Does Big Tuesday For Dems Foretell Resurgent 2018? Not Necessarily

From the Dailywire:

On Tuesday evening, despite polls showing a narrowing gubernatorial race between Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie in the days leading up to the election, Northam pulled off a massive victory — and more importantly, Democrats across the state trounced Republicans, putting control of the heretofore Republican-dominated House in question. Democrats have already picked up 10 seats in the statehouse and could easily pick up another seven, flipping the legislature. Meanwhile, they picked up seats in the Washington state senate, the governor’s mansion in New Jersey, and two Georgia House seats, as well as expanding Medicaid in Maine, among other gains.

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1. Virginia Was Already Moving Democratic. The 2016 map looks a lot like the 2017 map; between 2013 and 2017, Virginia moved steadily Democratic. Northern Virginia in particular has moved to the Left in radical fashion thanks to people moving in from Washington D.C. As Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics notes, “A lot of those state House seats that flipped were R seats in 2012, but were Clinton seats in 2016. They were primed to flip.”

2. The Gubernatorial Loss Isn’t Unprecedented. Chris Donovan of ABC News points out on Twitter that losing both the Virginia and New Jersey governor’s mansions isn’t unprecedented for parties in off-year elections:

Chris Donovan ✔ @chrisdonovan
Trump is the FIFTH President in a row to have his party lose BOTH the VA & NJ gubernatorial races in his first year in office.
Winners:
2017: Dems Northam/Murphy
2009: GOPers McDonnell/Christie
2001: Dems Warner/McGreevey
1993: GOPers Allen/Whitman
1989: Dems Wilder/Florio

3. It’s Not Clear Why Gillespie Lost. There are people who claim that Gillespie lost because he didn’t campaign militantly enough — that particularly in an off-year election, he needed to drum up the base by going hard after cultural issues. Gillespie did avoid talking about those issues, though his ad campaigns were far more militant and Trumpian. On the other hand, Gillespie’s main areas of loss were Democratic areas where people turned out in droves to vote down Republicans; as Dave Weigel of The Washington Post noted on Twitter:

“In 2014, Gillespie won Loudoun County (DC exurbs) by 456 votes. He lost it today by 23,432 votes.”

If Gillespie had gone full Trump — or if Corey Stewart had won his primary instead — it’s highly unlikely that the race swings the other way.

4. The Legislative Losses Are Unprecedented In Modern Times. As Jessica Post of the Democratic Leadership Congressional Council states, “flipping 14 seats from red to blue in VA is the biggest Democratic pick-up since 1899.” That’s why Republicans should be so disturbed: Gillespie’s supposed lack of Trumpian flair isn’t responsible for Republicans getting annihilated across the board. Democrats are turning out, and Republicans aren’t — at least not without Hillary on the ballot.

5. Democrats Have A Real Turnout Advantage In 2018. Ten percent more Democrats than Republicans turned out in Virginia today. That’s a disastrous number. There’s a reason for it: many Democrats stayed home in 2016, thinking that Hillary Clinton didn’t need their help, and that she was an off-putting candidate. She’s not on the ballot in 2018. But Trump’s record is, and they despise Trump. They’ll show up this time, knowing that staying home made Trump president. Polls right now have generic Democrats walloping generic Republicans by an 11% margin. Meanwhile, Trump isn’t going to drive people out to the polls when he’s not on the ballot — we’ve seen that in Alabama already, and now Virginia, too. 2020 may be a different story, but 2018 looks like it’s shaping up for disaster, which is why so many Republicans are already bowing out of House races.

Read the rest of the most important takeaways from Tuesday’s election here.

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