So by all means, go ahead and celebrate the latest election results!
And then get right back to work, because the big one’s still coming up next year.
- Hugest among the highlights was the ousting of Kentucky’s incumbent Governor Matt Bevin by Democrat Andy Beshear. Despite Trump’s best efforts to push Bevin over the line. Republicans–as Trump was quick to point out–did win several state-wide offices, including electing the state’s first ever African-American Attorney General.) This in a state where both U.S. Senators (including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell), 5 out of 6 U.S. Reps., 61% of State Reps., and 76% of State Senators are Republican. We think Bevin’s downfall had a lot to do with going after public school teachers. Much was made by his opponent of his Trump-like insults hurled at them as he tried to cut back on benefits. And teachers just aren’t ever really the right people to anger. (In 2016, Trump won Kentucky by 30%).
- In Virginia, Democrats held the State Senate and flipped the House, meaning all branches of government and all of the highest state offices are now majority Democrat. In the case of the House, it’s the first time it’s been that way in 20 years. (In 2016, Trump lost Virginia by 5%).
- And in Pennsylvania, Democrats won a county council they have not controlled since the Civil War, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. (In 2016, Trump won Pennsylvania by less than 1%).
There’s one more to watch out for real soon: Louisiana Democrat and incumbent Governor John Bel Edwards faces off a week from Saturday against Republican Eddie Rispone. Edwards is an Army veteran, so Trump hasn’t been able to do his usual “hates the troops” Twitter number on him. Mostly he’s warning he’ll send car insurance rates sky high. If Trump “loses” this one as well, meaning the Democratic incumbent hangs on, that might really start meaning something…
But already, for Republicans to view these off-year election results as anything but a disaster is really difficult, because—as we’ve often pointed out to Democrats—you don’t win in politics unless you actually win.
So now they’re the ones playing the “close is actually a win” game, with Trump leading the chorus. Especially in races where the President stumped for and strongly backed the eventual losers. In the past, when Republican candidates haven’t prevailed, Trump’s often blamed it on himself being spread too thin to devote enough individual attention to all the races: as if a Trump endorsement would’ve guaranteed a sure victory. Now he’s saying “Fake news will blame Trump!”. But that’s the biggest bunch of BS ever. He should be slammed with the blame. Hard. Because if he’s taken all the credit for all the close wins, then it’s only fair to share some of the criticism for the losses. And Trump’s all about “fairness”, right?
Here’s Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel trying to explain it all away:
Yeah, but he still lost… With the shoe on the other foot, Democrats, can you now see how nonsensical and downright unbecoming that appears?