In case you hadn’t heard, Tuesday was a fairly bad night for Donald Trump and the Republican Party, especially in the states of Virginia and New Jersey where Democrats won both governorships. No matter how the conservative media might spin it (or ignore it, apparently), Tuesday evening was an incredibly embarrassing night for Trump and the GOP.
1. Donald Trump’s political clout and influence continues to prove to be weak and ineffective: Even though Trump and his supporters like to sell him as some “strong, powerful leader who commands respect,” reality doesn’t quite back that up. Not only did Trump’s constant social media whining and bullying not push his own party to support his efforts to repeal Obamacare, but his endorsements of certain political candidates don’t seem to matter all that much, either.
A few weeks ago Trump endorsed Luther Strange, who went on to lose his special election primary battle to legitimately batcrap crazy Roy Moore. The “president” also threw his support behind Ed Gillespie in Virginia, who then lost to Ralph Northam. I think it’s also important to point out that during the GOP’s primary battle to see who’d run against Northam, Trump endorsed Corey Stewart — who then lost to Gillespie.
Meaning that not only did Trump’s original choice, Stewart, lose his primary battle despite his endorsement, but Gillespie, who ran a very Trump-like campaign and was eventually endorsed by the current “president,” also lost.
So much for all that “winning.”
2. It’s not just that Democrats won, it’s how they won: By all accounts, the Virginia governor’s race was supposed to be closer — it wasn’t. Ralph Northam won by roughly 9 percent and over 2.25 million votes. That’s a huge victory in a race many felt Republicans could have won. Then there’s the fact that Democrats flipped at least 13 of the 17 Virginia House of Delegates seats they would need to retake the chamber for the first time in 20 years. Democrats also won the other two state-wide races for lieutenant governor and attorney general.
Then there’s New Jersey where Chris Christie is going to be replaced by Democrat Phil Murphy, crushing Republican Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno by 13 percent.
Though as CNN points out, Democrats won some big victories in smaller races, too:
The party won hotly contested mayoral races in Charlotte, North Carolina, and St. Petersburg, Florida. In Maine, voters approved a ballot measure to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Then there’s a report from ABC News indicating that voters in Virginia by a 2-1 margin said they voted against Trump; in New Jersey that margin was 3-1. That’s not good news for the GOP just 12 months away from very important 2018 midterm elections and a “president” who never admits anything he does is wrong. Needless to say, how this all plays out is going to be very interesting.
3. Even with a DNC still working on rebuilding itself, Republicans got crushed: There’s no question that the DNC is still in the midst of rebuilding itself following years of piss-poor management by Debbie Wasserman Schultz. While I like what Tom Perez has done thus far, he still has a long way to go.
That said, Republicans just got their butts kicked by a party that’s still relatively weak. Now with the momentum Democrats have following Tuesday night’s victories, that’s only going to help the party repair itself even faster.
If Republicans lost this badly with Democrats still reeling and rebuilding after 2016, just imagine what could possibly happen a year from now with a more unified and fortified Democratic Party against a GOP that could be even more chaotic and divided by this time next year.
Without a doubt, Democrats still need to show up in large numbers to vote, but there’s definitely reason for the party to be optimistic heading into an extremely important midterm election.
4. Republicans saw what happens when they can’t run against Hillary Clinton: Let’s face it, for the most part, since 2008, in one way or another, Republicans haven’t been running for anything — just against either Obama or Clinton. They still continue to talk about Hillary Clinton so often that you’d be forgiven if you thought she was actually president.
With Clinton no longer really relevant inside the party, and many Democrats moving on from her, Republicans were largely forced to run on their own merit.
For the most part, Gillespie ran a very Trump-like campaign. Many have said it was “Trumpism, without the Trump.” For all intents and purposes, the modern day GOP and Trump’s ideas were put on full display — without the distraction of yelling “Clinton!” every five minutes — and they got hammered.
Unlike last year where a large part of the GOP’s rhetoric to “support Trump” was basically just trying to paint Clinton as a worse candidate, this was an election where the hateful propaganda, racism, bigotry, and unpopular ideas the party’s adopted over the years were forced to mostly stand on their own, and they lost — bigly.
So it’s going to be interesting to see after nearly a decade of Republicans running against Democrats what they’re going to do now that they’re forced to stand alone with Trump and all of his baggage.
Because if last night is a foreshadowing of future events, Republicans are in a lot of trouble.
5. The Republican Party could be facing a no-win situation heading into the 2018 midterms: For a while now I’ve said Republicans are in a bit of a no-win situation when it comes to Trump. I feel that they’ve traded short-term “success” (winning last year’s election) for long term viability. How it all ultimately plays out is anyone’s guess.
However, based on Tuesday night’s results, Republicans could be in a whole lot of trouble this time next year.
If they decide to continue to embrace Trump, that could have massive negative ramifications for the 2018 midterms if these results are any indication of future elections. Traditionally it’s not good for anyone running for re-election to be closely tied to a “president” with an approval number hovering around 35 percent. Especially one as erratic and incompetent as this one.
Yet at the same time, Trump’s arrogance and ego aren’t going to allow him to change or adapt. He’s already blamed Gillespie’s loss on the candidate not embracing him enough, even though data seems to indicate embracing him more would have resulted in an even larger defeat.
Then again, Trump always blames everyone but himself for any sort of failure or negative news. Which means Trump’s unlikely to admit that his unhinged behavior is potentially a liability for Republicans heading into next year’s midterms. So if any member of his party decides to run against Trump’s comments, rhetoric, or ideas — which would be extremely humiliating for him — he’s almost certainly going to lash out at and attack them. That’s not the look you want heading into a major midterm election year.
Going into a very crucial midterm election, many congressional Republicans could be facing the decision to embrace an unpopular, toxic “president,” or reject him — which could help throw the party into complete chaos.
No matter how anyone on the right wants to spin what took place Tuesday night, there’s no denying that it was an incredibly bad night for Republicans — and especially Donald Trump.