Democrats are back, "By popular demand"
After the key victories of Democrats in Virginia and New Jersey last Tuesday, the national political landscape seems to be showing signs of Trump’s failure.
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The year is near to end and we already see the damage of the US current Presidency in national politics. The path towards the 2018 midterms seems bluer by the minute, especially after Ralph Northam and Phil Murphy won the governor’s race in Virginia and New Jersey last Tuesday.
These victories were in large part “due to a surge in anti-Trump energy since the president took office”, as the Associated Press reported.
While the Republican candidate in Virginia, Ed Gillespie, kept Trump at a distance throughout the campaign, his opponent, Ralph Northam took advantage of “voters’ regret at Trump’s victory in last year’s national election”, and the results were impressive.
The margin victory was near to nine percentage points, something that the Daily Beast has qualified as “a stunning victory for Democrats but, perhaps, an even more stunning rebuke for President Donald Trump”.
The president’s reaction to the results was, once again, the reaffirmation of his erratic tribalism:
“Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for,” he tweeted. “With the economy doing record numbers, we will continue to win, even bigger than before!”
Well… I wouldn’t be so sure about that.
Norham is a pediatric neurologist and Army doctor, and he made health care reform the spearhead of his campaign. “It’s going to take a doctor to heal our differences and I’m here to tell you that the doctor is in”, Northam said as he took the stage in a crowded ballroom in George Mason University’s student center last Tuesday. At the same time, he relayed on a key point to assure a real change is coming: “the country is getting more diverse every day and it’s that diversity that makes this country great”, he said.
According to Reuters, exit polls in Virginia showed that one-third of the voters “went to the polls to oppose Trump”, and only 17 percent went to support him.
But the democratic boost went further. The blue party did well in other key races such as New Jersey, New York, Maine, Washington, Charlotte, North Carolina, St Petersburg, Florida, and Manchester, New Hampshire.
But, why was Virginia’s election so important?
Not only will Northam’s victory “reassure Democrats who have been buffeted by a string of defeats” so far, as The Atlantic analyses, but also allows the intervention in the redistricting after the 2020 Census.
As if that wasn't enough, Virginia’s lower chamber almost flips to the Democrats, with Chris Hurst, John J. Bell, Michael P. Mullin, Danica Roem (first openly transgender elected official), Elizabeth Guzmán and Hala Ayala (both from Latino origins) and Lee Carter as only a few names leading the Democrat tidal wave.
Many observers have stated that the phenomena of Tuesday’s Election is due to the energy of grassroots organizations, who “see the legislative contests as an opportunity to test strategies and technologies ahead of next year’s elections”, as The Washington Post exposes, but what is certain is that Democrats finally have something to thank Donald Trump for.