Let's have a little political talk around here today as a switch from too much health chitchat.
Democratic candidates got an amazing number of wins over their Republican opponents in Tuesday's election and in some cases did it in a walk. The biggest spread in the vote count was in the Virginia race for governor between Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie – a vast nine points dividing them.
The Democrats had a good run that night too in Virginia's House of Delegates. Four seats are still too close to call as I write this on Thursday afternoon and the final count could end up with a 50/50 split in the formerly bright red House.
Not as dramatically, some other states leaned heavily toward blue in this election, notably the Democratic win for governor in New Jersey, which is giving Republicans heartburn for the 2018 midterm election.
Yastreblyansky posted a cogent response to these developments at The Rectification of Names blog which I will quote more extensively than I usually do,
First he points out that of the 16 Virginia districts that went to Northam on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton won 15 of them in 2016.
”...one reason [this election] was so like 2016 is that so many people voted — 47%, the highest turnout in a Virginia gubernatorial election in 20 years,” writes Yastreblyansky.
“In a normal off-off-year election, the same kind of idiocy we're stuck with in New York City and New Jersey, the candidate of the leisured, the management, the retired, has an advantage. Not this year: voters just came out.
“And not just voters; candidates too. In 2013, 56 out of 100 districts had no opposition (mostly Republican seats), and no election was required at all; 71 of them in 2015.
“But in 2017 there were just 12 Republican seats with no opposition (28 Democratic seats unopposed by Republicans), because Democrats came out in Virginia to challenge everybody they could, and they won such a startling number those seats because they showed up.
“That simple. (Apparently Trump really inspired folks to run, particularly women, just by being so disgusting.) (Guy on MSNBC—Stuart Stevens, Wikipedia says he's a travel writer—saying every woman running as a Democrat nationwide just won her race.)”
The New York Times followed up on how much this Democratic Party-leaning vote involving wins by so many women and minorities means or does not mean for the midterms that are still a year away:
”Some are skeptical of reading too much into one off-year election. And even Democrats have had heated disagreements over whether identity politics help the party or drive people away.
“But David Ramadan, a Republican who served in the Virginia General Assembly from 2012 to 2016 said the warning for his party was clear.
“'Tuesday’s results show that unless the Republicans go back to being mainstream conservatives and run on issues like education, jobs and transportation instead of sanctuary cities and Confederate statues, they will hand not only Virginia to liberals, but they will hand the country to liberals and Congress to liberals next year,' Mr. Ramadan said.”
At New York magazine, Ed Kilgore walked readers through the various county vote numbers vis a vis the same counties in 2016, concluding:
One would be tempted to guess Northam won a good number of anti-Trump Republicans. But the exits suggest he won only 4 percent of self-identified members of the GOP. What seems to have mattered more is that self-identified Democrats were 41 percent of the electorate, as opposed to only 31 percent who were Republicans.
“That is a testament to the Democratic voter targeting and turnout operation, and possibly an indication that Republicans are losing a significant number of Virginia’s white suburban voters altogether.”
Two things about that: The daily effort the resistance has been making day-in-and-day-out since the 2016 election is working. It's fallen off my radar a bit since June with the distraction of my health issue and I haven't been reminding you to keep after your D.C. representatives on votes as they come up. Do keep at it for the coming year. If you can, help out your local grassroots efforts too.
Second, what do you make of this week's elections? Depending on your political leanings, are you encouraged, worried or, like me, concerned that so much happens, so much changes, every day in our current Trump world, everything is forgotten in the worldwind and almost nothing applies anymore after a week has gone by.