Nel's New Day

November 8, 2017

A Very Different Kind of Election Day

Just one year ago today, the presidential election created a nation of either depressed or angry—or both—people. Yesterday was another election, and a day of firsts for people of color, LGBTQ people, women, and Democrats.

Virginia is the poster state for the most wins. DDT supporters who ran on the “nationalistic” agenda of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) lost in droves starting with the governor. Democrat Ralph Northam was supposedly even with GOP Ed Gillespie going into the election but came out winning by nine percent.  Democrats Justin Fairfax and Mark Herring beat conservative Republicans for lieutenant governor and attorney general by over five percent and almost seven percent respectively. Fairfax’s opponent sponsored a bill to force women to have vaginal ultrasounds before having abortions, and Herring’s opponent fought his refusal to defend Virginia’s ban on marriage equality.

Republicans worked hard to move Ed Gillespie into the position of governor. DDT’s robo calls supporting Ed Gillespie (VA) went out to voters all day before his loss. Sour grapes from the loss, however, caused DDT to tweet that Gillespie “did not embrace me or what I stand for.” Gillespie’s loss was also one for white supremacist and former DDT aide Steve Bannon who had stated before the election:

“I think the big lesson for Tuesday is that, in Gillespie’s case, Trumpism without Trump can show the way forward. If that’s the case, Democrats better be very, very worried.”

While those robo calls were going out to voters in Virginia, DDT’s son, Donald Trump Jr., tweeted to his 2.2 followers that they should vote for Ed Gillespie today, not yesterday on Election Day, and did it twice—once in his initial tweet and the second time in his “correction.”

More impressive than Northam winning the governor’s seat, however, was the turnover in Virginia’s House of Delegates, one of two chambers in the state’s General Assembly. Republicans went into the election with a majority of 66-34. Thus far they have lost at least 15 seats, and another five of them are in play. Of the 15 lost seats by white men, eleven of them have been replaced by women with great diversity and firsts—the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, two Latinas, an openly lesbian, and the first openly transgender person to win a state legislative office in the nation. Danica Roem defeated self-proclaimed “chief homophobe” Bob Marshall who promoted the “potty police” law which would have banned Roem from using the women’s bathroom.

Another of the 15 Democratic winners for Virginia’s House of Delegates is Chris Hurst who ran for the office after his girlfriend was shot and killed on live television two years ago. He ran on a pro-commonsense gun reform campaign against someone with an A+ rating from the NRA.

Next year gives Democrats a chance to pick up more members in the House of Delegates if a court challenge of legislative district maps requires special elections, and all 100 seats are on the ballot again in 2019. All the seats are also up for grabs in 2019 in the Senate where the GOP has a 21-19 majority. Even if Democrats fall short of taking control of the chamber this year, they see a potential for additional pickups next year, if a court challenge of legislative district maps forces special elections, and in 2019 when all 100 seats are on the ballot again.

New Jersey saw another gubernatorial win for Democrats after Philip D. Murphy defeated Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who ran on a platform of cutting property taxes. Guadagno’s boss, Gov. Chris Christie, has an approval rating of 14 percent. Each chamber of the solidly Democratic New Jersey legislature may have added at least one member and perhaps more. New Jersey and Washington now make seven states that have both Democratic governors and legislatures. Maybe Virginia will add the eighth.

Other states benefiting from a Democratic sweep:

  • Washington: Manka Dhingra won a special election which flipped the state Senate to Democrat. With that change, all three states on the west coast—California, Oregon, and Washington—have blue governors and legislatures.
  • Georgia:  Democrats flipped three GOP-held legislative seats which broke the GOP super-majority in the state Senate.
  • New Hampshire:  Erika Connors became the fourth New Hampshire Democrat to flip a Republican seat blue in special elections this year.

Other achievements yesterday:

  • Andrea Jenkins is now the first openly trans woman of color elected any public office in the U.S. after her victory to become a Minneapolis city councilor.
  • Democrat Ashley Bennett won a seat as a freeholder in Atlantic County, New Jersey. She ran because the incumbent joked about whether the Women’s March would be “over in time for them to cook dinner.” 
  • Sheila Oliver has become New Jersey’s first woman black lieutenant governor.
  • Vi Lyles defeated a Republican to be the first woman black mayor of Charlotte (NC).
  • Ravinder Bhalla became the city’s first Sikh mayor in Hoboken (NJ) despite the smear campaign calling him a terrorist.
  • Wilmot Collins is the first black mayor in Montana’s history; he came to Helena 12 years ago as a refugee from Liberia.
  • Tyler Titus’ win for a seat on the Erie School Board makes him the first openly transgender person to be elected in the state of Pennsylvania.
  • Melvin Carter has been elected the first black mayor of St. Paul (MN).
  • Jenny Durkan became the first out lesbian elected mayor of Seattle (WA) as well as the first woman to take that position in 96 years. She takes over on November 28 after the resignation of Ed Murray, a gay man who was accused of sexually abusing younger men. Durkan won by 61 percent.
  • Women took all six appeals court seats in Pennsylvania that were on the ballot.
  • Maine voters chose to expand Medicaid to 70,000 of the state’s residents with a 59-percent majority in the first state to bring the Affordable Care Act to a state with a referendum. (Maine Gov. Paul LePage is threatening to block the vote.)
  • And more!

Satirist Andy Borowitz wrote about how Northam and Murphy were “unfit” for their new offices because of their lack of reality-show experience.

Republicans deny that yesterday’s elections create any problems for GOP elections, but their feeling of desperation is manifested in an increasingly frantic attempt to pass the tax bill that favors the rich and penalizes everyone else. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that the blue wave makes passing legislation even more urgent. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) said,  “If you don’t get [tax reform] done, you’re guaranteed a bad midterm.” [Photo: AP/Scott Applewhite – Cole above right with Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)] Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) said that the largest number of Democratic votes yesterday came from the suburbs, the same place that will suffer the most from DDT’s tax cuts.

The House has spent three days tweaking the bill and plan to continue tomorrow because the scoring shows a $1.7 trillion deficit. An amendment created a $74 billion hole by reversing a 20-percent excise tax on transactions between subsidiaries of multinational corporations. The Senate also plans to come out with its own bill tomorrow before the House has a chance to vote on a bill that doesn’t yet exist to keep from needing 60 votes to pass the bill.

At least two senators and 18 representatives have declared that they will not be running for re-election next year. All are Republicans. Get ready for November 6, 2018.

1 Comment »

  1. Happy!

    Like

    Comment by Lee Lynch — November 8, 2017 @ 10:59 PM | Reply


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