, although VP Mike Pence did show up at a poorly attended rally in the deep-red southwest part of Virginia. Former President Barack Obama openly campaigned for Northam.
It was not just the governorship that flipped blue in this southern state. Democrats also won several key mayoral elections, including the city of Charlottesville, and are within a hairbreadth of capturing control of the Virginia legislature. This same story was repeated across the country as Democrats took away traditional Republican seats in areas where Trump had won in 2016. Republican Governor Chris Christie, the first of the Republican contenders to endorse Trump and whose approval ratings were in the teens, was replaced by a Democrat.
What has changed in just one year? During the presidential campaign Trump once bragged that he could shoot someone of 5th Avenue and not lose any supporters. Many voters saw Trump simply through the lens of his campaign rhetoric and like what they heard Others, who had always voted Republican, told themselves “Well, he can’t be any worse than Clinton.” Despite the fact that Clinton did indeed win more that 3M votes than Trump, he was able to swing three traditionally Blue states by a margin of about 70,000 votes. And there are a number of questions that have been raised about how that occurred.
But in reality, Americans have had a year now to see Donald Trump as he really is. A totally self-centered individual who takes credit for other people’s accomplishments and refuses to take blame for any of his failures. An insecure, thin-skinned 71-year old man who lashes out with playground name-calling against anyone who dares to criticize him. A president who is woefully ignorant of the role and obligations of his job. And they don’t like what they see.
These Americans went to the polls on Tuesday to register their disapproval of Donald Trump and all that he represents. An increasing number of Republicans in Congress also don’t like what he has done to their party, largely enabled by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, and are announcing their retirement from politics. The last two Republican Presidents, George H.W. Bush and his son George W. Bush, have issued an unprecedented rebuke of Trump and his policies in their forthcoming book The Last Republicans.
In typical Trump fashion, he did not take any blame for the election results last night as evidenced by his tweet on the results of the Virginia election.
Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for. Don’t forget, Republicans won 4 out of 4 House seats, and with the economy doing record numbers, we will continue to win, even bigger than before!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 8, 2017
No Mr. Trump, Ed Gillespie did embrace you and what you stand for and that, more than anything else, is what cost him the election. But of course nothing is ever your fault. You endorsed Luther Strange in the GOP primary in Alabama and he lost. You endorsed Ed Gillespie in the Virginia gubernatorial election and he lost. The next big test comes in December in the race in Alabama to replace Jeff Sessions in the Senate. You endorsed Republican Judge Roy Moore. Democrat Doug Jones must be jubilant this morning. SO MUCH WINNING!
Democrats are elated at the results from Tuesday night, while Republicans are scrambling to figure out how they can save themselves in 2018. Their only option may be to remove Trump from office before that election – by whatever legal means are open to them. Otherwise, the Democrats are each day getting closer to gaining control of the House and Senate and you can rest assured that they will get rid of Donald J. Trump.