Surf’s Up! Big Blue Wave Coming In 2018
The election results last Tuesday were the first good news Democrats have had on the national level since 2012 and represent a turning of the tide in American politics. Democratic candidates won all across the country and up and down the ballot. It represented a repudiation of Trump and the all GOP government in Washington, D.C.
The Democrats’ big wins in Virginia and New Jersey are a good representation of the extent of the Democratic sweep. In New Jersey, Phil Murphy beat Chris Christie’s hand picked successor by a 56% to 42% margin. This was an important result since just four years ago, Christie was re-elected by a 22 percentage point margin and was widely regarded to be a rising star on the national level.
The results in Virginia were equally encouraging. Ralph Northam beat a GOP candidate who openly played the race card by a 9 point margin. In addition, Northam’s margin was better than Terry McAuliffe’s three point margin of victory in 2013. At the same time, the Democrats gained 14 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates with a shot at picking up three more seats. (Three races are currently too close to call and have gone to a recount.)
One of the keys to the outstanding (and surprising) outcome in Virginia was the unity displayed by the Virginia Democratic Party. Former Representative Tom Perriello — who was defeated by Northam in the primary — endorsed and campaigned hard for Northam in the general election. The naysayers in the mainstream press were proven wrong because the alleged split in the Democratic Party was nowhere to be seen in the Virginia.
Another factor behind the Democratic sweep was that the Democratic base turned out in huge numbers. Young people, women, African-Americans, Hispanics and the LGBT community showed up at the polls en masse. When Democrats turn out, Democrats win. There are more Democrats than Republicans.
The strong Democratic turnout made it possible for a diverse group of candidates to win elections. Danica Roem became Virginia’s first transgender member of the legislature, defeating an entrenched Republican incumbent who was actually proud to be a homophobe. In Helena, Montana, the voters elected its first African-American mayor — who was a refugee from Liberia. And Charlotte, North Carolina voters elected that city’s first African-American female mayor. Those weren’t all of our diverse candidates who won. It would take another blog piece to pay them all a tribute!
The strong Democratic turnout and the outstanding results last week make the Democrats the favorite to re-take the House in 2018 and maybe even the Senate. Already, Democratic Congressional candidates are setting fundraising records. In addition, a huge tide of Republicans incumbents are retiring from the House. They see what is coming and a large number of open seats makes a blue wave more likely.
I believe that future historians will regard the 2017 election cycle as a turning point in American history. This was when the American people rejected Trump and the GOP’s radical agenda. As Winston Churchill said after the British won their first major victory in World War II at El Alamein in 1942: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Let’s enjoy these great victories but at the same time let’s get back to work. We won’t win big in 2018 unless we leave it all on the field. Let’s get it done! I know we can do this!