Commentary

Progressive resistance up, Trumpism down in Tuesday’s election results

Donald Trump speaking

President Donald Trump

The verdict being delivered by national political analysts is that yesterday’s election results — particularly in the closely contested state of Virginia — represent a sharp rebuke of Donald Trump and his divisive policies.

Here’s the Associated Press:

“Seizing his party’s first major Trump-era victory, Democrat Ralph Northam beat back a charge from Republican Ed Gillespie in the race for Virginia governor, a bruising election that tested the power of President Donald Trump’s fiery nationalism against the energy of the Trump resistance.

In Virginia, like in several contests across America on Tuesday, the Trump resistance won. And it wasn’t close.

Northam, a pediatric neurologist and Army veteran, led longtime Republican operative Gillespie by several points as the final votes ticked in. Democrats also scored victories in the race for New Jersey governor and in Maine, where voters slapped the state’s Republican governor, a Trump ally, by backing a measure to expand Medicaid coverage under former President Barack Obama’s health care law. The Democratic mayors of New York and Boston, both vocal Trump critics, also won re-election easily. And Virginia voters elected the state’s first openly-transgender state representative, among more than a dozen state legislative pickups for Democrats.

The resounding victories marked the GOP’s most significant day of defeat in the young Trump presidency and a rebuke to the president himself as his party eyes a suddenly more threatening midterm election season next year.”

“Ralph Northam’s election as Virginia governor amid reportedly high turnout on Tuesday is a stinging and welcome rebuke to President Trump and white nationalism.

Mr. Northam’s Republican rival, Ed Gillespie, an establishment operative, chose to dog-whistle himself breathless in pursuit of the state’s pro-Trump white voters, and the president attested to his make-America-great-again credentials. By late Tuesday, though, Mr. Trump was trying to sidle away from Mr. Gillespie, claiming that a candidate who sacrificed his own reputation to adopt the president’s style and positions in fact ‘did not embrace me or what I stand for.’ Mr. Gillespie did, and he lost.

Virginia and New Jersey, where Democrat Phil Murphy easily won the governor’s race, were the first statewide general elections since Donald Trump won the presidency a year ago, and Virginia, the only southern state Hillary Clinton won in 2016, was by far the more consequential of the two. Late Tuesday Democrats were also registering gains in the Virginia House of Delegates, suggesting strong disapproval of Mr. Trump at the grass roots.

Progressives generally fared well here in North Carolina as well as the state’s major cities elected progressive mayors. The bottom line: The resistance against Trumpism had its first real coming out party last night. Let’s hope elected officials in Washington and Raleigh are paying attention and recognize that plowing ahead with more hard right policies will only fan the flames of the resistance movement in 2018.

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